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From The Spiritual Society: What Lurks Beyond Postmodernism?
by Fred Baue
The poet David wouId have had sympathy for us. He, too, lived in a critical period, a time of turmoil and uncertainty, a time of transition between two contending cultural forces, one - that of Saul, with its compromising sympathy for Canaanite religion - waning, the other - that of David, with its pure strain of Hebrew discipleship - gathering strength. Among those who came to David at Hebron were "men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do" (1 Chronicles 12:32). The situation was critical. Saul's regime, so accommodating to established cultural influences, had fallen. David, long ago anointed king, was now ready to come into his kingdom. He needed leadership. He needed men who could read the signs of the times, give sound advice, and ascertain the wisest course of action. David got the direction he needed and ascended to the throne of Israel. We need men and women like that now, sanctified thinkers and artists who can discern cultural trends in the world and help formulate an appropriate response by the Church today.
Key to an understanding of history must be an awareness of the centrality of evangelism. Our Lord indicated as much when He said, "Upon this rock [the confession that Jesus is the Christ] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18, KJV). That is to say, the proclamation of justification by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is the responsibility of the Church and will be accomplished with the help of the Lord of the Church. Beginning at Jerusalem, then spreading to Judea and Samaria, and from thence to all the ends of the earth, the Church will carry this message of salvation to all people, shaping history as it goes.
The devil will oppose this work of God; it is an invasion of his miserable kingdom of darkness. He will foment persecution from without and heresy from within. But he will not prevail. He will walk about like a roaring lion, devour some, draw many away from the faith, and impede the progress of the Gospel. But he will not succeed. Jesus promised that He Himself would build His Church.
How can this be accomplished, given the weakness and frailty of all-too-human disciples? Herein lies a mystery - one more paradox in a Church where the last are first - weakness overcomes power. As Jesus prepared for His passion He said, "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out" (John 12:31). In the weakness of His death, He destroyed sin, death, and the power of the devil. This action is described symbolically in the last book of the Bible: "He [Christ] seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:2). In other words, the Lord limited the power of Satan to deceive the nations so that the Gospel could he proclaimed all over the world for a long period of time. That's the simplest explanation of this verse. It should he obvious that if the devil had his was', the Gospel would be preached nowhere; there would be no Church, no pastors, no faith, no Sacraments. But the impossible has happened. Christian people - all their faults notwithstanding - have in fact spread the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world.
Wherever the Gospel has been preached, people have responded to its message of salvation, and congregations have been formed. With the growth of the Church, cities have been transformed by its influence - that is to say, by the cumulative influence of individual Christian men and women being involved in the secular affairs of the city and bringing to bear on its problems the mind of Christ. City by city, nations and civilizations have likewise been transformed. As the Roman senate filled up with Christian leaders, it passed laws against abortion and infanticide. Something like this seems to have been the purport of Jesus' parable about the mustard seed: "[The kingdom of God] is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches" (Luke 13:19). Conservative interpreters read this as follows: The tree is the kingdom of God. It starts small and becomes large. The birds come and go; they are people of the world not attached to the kingdom directly. The branches are the fringe benefits of the Church to a nation that allows it to flourish. Included are those secondary institutions created by or influenced by the Church, such as the arts, education, law, government, business, medicine, and so forth. These ultimately provide benefits even to people who do not belong to the Church. Millions today benefit from a university education, little realizing that the institution was invented by the Church.
Conversely, civilizations that reject the Gospel suffer practical consequences. It comes as a shock hut ultimately no surprise that the U.S. Senate, where Christian influence has long been in eclipse, would refuse to pass laws against abortion and infanticide that have been handed up to it by the House of Representatives. Thus the lives of the unborn and newborn remain unprotected in America, and the first unalienable right is set aside in favor of "choice."
For these reasons I maintain that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the key to history. Western civilization is largely a by-product of the Gospel. Its rise and its fall are intensely interesting to us, for it is our civilization, and our immediate livelihood and well-being depend upon its stability. But what is of ultimate importance is the kingdom of God - that is, the Church. that divine institution that is in the world but not of the world, and through which God calls people to repentance and saves them for everlasting life.
As the progress of the Gospel influences civilization, the decay of a civilization can impede the progress of the Gospel. Someone once compared history to the scaffolding around Noah's ark. With such a bewildering profusion of boards and ladders, you can hardly make out what's being built behind it. This is how we often look at the institutions of society-government, education, law, economics - the temporal structures that surround and support the Church and within which its planks are fitly joined together. We see it all, and sometimes the scaffolding seems more solid and impressive than the construction project itself with all of its delays, cost overruns, staff shortages, and mistakes that have to be corrected. Yet the work goes on from generation to generation, and one Noah after another arises to be a preacher of righteousness, proclaiming the Word of the Gospel by which the ship is being built. One by one and two by two, people are gathered in and find sanctuary. Finally the rain comes down, the streams rise, the winds blow and beat against the scaffolding, and it washes away while the ark of salvation, the Church of Jesus Christ, floats away on baptismal waters to a new world of everlasting bliss. For the first world, it was the eschaton, the end of all things. And so will it he for us in our world.
Grace and Faith
Somehow the Bible has a way of connecting water with acts of salvation and damnation, with blessing and curse. Adam and Eve drank from a river in the Garden of Eden. Noah and his family "were saved through water" while a sinful world perished (1 Peter 3:20). Moses led the people of Israel through the Red Sea - the same sea that destroyed Pharaoh's army. Joshua led the Israelites through the parted waters of the Jordan River. Naaman found healing from leprosy in the simple act of bathing. John came preaching a Baptism unto repentance. Dead works were to be drowned in the water. Jesus said that to be saved, we must be born again of water and the Spirit. Indeed, He described Himself as living water (John 4:10). At the very end of the Bible we see the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God (Revelation 22:17).
While some may dispute whether all of these passages refer to Baptism, one area of universal agreement is that "whoever believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16). Faith is essential for salvation. Jesus could die on the cross for the sins of the world a thousand times, but if nobody believed in Him, it wouldn't do anybody any good. No one would be saved, even though salvation had been won for them. Christ's death validates His last will and testament. You are his legitimate heir by adoption. It is faith that credits all the assets of Jesus Christ to your account. Faith is your signature on the check God issues from His treasury. Though on the cross Jesus died for all people in all places at all times, it is only by faith that you can say, "He died for me. He is my Savior." Not that faith is something you can produce by your own will or reason or emotions. No; even faith itself comes by grace. It is a gift of God, so that all credit for salvation goes to Him alone.
Along with faith, Baptism is considered important by all, regardless of disagreements on the outward form Baptism should take. Some argue for immersion, others sprinkling; some say adults only, others admit infants; some insist that it is a Sacrament, others that it is a divine ordinance hut not a means of grace. Nevertheless, the importance of Baptism is unquestionably clear, since it is commanded by the Lord: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19).
The case of the thief on the cross proves that under extreme circumstances one can be saved by faith alone without Baptism. Even so, this seems to he the exception that proves the rule, for the Bible frequently speaks of Baptism in connection with salvation. "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39). Accordingly, the Church throughout the ages and down to the present has baptized those who have repented of their sins and confessed faith in Christ. All agree that Christ has commanded Baptism and that under normal circumstances a Christian should he baptized.
Connecting with Noah's Flood in this regard, it may he helpful to consider the eschatological dimension of Baptism. St. Paul writes, "Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:3-4). Water gives life and takes it away. The Flood meant salvation for Noah, destruction for the first world. In the same way, the water of Baptism works in two ways. It kills your Old Adam; it brings your New Man to life. It is an individual eschaton through water.
Christ died on the cross. There was His end. Those who believe and are baptized are joined with Him in His death. His end becomes our end. In His death, all of our sins are washed away, and all the debts we owed to God are now paid. In Christ we are now dead to sin, just as a corpse in a coffin is impervious to temptation.
Christ rose again from the dead. There was His new beginning. Those who believe and are baptized are joined with Him in His resurrection. His new beginning becomes our new beginning. In His resurrection, we now stand before God justified, declared innocent in His eternal court of law. We are now given the Holy Spirit and filled with power for living a new life. Old things are passed away; all has become new.
In other words, what is true of faith is true of Baptism. Both go together to take what Christ has done and make it your own. In these things the benefits of Christ's holy, innocent death and resurrection are made yours. When Scripture says in one place that a man is saved by grace through faith and in another that he who believes and is baptized shall be saved, it is saying the same thing.
Many a new convert to Christ can testify what a life-changing experience this is. Sometimes it is sudden and dramatic, sometimes slow and gradual, but always there is a fundamental change that takes place in the person who believes and is baptized. It is as if he had died to the old life and entered into a whole new world full of grace and peace and joy in Christ. Old things have passed away; all has become new. The flood waters have rampaged through his world, and he has experienced both damnation and salvation. For him as an individual it is the end of the world, it is the coming of Christ.
Hence the cheerful resignation with which the faithful in all generations have faced the cross, persecution, adversity, and mere temporal death. With all their hearts and all their minds and all their strength they are focused not on the things of this world but on the world that is unseen, above, and coming. It has been well said that everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to have to die to get there. For true believers in Christ, though, there is a very deep dimension of life in which the future lies in the past. He who is to come has come into their hearts. By faith in Christ and baptism into Christ, the struggle of death has been eased, the sting salved, the sword blunted. For the individual Christian who dies, the end has come.
What this does is place a terminus ad quem upon the history of each individual. A man lives once. There never was anyone exactly like him, nor will there ever be again. His story is unique, his life like none other. Because it has an end, it has a beginning and a middle. Each man's life is a little history and a piece of the whole. Each man knows at some level, deep or shallow, that he will face his end one day. He may fight it, but in the end he will die. And this knowledge of the end will inevitably, in some way, have an influence on his activities today.
At some point a man will do something in the present that gives symbolic recognition to death that may seem a long way off but is still on the track like a slow train coming. He will take out an insurance policy for the benefit of his survivors. He will make out a will for the orderly disposition of his worldly goods. He may start going back to church. Or on the other hand he may get a divorce, grow a ponytail, buy a Harley, and shack up with some young floozy. Whatever he does, he is in some way tipping his hat to the grim reaper. The future determines the present.
For those who are being saved, the future meets the present on a daily basis. As Paul says, "I die every day" (1 Corinthians 15:31). That is, in Christ, repentance is not just a one-time experience; it is something that is everyday and ongoing. The Old Adam keeps struggling for control, the flesh lusting against the Spirit. We often sin, stumble, and fall. Yet we repent just as often, beg God for mercy, and experience the blessed forgiveness of Christ many times a day and receive power to live a new life. On the whole, we are radically different than we were before we believed; but the struggle never ceases until it is resolved in death and we enter everlasting life. For the present, death and life wrestle. This is the action of Baptism in the Christian's daily life. The water swirls and flows and cascades with currents and undertows like a mighty flood. But now at the end of the day we find Adam drowned and Christ victorious, death swallowed tip by life.
This is why in traditional denominations where the ancient liturgy has been kept, the faithful often make the sign of the cross at significant points in the service as well as every morning for daily personal devotions. It is a remembrance of Baptism, when the minister first made the sign of the holy cross over the heart of the penitent as a sign that he had been redeemed by Christ the crucified. The curse was upon Jesus, the blessing upon us. The Law was meted out to Him, the Gospel delivered to us. For Him, damnation; for us, salvation. In the water of Baptism God kills and makes alive. In this water, for each man on every day of his life, it is the end of the old world and the beginning of the new.
In addition to the individual, there is also a corporate eschatology that occupies the minds of believers and theologians. As with Baptism, much controversy has surrounded this doctrine of Last Things - perhaps an indication of its importance. There are premillennialists and postmillennialists and amillennialists, all contending for their interpretations; and within the premillennialist camp there are pre-tribbers and mid-tribbers and post-tribbers, complicating matters even further. Opinions are often entrenched. All this notwithstanding, there are surprisingly large areas of common agreement among us who confess Jesus Christ.
In the Apostles' Creed we declare that we believe in Jesus Christ who "ascended into heaven," and "from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." According to the faith that has been believed everywhere by everyone, we believe in "the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." That is the irreducible minimum, the fundamental confidence we all share that at some future day, known only to God, Jesus Christ will return to this earth to judge all people, raising all bodies from their graves, sending the unjust into eternal perdition and the righteous into the eternal joy of heaven.
One might say that the Second Coming has already taken place in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In a sense, it has. That is, in a proleptic or anticipatory sense. Christ's resurrection was a once-and-for-all event, never to be repeated. He was put to death for our sins and raised again for our justification. Once killed and once raised, he never has to go through it again. But in His resurrection is contained the seed, the potential, of the end of the world. The event has a finality about it - the defeat of all evil, the vanquishing of the grave, the triumph over Satan. His individual resurrection looks forward to the resurrection of all flesh that He promised before the Ascension. And inasmuch as the Resurrection is a proleptic event, Christians today, as throughout all ages, live in victory even while under the cross.
Another aspect of realized eschatology is in the Lord's Supper, often called Holy Communion. It purports to bring us into communion with God, who dines only with His friends. In liturgical churches, just before the Communion the minister says in the Sanctus, "With angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Thy Glorious Name." The idea is that we are ushered into the presence of God in this simple but holy meal Christ gave us, and that we are there together with everyone else who stands in the presence of God in heaven, all saints and all angels. It is as if we were proleptically sent forward in time to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
What this does is place a terminus ad quem upon history. The Christian knows that all things ultimately conspire to this end: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. God works all things for the ultimate good, for the redemption of His people. He moves men and nations and events forward in His own mysterious way toward the final day of destiny. Every dramatic occurrence, every catastrophe - and somehow they seem to come in clusters, like the increasingly frequent and intense contractions of a woman in labor - moves history forward toward its final goal. Someday the world will end. Someday all the loose threads of human events will come together in a final conflict between good and evil. Someday the trumpet will sound. History in this context can be said to he a combination of two dynamics. Et is not only a product of past causes that push from behind, as mans - have observed; it is also and perhaps ultimately the product of a future event that draws it forward. The future determines the present.
So if the Gospel is the key to history in an ongoing sense, it is also the key to history in a final sense. The death and resurrection of Christ - the Gospel event-turned over the hourglass of time. The preaching of the Gospel in the world is a sign of the coming end. And when we celebrate Holy Communion - what St. Augustine called "the visible Word"-we "proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). The age of grace and the end times are one and the same.
Jesus said, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matthew 24:14). Some missionary groups have calculated the number of languages in the world that do not yet have a New Testament, with the implication that as soon as they get the Gospel translated into every tongue and preach a sermon in it, Christ will return. While their efforts are praiseworthy, it is doubtful that God is bound by such a mechanical imperative.
Nevertheless, it may be that missionaries - those hardy and adventurous men and women who hazard their bodies to deliver the Gospel to the darkened corners of this world (including America, as denominational mission analysts are now recognizing) - stand in our midst like an indicator species. Their progress, or lack thereof, may be important to understanding the ebb and flow of human events. Years ago, when I was a student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, I asked now-sainted Professor Martin Scharlemann about Jesus' saying concerning the fig tree: "As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come our, you know that summer is near" (Matthew 24:32-33). He said that in his opinion we need to keep our eye on the missionaries; if the day ever comes when they can no longer do their work and their host countries begin to expel them, look up.
What this sets up in the minds of believers is an expectation of Christ's return. Our minds on things above, we look to the sky in hope. From heaven our salvation draws near. Not just mine. Ours. All of us in the Church on earth, together with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, cry out, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus!" This glorious appearing of Jesus Christ will bring an end to human history. All of history's pomp and vainglory, all of its power and riches - all will be overthrown in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The last will be first and the first last. The divine comedy will play out its final scene, and the curtain will come down upon human events, to the great laughter and applause of the saints whose groans and cries of anguish have gone up like fragrant incense to the throne of God throughout the whole long struggle of the age of grace.
Churchmen of every age have expected to see the fulfillment of the eschatological hope within their lifetimes. St. Paul thought so. St. Augustine thought so. Luther thought so. And with some justification, even though they were mistaken. In every age the dynamics of the end times have always been present. The Gospel has been preached. The Church has been under the cross. There have been signs in the heavens and upon the earth - eclipses and comets, floods and famines, wars and rumors of wars. We look at our own age and say. "Surely these are the last of the last days." Like our illustrious predecessors, we may be wrong. But what is certain is that one day, one generation will be right. Therefore all generations must he prepared, just as down the centuries every mother in Israel hoped to give birth to the Christ and so maintained an attitude of perpetual readiness.
New Testament writers used the word kairos, usually translated "age" or "epoch," to describe a long period of time marked by a signal, culminating historic event. This is certainly clear from Scripture and so can be held as a simple article of faith without delving into the complexities of dispensationalism. The Creation, the Fall, Noah's Flood, the Tower of Babel, the call of Abraham, the giving of the Law to Moses, the reign of King David, and the Babylonian Captivity certainly qualify as epochal events of the Old Testament. St. Matthew divides his genealogy into three periods: "fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ" (1:17). And St. Paul says of the epoch that saw the fulfillment of the promise, "When the time had fully come, God sent his Son" (Galatians 4:4).
In the same way Jesus defines the end times as an age characterized by the proclaiming of salvation by faith in Christ and culminating in the Second Coming. "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20). He warns against becoming preoccupied with eschatological speculation, saying that we should occupy ourselves with evangelism: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:7-8). With these clear Scriptures in mind, we see that while the Second Coming of Christ will be the culminating sign of the end, the preaching of the Gospel is the ongoing sign of the last days.
While so occupied, however, it is given to believers to have a certain general awareness of the times in which they live. In Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Jesus outlines the signs of the times to whet our appetite for the wedding supper of the Lamb: "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door" (Matthew 24:32-33). The majority of the people of this world will he preoccupied with worldly things and will be caught off guard by the Second Coming of Christ. Some wag even came up with a final headline for the New York Times, all in doomsday type: CHRIST RETURNS - STOCKS TUMBLE. Those who know Jesus will he ready. "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:4). The faithful will be watching the signs of the times and exhorting one another to preparedness, evangelism, good works, and holy living.
Within this last age of the world, between the First and Second Coming, while signs of the approaching end are ongoing and the work of preaching goes forward, there are indications of smaller periods characterized by their own signal events. The beginning saw an emphasis on outreach to the Jews (Acts 1:8). This came to pass. Jesus said that the Gentiles would be converted (Acts 1:8). This came to pass. Christians expected that their religion would increase to great proportions (Matthew 13:31-33). This came to pass. It was a kairos. The time was right.
But Scripture also teaches that late in the last days there will be a change of atmosphere surrounding the Gospel. "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:12- 13). The expansion of the Church will slow down. "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith" (1 Timothy 4:1). "That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" (2 Thessalonians 2:3, KjV). The hand of God that held back Saran's attacks from the Church will he taken away, and "Satan will he released from his prison and will go our to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth" (Revelation 20:7).
Something like this seems to have come to pass in our own rime. The United Methodist Church, one of America's largest Protestant denominations, has shrunk by 30 percent since 1970 - a loss of market share that would drive any business into the ground. Megachurches draw bigger and bigger crowds, while small congregations quietly slip away like old folks in a nursing home. One denominational executive was heard to remark that when the statistical reports of rapidly growing congregations using church growth methods are corrected for local demographics, the difference disappears. In other words, the church that is growing by 10 percent per year.
Meanwhile the Mormons have exploded out of Utah and developed a savvy ad campaign that makes them look almost like a regular Christian denomination. Almost. Not that the mainline Protestant denominations are helping any with their espousal of doctrines that contradict the Scriptures, beginning with their adoption of a modernist theology that denies the inspiration of the Bible. Plus, New Age ideas are filtering into every level of religious thought, with erstwhile Christians holding views diametrically opposed to the faith, as any working pastor can tell you. And despite the considerable spiritual energy created in the past fifty years by Billy Graham Crusades, the Ecumenical Movement, the Charismatic Movement, Key '73, I Found It, the Jesus Freaks, The Lutheran Hour, the Liturgical Renewal, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Life, Campus Crusade, Navigators, Inter-Varsity, the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, L'Abri, contemporary Christian music, celebrity converts, televangelism, the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship, Women's Aglow, the Church Growth movement, and Promise Keepers, the overall percentage of the population in church on Sunday - the one reliable statistical indicator of real religious activity in the nation - has remained constant at around 40 percent. In short, there's no revival going on. We're not in the next Great Awakening.
Regarding this falling away theologian John Stephenson says, "We live in the throes of a tragic intraecclesial defection from Christ which currently poses a massive threat to the integrity of His church as she subsists in a multiplicity of confessions and denominations Already two generations ago [Lutheran theologian Francis] Pieper was fully aware of the deep apostasy afflicting Christendom, being moved to assert that history had in fact entered upon the 'little season' of Rev. 20:3" (3, 7). Can this be right? Today the Christian faith is persecuted but growing in Africa and Asia, while it has stagnated in America and shriveled in Europe.
Those who think about these things keep a close watch on the leaves of the fig tree, so to speak. They know that they cannot calculate the day and hour of Christ's return and so must keep watch on a daily basis, redeeming the time, for the days are evil. At the same time, like the men of Issachar, they make a responsible effort to understand the times in which they live and to know what the Church should do.
1 Chronicles 12:32: men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do - 200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;
Matthew 16:18 (KJV): 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 24:12-14: Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 28:19-20: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 24:32-33: "Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
Matthew 13:31-33: He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough."
Mark 16:16: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Luke 13:19: It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches.
John 12:31: Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
John 4:10: Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
Acts 2:38-39: Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off - for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Acts 1:7-8: He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Romans 6:3-4: Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
1 Corinthians 15:31: I die every day - I mean that, brothers - just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1 Corinthians 11:26: For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
1 Thessalonians 5:4: But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV): Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Galatians 4:4: But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,
1 Timothy 4:1: The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Peter 3:20: who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
Revelation 20:2: He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Revelation 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
Revelation 20:7: When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
Chapter excerpted from The Spiritual Society: What Lurks Beyond Postmodernism? by Fred Baue, copyright © 2001. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, 60187. This material is not to be electronically transferred. Download for personal use only. The Spiritual Society may be purchased for a total of $13 by calling the Issues, Etc. resource line at 1-800-737-0172.
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