Ask Your Preacher
In Acts 14:14, Paul and Barnabas are specifically referred to as "apostles". They both don't seem to fit the qualifications of being an apostle from Acts 1:21-26. Can you explain?
The word ‘apostle’ means ‘one sent forth’. We associate the word apostle with the apostles of Christ, but technically speaking, anyone sent forth by another is a type of apostle. Paul was an apostle of Jesus because Jesus specifically sent him forth to preach to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15), and the Bible often refers to him as an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:1, Gal 1:1). However, there is debate over whether or not Barnabas was an apostle of Christ. Acts 14:14 is the only place that Barnabas is referred to as an apostle, and we are still left with the question of who sent Barnabas. Acts 13:3-4 says that Barnabas and Paul were sent forth by the church in Antioch and the Holy Spirit to preach throughout Cyprus and Galatia. It is most likely that “sending forth” that is referred to in Acts 14:14. That would make Barnabas an apostle of the church in Antioch, but not Jesus’ apostle.
How do you respond to someone saying they do not believe in God because they think believers are brainwashed from an early age?
Thinking For Myself
Dear Thinking For Myself,
When faced with someone who believes that Christianity is based off of a mindless faith, we try and show people the evidence that points toward Christianity. After all, many people convert to Christ after growing up in atheistic and anti-religious households. You might point out to this person that not all christians were raised to be that way; many choose it later in life. If that peaks their interest, you might point them to some of the evidence for God's existence. We recommend that you read the post “Does God Exist?” for a list of some of those evidences.
What is the gift of the Holy Spirit that christians are promised by Peter in Acts 2? I don't think it's God's Word since faith comes by hearing, and you must hear the Word of God before you can believe and become a christian. Also, not all christians at that time or today had/have access to the inspired Scriptures. I followed Peter's instructions, but I don't have any "spiritual" gift. I get very confused when it comes to the Holy Spirit's role after the perfect has come.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is salvation. In Acts 2:38, Peter offers the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who are baptized. The problem is that in this verse, Peter doesn’t specify whether the gift is from the Holy Spirit or the gift is the Holy Spirit. We need to compare Peter’s sermon in Acts to other verses. What do other verses say you receive when you are baptized?
- Mk 16:16 says you will receive salvation.
- Acts 8:16 shows that several people had been baptized but hadn’t received the Holy Spirit – which means that the Holy Spirit can’t be what the gift is.
- Acts 10:47 shows several people receiving the Holy Spirit before baptism, also proving that the gift of baptism isn’t the actual Holy Spirit.
- Rom 6:4 says you are given a new life through baptism.
- 1 Cor 12:13 says that you become part of the church when you are baptized.
- Col 2:12 says you are raised with Christ in baptism.
- Gal 3:27 says you put on Christ when you are baptized.
- 1 Pet 3:21 says baptism saves you.
The truth can always be found in the sum of God’s Word (Ps 119:160). Baptism washes away your sins, and you receive the gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is a heavenly gift offered to us by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God (Heb 6:4, 1 Cor 2:11-13).
Does God understand our own personal faults even if we don’t?
Ps 1:8 says that God knows even our secret sins. God is aware of all that we have done in this life; He is even aware of the number of hairs on our heads (Matt 10:30). God weighs our hearts (Pr 21:2) because everyone feels that we are living good lives, but that doesn’t mean we actually are. That is why it is so important that we let the Bible be the lamp for our feet (Ps 119:105). Many people will plead ignorance on the Day of Judgment, but God will render to each of us according to a higher knowledge of our lives and hearts (Pr 24:12). All you can ever do is let the Bible be your faithful guide (Rom 10:17), and don’t lean on your own understanding (Pr 3:5).
Does it matter how we are baptized and who baptizes us as long as it’s in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? I'm getting baptized at my friend's church which is Calvinistic; I'm more of non-denominational Bible-believer, but anyway, they're going to baptize me in a swimming pool. Should I go through with it?
Dear Diving In,
Why you are baptized is one of the most important elements of baptism, and a Calvinistic church will not baptize you for the right reasons. People are baptized all the time without being saved! The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which means ‘immersion’. The word ‘baptism’ is the same word that Greeks used when a ship sank to the bottom of the ocean or when someone dove to the bottom of a swimming pool. In the most technical sense, people are baptized when they take baths, go swimming, etc. Taking a bath will baptize you, but it definitely won’t save you.
The Bible teaches that baptism saves you. According to the Bible, baptism is a requirement of salvation. Peter said so in Acts 2:38 when he preached the first sermon after Christ’s ascension. In 1 Pet 3:21, it specifically says that baptism saves us. Mk 16:16 says that baptism is as integral a part of salvation as belief, and Paul tells us in Rom 6:4-5 that baptism buries us with Christ, so we might be born again without our sins. The Bible clearly teaches baptism as a prerequisite for salvation.
Now, here is your problem. Calvinism teaches that baptism is “an outward showing of an inward grace.” That means that Calvinistic churches do baptize people, but they believe it is only for show and that you were already saved before you were baptized. Therefore, the reason they baptize people is completely wrong. If you are baptized for the wrong reasons, you just get wet – not saved. We would be happy to get you in touch with a congregation that isn’t tied to denominations, teaches the whole Bible (Rev 22:18-19), avoids manmade traditions (Matt 15:9), and will baptize you for the right reasons. Just e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the general area of the country you live in and we will happily put you in contact with a faithful church. You may also find the article “Calvin And Sobs” on Calvinism of use to better understand this manmade religion.