“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:1-2)
The “Gap Theory” has become a real subject of debate in fundamental circles.In fact, it is sometimes a subject which Satan uses to stir division among brethren.Many who teach this theory think of themselves as being a bit “deeper” in their Bible knowledge than the rest of us, when, in reality, there is nothing “deep” to it.Although I do not believe this issue should be a cause for division among Christians, I do believe one should be familiar with both sides of the argument.
The theory itself, not invented until the early 1800's, suggests that there is a “gap” of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.Some sort of “pre-Adamite rebellion” involving Lucifer supposedly occurred in this time gap, which caused the earth to become “without form and void” due to God’s intervening judgment.This means that the events of Genesis 1:3 through are actually part of God’s “RE-creation” of the original earth. This indefinite time gap allows the Bible to “agree” with the thousands of scientists who believe the earth to be billions of years old, rather than only 6,000 years old as the scriptures indicate.That is, God was supposedly in a real jam until men discovered the time gap of Genesis 1:2.Now, at last, the Bible and the “scientific” community can agree.
There are many problems with this theory as the forthcoming paragraphs shall reveal.
The Gap Theory is Unnecessary
For the past two hundred years Christians have been intimidated into believing that the earth is millions and billions of years old.Today it is believed to be about 4.5 billion years old.The Gap Theory was invented to bring the Bible in line with “science” by allowing an indefinite period of time for the millions and billions of years required by unsaved Bible-rejecting scientists.
The fact is that there is much evidence that the earth is only a few thousand years old, and Noah’s flood can explain any “evidence” which seems to indicate otherwise (rock formations, fossils, canyons, etc.).
As for the fall of Lucifer, this hasn’t fully happened yet (Rev. 12:7-9), and when it does, it won’t require 4.5 billion years (Luke ).There is no legitimate need for a gap in Genesis 1:2.
“Without form and void”
The first problem with the Gap Theory is that it is based on a question, not a fact.The question is “Why was the earth without form and void in Genesis 1:2?”From this comes the reasoning that it must have became that way.Then the question “Why?” is asked.Then come the answers: a pre-Adamite rebellion; Lucifer’s fall; a flood; this is where the dinosaurs died, etc. The problem is that there is no point in asking the original question.
If I walk into my kitchen some evening about and discover it to be “without form and void”, I am not going to ask my wife “Why is the kitchen without form and void?”I know why.She has JUST BEGUN preparing dinner. I must be patient and wait for her to finish.The meal will take form soon enough.I wouldn’t assume that the judgment of God had struck our kitchen just because it was in a mess.
It is God’s nature to work in a progressive manner.Even Adam was “without form and void” before God formed him into a perfect body.Later, he may have still felt without form and void until God provided him with a wife.No doubt, after only two weeks in his mother’s womb, Jesus was without form and void until the gestation period had ended and he was born a healthy baby.The God of the Bible works progressively.Of course the earth was without form and void in the beginning because God had not yet formed it! He was just getting started. To assume that the word “was” actually means “became” is to doubt God’s word.God didn’t say the earth “became” without form and void.He said it “was” without form and void.
Isaiah 45:18 is a favorite “proof text” used by the Gap Theorists: “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”The words “in vain” are interpreted by the gappers to mean “without form and void.”So their reasoning is: God didn’t create the earth without form and void, so it must have became that way.
This is only reasoning, not Bible. Theverse plainly says that God first “created” the earth and then he “formed” it.He created it in Genesis 1:1, and he then “formed” it after he created it.After he formed it, he then provided it with life forms.The whole thing is a process.None of this was done “in vain” because God had a purpose in mind from the very beginning.
When Did Lucifer Fall?
A careful reading of Isaiah 14:12-15 will reveal the fact that Lucifer’s fall is not yet complete.This is a prophecy of his fall, not a historical account.His actual final fall from heaven will not come until Revelation 12:7-9.
It is true that Lucifer did sin against God and become Satan (the adversary), but the Bible never says that this came about in some massive rebellion before the time of Adam.Ezekiel 28:13-15 makes it very clear when Lucifer sinned: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God . . . Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”When God looks back at the history of Lucifer, he looks no further back than Eden.Lucifer sinned and fell in Eden when he tempted Eve to be “as gods.”Before this time, everything was “very good” (Gen. 1:31).If Lucifer sinned in Genesis 1:2, then why did God say everything was “very good” when he summed up the creation in verse 31?
The gappers hold that a pre-Adamite rebellion arose and was destroyed by God before the time of Adam, yet this is contrary to God’s words concerning sin and death.Sin and death came WITH Adam, not before Adam!“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” (Rom. 5:12-14) “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”(I Cor. 15:21-22) Sin and death before Adam?Not according to the Bible.
The gappers also claim that Exodus 20:11 supports their theory: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Their logic is that God “made” the earth (out of existing matter) in six days, but he didn’t “create” it(out of nothing) in six days. This is taught with the assumption that “create” means to “create from nothing” and “made” means to have “made from existing matter”.The Bible never establishes such definitions for these words.Adam was “created” (Gen. 5:1), but not from nothing (Gen. 2:7).In Genesis 6:7 both words are used the same way.In Psalm 51:10 “create” means to “renew.”There is a creation in Psalm 102:18, but it isn’t from nothing.Other examples could be given.It is false to claim that “create” means “to create from nothing” and that “made” means “to have made from existing matter.”This logic is not consistent with God’s word.God made, or created, the heaven and the earth in six literal days.
Furthermore, it should be noted that Exodus not only states that the heaven and earth were made in six days, but also “all that in them is.”This would include Lucifer and all the angels - after the first day begins, not before the first day begins.We know this is true because Ezekiel 28:15 speaks of Lucifer’s creation and says,“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”Lucifer, the anointed cherub, was created on a DAY, not before the six days of Genesis 1 began.There is no gap in Genesis 1, only six DAYS beginning with verse 1.
What about “Replenish?”
God told Adam and Eve to “replenish” the earth in Genesis 1:28.The gappers claim that “replenish” means to “re-do” or “re-populate.”It is amazing how little study a person will do when their mind is made up!The first definition for this word in Webster’s 1828 is “to fill; to stock with numbers or abundance.”Only in some modern dictionaries does “replenish” mean to “re-do” or “re-populate.”If “replenish” means what the gappers claim, why didn’t God also use the word in Genesis ?Genesis says, “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” If the earth had been populated before, why was “replenish” not used here?Answer: “replenish” and “fill” have the same meaning, and both come from the same Hebrew word.
In the Beginning
The Gap Theory holds that “the beginning” is Genesis 1:1, while the six days do not start until after the “gap” between verses 1 and 2.That is, Genesis 1:3-31 aren’t “the beginning.”
Evidently, Jesus didn’t subscribe to the Gap Theory.Adam and Eve weren’t created until the sixth day, yet Jesus said they were made “in the beginning” (Mat. 19:4; Mark 10:6).This statement alone “closes the gap.”
Also notice that Genesis 2:4 says that the earth and the heavens were created in a “day,” not before the first day began.
The Heavens and the Earth
A careful reading of II Peter 3:5-7 will make it clear that there have only been TWO sets of the heavens and the earth: the one that WAS and the one that exists NOW.This leaves no room for a Gap Theory because this theory demands more than two.The gappers believe that the heaven and the earth were perfect and then made without form and void due to a pre-Adamite rebellion.That’s one heaven and earth.Then a second heaven and earth existed until Noah’s flood.Since Noah’s flood, a third heaven and earth exists. II Peter 3:5-7 says there are only TWO, not three.There is one heaven and earth before Noah’s flood, and there is one now. So there is no room for a gap or a third heaven and earth.
Friend, don’t be fooled by the Gap Theory.God created the universe in six literal days.He didn’t need a time gap in order to get his work done.We need not compromise any of God’s words in the name of “science falsely so called” (I Tim. ).
Much can be said of a person’s character by the way they use their tongue.Sanaca once said, “Speech is the index of the mind.”Jesus said that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Mat. 12:34)According to Proverbs , “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”In James 3:6, the Bible says that the tongue is “a fire, a world of iniquity”, and James 3:8 calls the tongue a “deadly poison.”
As a fool would carelessly play and prank with a loaded gun, so many Christians today do likewise with their deadly tongue.If only we could fully realize the untold damage that we are doing to the body of Christ!If only we could see the full effect of the words we use!
Perhaps a closer look into the Bible can help.God made man, and God made man’s tongue, so surely God should be qualified to comment on the subject.Surely God should have some good counsel concerning the use and misuse of the human tongue.Let us consider some sins of the tongue as we find them revealed in God’s word.
The Lying Tongue
Proverbs 25:18 says, “A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.” So a lying tongue is a misuse of a deadly weapon.It can be used to harm others near at hand (a maul), a few feet away (a sword), or a great distance away (an arrow).Satan is the father of lies (John ), and God said that he hates a lying tongue (Pro. ).All liars will have their part in the lake of fire, according to Revelation 21:8.
The Flattering Tongue
Flattery is also a sin of the tongue. The Bible speaks of flattery as a characteristic of the wicked, not the righteous: “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” (Psalm 5:9)Imagine the improvements which could be made in our nation if voters elected leaders on the basis of the RECORD rather than on the basis of the flattering speeches!Flattery is just a form of lying, and it has no place in the life of a Christian.
The Proud Tongue
The Bible also speaks of the proud tongue.Psalm 12:3-4 says, “The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” The most annoying Christians in the world are those with proud tongues because a proud tongue usually comes with two closed ears!Proud-tongued Christians are generally so full of themselves that they learn very little from anyone else. A proud-tongued Christian will talk much of his knowledge and service, but very little about the Lord.
In a church, a proud-tongued Christian will make all sorts of suggestions about how the church should function, yet his suggestions, if received, will place burdens on everyone but himself.A proud-tongued Christian is hard to teach or reason with because he thinks he knows everything.
Friend, God hates a proud tongue.Allow the Holy Spirit to use your tongue in the way of humility and kindness because pride will only quench God’s Spirit and damage your testimony.
The Overused Tongue
Some people sin by simply overusing their tongue.Ecclesiastes 5:3 says that “a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.”People think they appear smart by much talking, but the Bible states just the opposite.Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” God doesn’t like a blabber mouth.You say, “Well, that’s just the way I am!”Then REPENT!Confess your sin and repent.Stop justifying your wickedness and ask God to help you repent.
The Swift Tongue
Some people are guilty of speaking too swiftly when they really need to wait before saying anything.God’s word says the following in Proverbs 18:13: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” How many times have you had to “eat” your words because you spoke too swiftly?James warns us to be swift to HEAR and SLOW to speak.Why do you suppose God gave us two ears but only one mouth?
The Backbiting Tongue
Proverbs 25:23 and Romans make mention of a backbiting tongue.A backbiter is someone who uses their tongue against you when you aren’t present, yet they will not face you with their charges when you are present.This is a cowardly backbiter who would rather stir up problemsthan solve problems.
A backbiter would much rather talk ABOUTthe preacher than talk TO the preacher.A backbiter would much rather talk ABOUT some weak Christian in the church than offer some words of encouragement TO them.A backbiter is of no use to anyone, and no one has ever been strengthened or edified through backbiting.Beware of the backbiters, especially the ones who sow discord among brethren (Pro. )!
The Talebearing Tongue
Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.”Leviticus says, “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people. . .”Every Christian has the duty to deny his own desires and seek to edify other Christians (Rom. ; Philip. 2:3).Talebearing runs wholly contrary to Christian edification.Talebearing (carrying and telling tales) spreads all sorts of hurtful information around, and Satan uses such information to hinder and tear down God’s work.A victim of talebearing, according to Proverbs, is a “wounded” person.God forbid that a Christian should wound another Christian, but it does happen all the time!Some Christians live as though they think God has “called” them to bear tales on other Christians.Many “Christian” newsletters are dedicated to informing the body of Christ on the latest news about someone’s ministry or personal life.There are many nice words and phrases used to justify such conduct, but the Bible word is TALEBEARING.
The Cursing Tongue
Some people, Christians included, have a nasty habit of using their tongue for cursing.Romans 3:13-14 says, “Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
This passage deals strictly with unsaved people and their ungodly ways, yet there are a great many professing Christians who curse regularly.Friend, why would you want to identify yourself with someone whom God describes as being DEAD, DECEITFUL, and POISON?
“As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him.As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.” (Psalm 109:17-18)Many people curse because their life is miserable.They are unhappy so they make it known with their degenerate speech.This text says that God keeps them unhappy BECAUSE of their speech!God curses those who curse!Christian, don’t expect God’s blessings when your mouth is filled with cursing.
The Piercing Tongue
Another sinful tongue is the piercing tongue.Proverbs speaks of this tongue by saying,“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”Some people have a sharp piercing tongue which Satan uses to offend and insult others.The Bible commands Christians to have their speech dominated by GRACE (Col. 4:6), yet most churches have a few people who use their tongue like a sword to pierce their brethren in Christ.
It was Teddy Roosevelt who said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” but the truth is that if you speak softly you won’t need a big stick!Titus 2:8 commands us to use sound speech which cannot be condemned.Friend, do you use graceful speech which cannot be evil spoken of, or do you possess a piercing tongue? Every Christian’s prayer should be, “Lord, make my words gracious and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them.”
The Silent Tongue
A silent tongueis also a sinful tongue because we have been commanded to speak up and witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We, as Christians, have an obligation to tell others about the saving grace of Jesus.To be silent about Christ is to sin against Christ.Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”(Mark ) Christian friend, if you do not want to be ashamed of yourself when the Lord returns, then don’t be ashamed of Jesus today.Pray for opportunities to speak up for your Saviour.Don’t be found guilty of having a silent tongue.
“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."(Mat. 12:36-37)
"In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." (Titus 2:7-8)
According to these verses of Scripture, we, as Christians, need to be very careful with our mouths because we will one day give account to God.Most Christians are aware of the fact that God expects them to live holy lives.Likewise, most God-fearing Christians have learned to abstain from swearing and from the use of common profanity.I haven't met many faithful Christians who have a problem with worldly cursing.However, I have met MANY Christians who have stumbled into the Devil's trap and taken up a whole different kind of cursing.Keep reading, friend, because you just might need to "tune up" your vocabulary!
Are You Taking God's Name in Vain?
You say, "Well, my word! I wouldn't take God's name in vain!"You just did!John 1:1 says that "the Word" was GOD!Satan tricked you, didn't he?You need to CONFESS to God that you've been taking His name in vain, and you need to REPENT of this sin!
"Well, my goodness!", you say.If you are saved then your "goodness" is none other than God Himself (Psalm 144:2).You just took His name in vain again.You have no goodness of your own (Isa. 64:6; Rom. ; Psa. 39:5), so "my goodness" is a reference to God!
"Good grief! I had no idea!"There you go again!Jesus Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with GRIEF (Isa. 53:3).His grief was "good" grief because He bore your sins.You should show more reverence and respect for your Saviour and quit throwing God's word around too loosely.
"For crying out loud!Can't I say anything?"How about reading your Bible for a change?! Matthew 27:46 says that when your Saviour was suffering on the cross He "cried with a loud voice." What's your logic in using such speech?Could it be that Satan is just having a good laugh at your ignorance and disrespect of God's word?
"Well, geeeeeeee!"Did you say "G",as in "GOD"?Yes, you certainly did!You've also said "Gosh" and "Good Golly"!You've also said "Jeepers Creepers" when you really wanted to say "Jesus Christ" (JC!).You've also played around with the letters "G" and "D" together.You said "dad gum" and "dog gone" when you really wanted to say "God" and then follow with the word "damn".Think about it, Christian!Is God pleased with this kind of speech?
Those Four-Letter Words!
You probably wouldn't think of using the word "damn" too loosely, but what about "darn" and "dang"?Do they not serve the same purpose?Is Satan not pleased to fill your mouth with such speech?
"Why, heck!"Look out there!God knows your heart, and he knows you really wanted to say "hell".
Down south folks say, "Ah, shoot!"This is nothing more than a cheap way of saying "s"Again I ask, is God pleased with this sort of speech?Is this "sound speech, that cannot be condemned"?I think not!
"But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." (Mat. 5:34-37)
Jesus said "swear not," yet God's people swear all the time!Such expressions as "for Heaven's sake", "for Pete's sake", and "Heavens to Betsy" are attempts to swear by Bible subjects, which shows disrespect toward God.God's word is PURE and HOLY!We should HONOR His words, not throw them around like a dirty dish rag!
Truth Is All the Authority You Need
Why do people curse and swear?There's only one reason: authority.People want to sound forceful and authoritative when they speak, so they spice their speech up with all sorts of catchy little "power words".Unfortunately, such words often dishonor God, the Bible, and the Lord Jesus Christ.Friend, TRUTH is all of the authority you need.Just speak the truth as it is revealed in God's word and you'll have no use for "Christian cursing".
Remember: "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."(Mat. 12:36)
“Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”(Psalm 90:8-12)
The above passage of Scripture speaks of the brevity of life and the value of each and every day.The Lord Jesus warns us in Luke 16:1-8 that we will all give account of our stewardship.God will hold us accountable for everything, including the way we spend our time.
People differ in many ways, but when it comes to time we are all the same.We all have 24 hours per day, 168 hours per week, 728 hours per month, 8,736 hours per year, and 50,960 hours in a seventy year life.
Time is one of our most valuable assets, yet it is one of our most wasted ones.The average American man spends at least six full years of his life doing nothing but watching television!Ladies, thirty minutes per day on a telephone amounts to over one whole year of your life!
Paul offers some rather instructive advice to Christians in I Corinthians 6:1-20.He says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”Friend, if you are a saved child of God, then YOU HAVE NOTHING.YOU belong to God; your POSSESSIONS belong to God; your ABILITIES belong to God, and your TIME belongs to God.God is watching you every minute--everysecond--and He will hold you accountable!
How many times have you said, “I’m just killing time.”KILLING TIME?What?Are you crazy?Why would you kill something that God values as much as time?Why not use that time for God’s glory?Someone once said, “YOU CAN’T KILL TIME WITHOUT INJURING ETERNITY!”You’ll be held accountable for every minute.Don’t “kill” time!Find out what God wants you to do and DO IT!
In Ephesians the Biblesays that we should be“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”To “redeem” means to “rescue from loss.”We should be striving to save every minute possible.Only God knows how many people have died and went to Hell since you picked up this tract, and yet there are millions of Christians doing nothing but wasting time!
Imagine this.In a life of seventy years, you will spend at least a full twenty years working (with every work hour added together - occupational work, household chores, etc).Then you’ll spend another twenty years sleeping.Another ten years will be spent eating and playing.That’s fifty years already gone!What will you do with the remaining twenty years?Will you waste it on entertainment, recreation, or sports?How much of it will be wasted on the telephone?
Friend, do you believe time is more important than money in the eyes of God?What if someone gave you 1,440 dollars every day with the condition that you would lose what you didn’t spend?Would you have any money left at the end of each day?Well, every day God gives you 1,440 minutes and He knows how much of it you waste.He will hold you accountable!Romans says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”Jesus said, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”Now is the time to get busy and start serving God.You cannot bring back the time you’ve wasted.Yesterday is gone.What about TODAY?
The clock of life is wound but once,
And no man has the power
To say just when the hands will stop;
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time we own
To do His precious will,
Do not wait until tomorrow;
For the clock may then be still.
It’s Time to Receive Christ!
II Corinthians 6:2 says, “. . . now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”Friend, there’s no better time than RIGHT NOW to repent of your sins and trust Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
Isaiah says, "Come now, let us reason together, saith the LORD:though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."All men are sinners and need to be cleansed from sin (Rom. ), and that cleansing can only come through the precious Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:5; Col. 1:14).
Consider the words of the Apostle Paul:"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." Your only way to Heaven is through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.Romans says, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:9 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."Why not turn to Him right now?Turn from your sins!Claim His promises and trust Him to save you while there's still time.
If you have received Jesus Christ as your Saviour, start attending a good independent Baptist church, and speak with the Pastor about baptism, membership, and Christian service.
“Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.” (Job 32:21-22)
All of our lives we have heard and perhaps used such terms as “Reverend Smith,” or “Pastor Jones,” or “Deacon Johnson,” but what does the Bible say about such titles?As someone has said, “There are so many “Doctors” in the body of Christ one would think God is sick!”Have you ever really studied this matter in God’s word?Let’s do just that.Let’s see what God thinks about all these flattering titles we hear the brethren throwing around.
First let’s consider the words of Jesus in Mark 10:42-45: “. . . Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”According to our Lord, this business of exercising authority over others is a GENTILE thing, not a Christian thing.Sure the pastor is the leader in the church, but why create and use exalting titles that God never ordained?
“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”(Mat. 23:5-10)
Chief seats in the synagogues?I was once visiting a church with my family and some friends.I did not see the pastor or the guest speakers in the auditorium until all the members and visitors had arrived and been seated.Finally, a lady walked to the front and said, “All rise, please.”We all stood to our feet (I figured we were ready to start singing.)Then the pastor and two guest speakers walked ever so “piously” to the “chief seats” behind the pulpit and took their seat.Then the lady said to us, “Be seated, please.”My, what pride!What a show of the flesh!
We use the above passage from Matthew 23 often to point out the error of flattering titles in Judaism, Freemasonry and Roman Catholicism (Rabbi, Master, Father), but are we not just as wrong when we preface the names of men with such titles as “Reverend,” “Doctor,” or “Pastor?”
Take “Reverend” for instance.This word is found only once in all the Bible, and then it refers to God only.Psalm 111:9 says, “He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.”Are we not robbing God of His glory when we use this word as a title for ourselves? God never said that anyone’s name was “reverend” other than His own!Let us not forget, it was Lucifer himself who first said, “. . . I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:14)
You say, “Well what’s wrong with calling a man ‘Pastor Jones’ or ‘Doctor Smith’?”The answer is simple: The Bible never applies such titles to the names of men.Sure there are Pastors and Doctors in God’s word, but when these men are addressed, they are not addressed as “Dr. Gamaliel” or “Pastor Timothy.”Paul is never even referred to as “Apostle Paul.”Did Paul say, “Only Dr. Luke is with me?”No, he said, “Only Luke is with me.” (II Tim. 4:11).Luke was certainly a doctor, but Paul didn’t flatter him with the “doctor” title.
So what is the Scriptural practice?How are we as Christians supposed to address one another?In the Bible, the FIRST NAME BASIS is most common. Note the following:
“To Timothy . . . “ (II Tim. 1:2)
“O Timothy . . . ” (I Tim. )
“Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee. . . “ ( II Tim. 4:11)
“. . . our beloved brother Paul” (II Pet. )
“. . . I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter” (Gal. )
“But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?”(Gal. 2:7-14)
God’s word settles the issue.First name basis is the Scriptural means of using names.As for using a prefix before a name, the term “Brother Saul”is used in Acts and Acts 22:13, but “Brother” is only capitalized in these places because it begins a quote.Indirect references where “brother” is used can also be found in Romans 16:23, I Corinthians 16:12, II Corinthians , and Ephesians 6:21.
I wonder how many Christians refer to the Lord Jesus Christ as simply “Jesus” while exalting men with titles like “Reverend” and “Doctor?”The phrase “Lord Jesus” is found 118 times in the New Testament, while the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ” is found 84 times.“Reverend Paul” or “Pastor Timothy” aren’t found once!We need to be magnifying our Lord Jesus Christ, not men.
“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3)
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