Taking A Position In Order To Help Fight False Doctrine
Many times I have seen preachers take a position on a topic or passage because they thought it would help them defeat a related false doctrine, and not actually because the merits of the case actually warranted them taking that position. First and foremost, this is an ungodly reason to take a position on a topic or passage. Truth is the truth regardless of what the consequences may be - John 8:31-32.But quite frequently I have seen Bible teachers doing this when taking the incorrect view of a topic/passage actually hurt the cause of truth, not help it. The perfect example of this is when preachers fight the "Personal Indwelling Of The Holy Spirit" concept, the Biblical truth that all Christians even today receive a non-miraculous measure of the Spirit when they are baptized into Christ. Just a casual reading of Acts 2:38 would seem to prove this view that people today receive the Holy Ghost when they are baptized. But one gospel preacher recently wrote opposing this plain meaning understanding of Acts 2:38, in support of the view that Acts 2:38’s reference to receiving the Holy Ghost is miraculous and therefore does not apply today - "more importantly, this understanding of the statement ... offers not one scintilla of support for the egregiously false blunderings of Pentecostalists and their supporters." Do you see how this writer asserts that the "more important" reason to accept his position is that it will help us fight the false doctrine of the Pentecostals?But this reason for taking his position on the issue boomerangs back on itself. The very opposite is true; if we take the position the "gift of the Holy Ghost" in Acts 2:38 refers to the miraculous measure, that actually helps the Pentecostals, not hurts them. Because the very next verse makes it perfectly clear the verse 38 promise is to every Christian for all time - "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." The phrase "unto you" refers to the Jews, "to your children" would get all Jewish descendants, "to all that are afar off" would refer to all the Gentiles (Eph 2:13,17), and "as many as the Lord our God shall call" would get all Christians for all time (II Thess 2:14). So if the "gift of the Holy Ghost" in Acts 2:38 refers to the miraculous measure of the Spirit, that would prove conclusively that people today can perform miracles, the very doctrine preachers are taking an incorrect position on Acts 2:38 to try to avoid.In addition, if we say the "gift of the Holy Ghost" does not apply today (because it refers to the miraculous measure), then we have just opened the door wide open to the dispensationalists who say the “baptized … for the remission of sins” part of Acts 2:38 does not apply today either; that it only applied to the Jews at that time, and so baptism was at one time "for the remission of sins," but it isn't for that reason today. Do you see how taking an incorrect position on the personal indwelling view leads to the conclusion that baptism "for the remission of sins" was only a temporary thing, and is not valid today? If receiving the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:38 was only for that day, then the rest of the verse would logically only be for that day also.Conclusion: What we should do is just believe what each Bible text leads us to believe, and let the chips fall where they may. Not only is that the only Godly way of learning from the scriptures, but won't get us into trouble by helping any false teachers. Why? Because the Bible is super consistent. Trust the Bible, instead of manipulating it to try to make it consistent with our previous views.