1st Cor 13:10

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by MB, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. MB

    MB
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    What is this perfect thing paul is speaking about?. Is it God's word ?. Is it Christ?. or is it the Love men grow to have in there maturity in Christ?
    MB
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    Can't wait to see all the commentaries on this one......[​IMG]
     
  3. webdog

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    I think in context, particularly the couple verses following, the "perfect" is the love we will have once the stain of the curse is removed, which won't be fulfilled this side of Heaven. All love we have now (even towards God) is tainted by sin. This will not always be the case, though.
     
  4. mparkerfd20

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    I think you're close webdog, but for some reason I think it's an even more immediate context than the entire chapter. Looking at the preceding verses and those following, I think in context the "perfect" here is perfect knowledge.

    1Co 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
    1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

    1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
    1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.


    Hmmmm.... now that I think about it... Is it knowledge or the object of that knowledge? Knowledge of Perfect Love if you will? Very good discussion and thought provoking question.
     
  5. MB

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    I have tried searching this thing out. So far I have eliminated the person of Christ and the Word. Which is what Pentecostalism believes. Given verse 11 It also makes me think of man's growth in Christ. When man's growth is complete then the man is perfect. This is speculation on my part and not necessarily the truth of it.
    If Love then this would also include the maturity of the Christian. Love isn't always so easy though it is something we can do if we are willing. Is Love of fellow Christians and our neighbors a perfect thing? or maybe a perfect maturity?
    MB
     
  6. MB

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    If not this side of heaven in your opinion does this also mean that these gifts spoken of in verse 8 will not cease until then?
    MB
     
  7. webdog

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    I thought of the growth, too, initially. I now think it may be more similie now in regards to love. For instance, when we are adults, we look back at the things we believed, said and did, and can't believe how immature we really were. I think verse 11 may be along those same lines, that when our love is completed and not stained by sin, we will look back and see how "immature" our love really was, and how we viewed it.
     
  8. webdog

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    I'm not a cessationalist, if that's what you mean. I don't believe in the "tongues" of TBN, etc. Like love, our gifts will be made perfect with the removal of sin, too.
     
  9. MB

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    I believe tongues once did exist as to whether or not they still exist I don't really know for sure. I don't speak in tongues myself nor do I think Benny Hinn and the rest are really speaking in tongues. Most of that is mumbo jumbo. It's a show for them, personally I think it's really foolishness. I don't believe men can heal either but I do believe God can.
    MB
     
  10. Todd W. White

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    The verse being discussed is:

    “When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away”
    (I Cor. 13:10).


    However, it is impossible to answer the original question if you take the verse out of context, because a text without a context is a pretext, and we certainly don't want any of that. :laugh:

    So, let's keep it in the context, and to do that, we must go all the way back to Chapter 12, verse 1, and work our way through, because the original was written by Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit with one central theme in mind at the same time:

    Writing to the Church in Corinth, and he's having to deal with some problems there.

    In Chapters 12, 13, & 14, which must never be studied separately he's dealing with the problem of the abuse in the church in Corinth of Spiritual Gifts (SG's), particularly with Speaking in Tongues (which were real, human languages, unknown to the one speaking them, but understood by the one(s) hearing them), but also others.

    He's spent all of Ch. 12 attempting to teach them so they won't be ignorant of the Doctrine of Spiritual Gifts (12:1) -

    * He delineates several of the different gifts in 12:8-10, & mentions in 12:11 that it's the Holy Spirit Who bestows these gifts, not man.

    * He then goes into a series of illustrations of how the Body of Christ cannot operate properly unless it's parts - the members - are utilizing their SG's properly (see 12:12-26).

    * Then, in 12:28, he again lists several of the gifts of the Spirit -

    "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."

    Now, in verse 29, he begins a series of retorical questions in verses 29 & 30 to prove a point:

    "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"


    And the uncategorical answer to each of these questions is "No", "No", "No", "No", "No", "No", "No"!

    So, it's obvious that not every person in the church was supposed to have every SG, and this is one of the problems Paul is attempting to correct: the abuse of the Doctrine of SG's by the members of the Church in Corinth - they were attempting to acquire and operate/utilize the SG's they thought were the most important and impressive (this is why he mentions first that the Holy Spirit is the one who bestows them, rather than men, even oneself).

    That's why he says, in verse 30:

    "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."

    Now, on the surface, it appears that there is a contradiction here - I just said that Paul is trying to correct these Corinthian believers for trying to "gin up"/fabricate/use SG's in their own power, and, yet, in verse 30, he's telling them to covet the "best gifts".

    Isn't that a contradiction?

    Not in the least!

    Why?

    Because of the construction of the original language from which the English has been translated:

    Look at that word, "covet" in verse 30 - that's the KEY to understanding what Paul is saying here.

    In Greek, words have tenses, moods, voice, etc. - lots of stuff going on that isn't always visible in English. Here is an excellent example of that.

    The word covet in verse 30 of Ch. 12 can be translated in one of two different moods:

    Indicative or Imperative

    If it's imperative, then Paul is commanding them to covet the "best gifts", and those in the Charismatic Movement are correct - we're supposed to desire/covet those special SG's.

    But, if it's in the indicative mood, it's a comment - an indication - of what they were doing, rather than a command.

    Now, let's apply some basics of the science of biblical interpretation - you always let the Bible be the guide for interpreting itself. IOW, you start there FIRST.

    Here, we have a word, covet, & it could be a command (imperative mood) or a description of what they were doing (indicative mood).

    So how do we know which it is?

    By looking at how the Bible, specifically the Apostle Paul, uses that word elsewhere. And, when you do some homework, you will find that NO WHERE does Paul use "covet" in a positive sense. If he DID, the ONLY place he did so is in I Cor. 12:31. So, for Paul, "covet" was a bad word.

    SO -

    1. Since Paul is dealing with problems in the Church in Corinth, and
    2. Since he is having to correct them for errors in the church, and
    3. Since he's just finished emphasizing that not everyone in the church has these famous SG's, and
    4. Since the word "covet" can be translated as an imperative OR a as description of what they were doing, and
    5. Since the word "covet" is bad word for the Apostle Paul,

    Therefore, good biblical exegesis demands that we translate "covet" in I Cor. 2:31 in the INDICATIVE mood, not as a command (imperative mood), and it fits the context perfectly. So, NOW when we read verse 31, we understand what Paul is REALLY saying:

    Instead of commanding them, he's telling them what they are doing:

    "But [you ARE] covet[ing] earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."

    Then he goes right into Chapter 13 - no break - and shows them exactly how it's SUPPOSED to be:

    "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I Cor. 13:1).

    So - the believers in the Church in Corinth were attempting to operate SG's in their lives that they were most impressed with, Paul corrects that, then spends the first 8 1/2 verses of Chapter 13 describing how a Spirit-filled person REALLY acts.

    Now, when he comes the latter part of verse 8 (and here's where we get into the answer of the original question regarding verse 10), he begins to introduce the concept that some of the SG's were permanent, and some were temporary.

    Notice:

    "Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away" (I Cor. 13:8).

    Now, we know that "charity", here, means "God's kind of love", to put it simply, and that it will never fail, "BUT", Paul says, "some things WILL fail."

    What are they?

    Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge.

    Now, those in the Charismaniac Movement, which I live in the midst of the heart of, will tell you that "We know that knowledge and prophecy haven't failed, so tongues hasn't failed either!"

    Again, here's a failure to look at the text, the context, and the original language:

    The phrases, "they shall fail" and "it shall vanish away", which refer to prophecies and knowledge, respectively, are in the transitive mood, passive voice in the original language. That means they in motion, and will be caused to cease by an external force.

    But the phrase referring to tongues, "they shall cease", is in the INtransitive mood, middle voice, meaning it is not moving and will stop/cease in and of itself.

    So - the SG of prophecy, which is the telling forth of the Word of God, and knowledge of the Word of God, will continue until something happens to cause them to cease. But tongues won't stop when they do - they will have ceased in and of themselves long before that.

    When?

    Paul, anticipating that very question from the Corinthian believers, answers it:

    "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part" (verse 9) - it's not over yet. The forthtelling of the Word and our learning of it will continue.

    "But", Paul says in verse 10, "when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part" - these temporary gifts, especially tongues, "shall be done away."

    OK, so then comes your long-awaited answer to the original question -

    What is "that which is perfect"?

    Well, contrary to what the Neo-Pentecostals and other non-informed people may say, this is NOT a reference to Jesus Christ's return to this earth.

    How do I know this?

    Again - go back to the original language - the word, "perfect" is in the NEUTER gender, and the Lord Jesus Christ is NEVER referred to in the neuter gender - always in the MASCULINE, as in John 1:1, where we know the word "Word" is speaking of Christ partly because it is masculine in gender.

    SO - if "that which is perfect" isn't the return of Christ, what is it?

    It has to be a reference to those SG's that are temporary - only needed until the completion of the canon of Scripture - ie, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues, Healing , Miracles, Discerning of Spirits, and Apostles. Once the canon closed, the need for these temporary sign gifts ENDED.

    We don't need these gifts any more - we have God's complete revelation of His Word for us! So, stopped, in and of themselves.

    So - verse 10 of I Corinthians 13 is speaking of the temporary SG's needed until the canon of Scripture was completed.

    Oh - as an aside, if I can prove anything with the Bible, I can prove than God never has, and never will, give a woman the Spiritual Gift of Speaking in Tongues:

    In I Cor. 14:34, in the context of Speaking in Tongues, Paul says:

    "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak..."

    Speak what?

    Tongues!

    He's not prohibiting women from speaking in a church service - he's prohibiting them to speak in tongues, and, since tongues were NEVER designed to be a "private" thing, God never did give a woman the gift of Speaking in Tongues!

    Well, that alone ought to set off a few fires.. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. Crabtownboy

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    Let me tell you a true story about tongues that I can believe in.

    I had a friend, Indian [India] by heritage, who grew up in Trinidad, a wonderful Christian who is now with the Lord. I never knew him to tell a falsehood. He was third generation in Trinidad and did not speak Hindi. Here is his story.

    One morning while at his devotions and the Lord told him to go witness to a local village woman, a Hindi, who practiced the dark arts of voodooism. He responded saying, "But Lord, I do not speak Hindi."

    And the Lord said, "Don't worry. Go witness to her."

    He walked to her home and knocked on the door, wondering what he could do when she opened the door. When she did he was able to speak Hindi. He witnessed to her all day and in the evening she accepted Christ, burned her dark arts books and the things she used. She joined the local church and became a strong, witnessing Christian.

    He said when he woke the next morning he could not speak Hindi and could never carry on a conversation with her after that.
     
  12. MB

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    Hi Todd white;

    I have a question for you about your view of 1st Cor 13:10. If Paul was speaking about the completion of the Bible why didn't he call it by name?
    MB
     
  13. MB

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    All things are possible with God.
    MB
     
  14. OldRegular

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    I believe that Paul is talking about the culmination of salvation.

    1. For deceased Saints it will be the resurrection of the body. Paul speaks of that body as follows:

    1 Corinthians 15:42-44
    42. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
    43. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
    44. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
    There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.


    2. For living Saints Paul states:

    1 Corinthians 15:50-54
    50. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
    51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
    52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
    53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
    54. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.


    When Jesus Christ returns there will be a New Heavens and New Earth where the Triune God will dwell with the redeemed of all time, the Church, the Bride of Jesus Christ. Scripture best describes this event:

    Revelation 21:1-7
    1. And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
    2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
    3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
    4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
    5. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
    6. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
    7. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.[/i]

    So we see fulfilled that which Paul was speaking about in 1 Corinthians 13:10:

    10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    I think Bro. Todd White's post makes sense. That which is perfect is the completed canon.

    And his explanation of women and tongues is a new wrinkle I've never heard before, particularly the command for women to keep silent in the church. The context of I Cor 14 is the misuse of tongues. Again, his explanation makes sense.
     
    #15 Tom Butler, Jan 13, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2009
  16. Todd W. White

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    MB said -

    Well, I would say for the same reason the Bible doesn't always spell out some things point blank - that's the way the Holy Spirit told the penman, in this case Paul, to put down.

    We know the Trinity exists, but the Bible doesn't call it that - we come to understand it through careful exegesis of Scripture.

    Bro. Tom -

    THANKS, man!

    I came to this position after growing up 5 miles from Oral Roberts University. As a young - and I mean young - Christian, I was bombarded with the Neo-Pentecostal nonsense, and had to get into the Word before they messed me up real good (which happened a lot in the Tulsa area when Oral Roberts was at his peak, along with Kenneth Hagin, Sr., T. L. Osborne, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Gene Scott, among many, many others).

    The best teacher on the subject that I ever heard was pastor George Gardiner, who grew up in the Charismatic Movement, and finally left it for biblical Christianity. He did more to help me understand these things than anyone else.

    Wish I could lay claim to all I shared - but it's what I've learned.
     
  17. Marcia

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    What a wonderful story! I think this is a true story of what speaking in tongues really is (speaking in another language). I think this is one of those miraculous temporary things God did, rather than the gift of tongues which I believe was given to believers in the early days.

    I've heard of a couple of other stories similar to this - someone able to speak another language temporarily to witness about Christ.
     
  18. Todd W. White

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    Not to say it never happens, but the Spiritual GIFT of Speaking in Tongues, as an operational gift in the body of Christ, ended with the completion of the canon of Scripture.

    That said, there is a LOT of chicanery going on out there that's NOT of God.

    Some of it is -

    1. Manufactured - in an environment where one is considered "spiritual" because they "have the gift", the pressure to produce it is great. So, it is manufactured in an effort to keep up with the tongues-speaking Jones', if you please.

    It can certainly be taught - George Gardiner used to say, "Give me any group of people, who will do what I say, who will go through the ritual and do it with sincerity, and, in a matter of time, I will have them all speaking in ecstatic speech." He felt it could be taught.

    Some of it is -

    2. Psychologically induced - Through the use of sensual music, repetitious chanting, and all of the hype that goes on in the Neo-Pentecostal services (especially the music), the body generates large amounts of chemicals/hormones that literally cause the person to fall into what amounts to a drunken stupor. At that point, as with a drug addict who is high or a person who is drunk, the inhibitions drop, and, through the suggestions of the charismatic preacher or "worship leader", the phenomenon can also be generated.

    And some of it is -

    3. Demonic - That's right: demonic! In another post, I mentioned that Satan can duplicate every aspect of the filling of the Holy Spirit except the filling itself. He can make you feel like you did when you really were filled, and then, if he can get you to equate the feeling with the filling, he's got you! Unless God intervenes, from then on you will go on your merry way missing the REAL filling of the Holy Spirit and falling for a counterfeit.

    Satan does the same thing with speaking in tongues - he counterfeits it. And, unless you know the Bible and what it teaches on this subject, and most don't and don't want to ("We don't care what the Bible says, we've had an experience!" I heard Jim Bakker say in response to someone saying what I'm saying about tongues shortly before he was exposed for the charlatan that he is), you'll fall for his counterfeit hook, line, and sinker.

    But, once in a while he gets caught doing this.

    Years ago, my dear friend, SBC Missionary to Africa Bob Beaty, was traveling in America and found himself in a town he'd never been in at church time. Not one to miss church, he wandered into the first church he could find, which happened to be a tongues-speaking church.

    When the time for the message in tongues came, a person in the service stood up and spoke in "tongues". Immediately, Bro. Bob recognized the language as being from one of the tribes in Africa he had ministered to in his 50 years in the filed there (he actually knew Miss Bertha Smith - he'd been there that long). But, what the man speaking in "tongues" did not know is what he was ACTUALLY SAYING -

    "Satan, Satan, Satan - he is God, he is God!"

    After the service, Bob went up to the man (seems like it was the pastor, but I can't remember for sure), and asked him if he knew what he had said.

    "No, brother, but it was a WONDERFUL experience from God!"

    Then Bob told him that he knew the language he had been speaking in, and could tell him exactly what he said. The man excitedly asked to be given "the interpretation."

    When Bob Beaty told him what he REALLY said, they threw him out of the church!

    Biblical tongues were NEVER designed to be a sign to the Christian of the presence of the Holy Spirit - they were designed to be a sign to the JEW that the Messiah had come!

    Paul says in I Cor. 14:21 -

    "In the law it is written, With [men of] other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord."

    That's a reference to Isaiah 28:11, where the prophet is stating when the Jews will know their Messiah has come -


    "For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people."

    What people?

    Who was he writing to?

    Israel! Not Christians!

    Tongues weren't FOR the Christians - it was for the Jews: it was intended to communicate the Gospel of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, to God's people until the completion of the canon of Scripture, and when the Bible was completed, the need for the gift CEASED.

    That's why Paul follows with -

    "Wherefore" [in light of what Isaiah said] "tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe" (I Cor. 14:22).

    Now, if he hadn't made the reference to Isaiah 28:11, it might be possible to say that tongues were for the purpose of taking the Gospel to all peoples, but because he connects the to with the "wherefore", there is no denying that he's talking about the Jew - "this people".

    Therefore, although there could be a time when God does miraculously intervene to make it possible for a Jew to hear the Gospel when he otherwise won't, the Spiritual Gift of Speaking in Tongues, as a functioning gift in the Body of Christ, ended with the completion of the canon of Scripture.

    Which, incidentally, is the reason why ALL of the "tongues"-speaking churches send their missionaries to language school before they go out to a country that the missionary can't speak the native language: if they REALLY had "the gift", they wouldn't need language school, now would they?
     
    #18 Todd W. White, Jan 14, 2009
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  19. MB

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    Hi Todd White;
    I might say yes your right if only the ceaseing of real tongues could be proved from scripture. The Idea that it's the Bible's completion that causes tongues to cease seems more an educated guess than down to earth scripture. For many people the Bible can't be complete because they have never seen one.

    It seems to me more than any other idea I've seen so far is the context of what Paul is speaking about here. The whole chapter is about Love.
    Christ said;
    Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
    Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

    I have enemies that I love. It hasn't always been that way but with the help of God I actually began to love them. It was when I started praying for them, that I began to love them.
    The last verse here shows that in the Lord's eyes we are perfect when we love the unlovable enemies of our lives.


    Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    We are commanded to be perfect here and it seems according to Jesus we are when we love as He instructed.

    Loving even our enemies is walking with Jesus. I believe this is a mature Christian.
    MB
     
  20. Todd W. White

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    Hi MB!

    Well, it would have to be that they've ceased, even if you don't believe the exposition I've presented, else the tongues-speaking churches wouldn't send their missionaries to language school.

    You said -

    Very true, but I think that this is a secondary theme in this section, at best.

    I say this because Chapters 12, 13, & 14 are part of one continuous thought - it's easy to get the idea that you and others are proposing if you don't realize this and read Chapter 13 all by itself.

    BUT - when you take into account the context, you realize that he's really hammering them for acting like they're superior to others in the church - they're not demonstrating love. That's why Chapter 13 is there - to show them that, even though they had ALL the spiritual gifts (I Cor. 1:7), if they didn't use them under the control of the Holy Spirit, they were a big zero.

    So - the main theme of these chapters is the abuse by the members of the Church in Corinth of their spiritual gifts, and one of the ways this was manifested is how they were treating one another. However, that's not the main theme, only a secondary one (another secondary theme is their abuse of the Lord's Supper).

    Does that help?

    Hope so!
     
    #20 Todd W. White, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2009

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