Refuting the arguments used by the church of Christ about the Gentiles (Acts 10)

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Olivencia, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. Olivencia

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    Mar 18, 2009
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    Based on my experience with those of the church of Christ these are the 7 primary arguments I have seen them use in order to escape from the fact that the Gentiles in Acts 10 were saved before they were water baptized.
    Objection #1 - They were commanded to be water baptized (Acts 10:48). To believe that these Gentiles were saved before they were water baptized is to believe they were saved before obeying.
    Response - Are Christians or non-Christians commanded to partake of the Lord's Supper? Christians are. The same applies with these Gentiles with water baptism. They were saved first and then they were to be water baptized.
    Objection #2 - Both Balaam (Numbers 24:2) and Caiaphas (John 11:49-52) had the Holy Spirit but they weren't saved. So just because the Gentiles had the Holy Spirit does not mean they were saved just like Balaam and Caiaphas were not saved.
    Response - These events took place before Christ was glorified when the Holy Spirit was not yet given (John 7:39). Before this time He empowered both the saved and the unsaved but after Christ was glorified only saved people possessed Him (Romans 8:9; 1 John 4:13).
    Objection #3 - The Gentiles were simply empowered by the Spirit.
    Response: I would ask what evidence exists to prove that assertion seeing that every Greek lexicon I know of states that if one has the Holy Spirit they are saved while making no distinction between having the Holy Spirit and being empowered by the Holy Spirit. If such evidnce exists I certainly would like to see it. Interestingly the TDNT reads:
    the Spirit is for Paul the power of the new life (TDNT 2:209, dikaiosune).
    Objection #4 - How do you explain the reception of the Holy Spirit by Samaritans (Acts 8) and the disciples of John (Acts 19)?
    Response - Since there are no living Apostles today (the church of Christ agrees with this) these cases do not at all apply to us.
    If the church of Christ insists on an explanation of these two conversions several Greek lexicons refer to them in regards to the Spirit's reception.
    a. Brown: Yet the one great gift which he gives to his church is his ->Spirit (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; 1 Thess. 4:8; Lk. 11:13; cf. Acts 2:38; 8:17; 10:47; 19:6; also the OT quotations in Acts 2:17f. [Joel 2:28ff.] and Heb. 8:10 [Jer. 31:33]) (NIDNTT 2:42, gift).
    b. Brown: ...the -> apostles of Christ received power to confer the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:19; 19:6; but cf. 2:38; 10:44-48) (NIDNTT 2:611, might).
    c. Kittel: The apostles request the gift of the Spirit for those baptised by them, Ac. 8:15 (TDNT 6:54, peri).
    d. Mounce: It is a favorite word in Acts for the Holy Spirit descending on people (Acts 8:16; 10:44; 11:15) (Come upon, epipiptw, page 122).
    e. Vine: of the Holy Spirit, Acts 8:16; 10:44; 11:15 (Fall, epipiptw, page 404).
    d. Wuest: ...Acts 19:6 has to do with a special case where Jews had come into salvation under the Old Testament dispensation of law and now were receiving the added benefits of the Age of Grace, a case which cannot occur today (Word Studies in the Greek New Testament 3:109, chapter 4, Light from the Greek on the Ministry of the Holy Spirit: The Fullness of the Spirit).
    Objection #5 - The Holy Spirit was poured out on "all flesh" (Acts 2:17) so Acts 10 is simply describing what already took place in Acts 2:17.
    Response - To date I have only one person (a church of Christ preacher) use this argument. This is refuted in that:
    a. Acts 10:44, 45 states that the Holy Spirit was poured out "while" Peter was speaking.
    b. Titus 3:6 states that all who are Christians have had the Holy Spirit poured on them in relation to salvation (v.5).
    c. The phrase "all flesh" does not necessarily have to refer to humanity as a whole (Jeremiah 45:5).
    Objection #6 - The conversion of the Gentiles was a very unique event. This is only the second time the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurred. For if the baptism with the Holy Spirit was a common experience for all Christians then Peter would not have to go all the way back to Pentecost to find another example as to when it had happened (Acts 11:16 and Acts 2:4 coupled with Acts 1:5). He could have just referred to a much more recent occurrence of it. What took place with these Gentiles then can not be used as an example for water baptism not being necessary for salvation since no one else between Acts 2:4 and this event (and forever afterwards) were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
    Response - According to Acts 10:45 and Acts 11:16 to have the Holy Spirit poured (ekxew) on a person and to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is the same thing.
    pouring (Acts 10:45) = baptism (Acts 11:16)
    In Titus 3:6 we see that all who are Christians have had the Holy Spirit "poured" (ekxew) on them. Thus since all Christians have had the Holy Spirit poured on them then it follows that all Christians have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.
    Peter went back all the way to what took place in Acts 2:4 because the Jews had extreme misgivings about the Gentiles. For he wanted to emphasize the fact that since the Gentiles were baptized with the Holy Spirit they were just as much a part of the New Testament church as the 12 Apostles. It is not because no one else was baptized with the Holy Spirit between these two events. Peter was stating that as important as the 12 Apostles are God was even willing to do to the Gentiles. If one was to refuse the Gentiles into the New Testament church even though they were baptized with the Holy Spirit then one would also have to refuse to accept that even the Apostles were not part of the New Testament church despite also having been baptized with the Holy Spirit which is absurd.
    Objection #7 - According to Acts 11:15 Peter states that the Holy Spirit fell "as I began to speak". This was a more "orderly" account (Acts 11:4) of what took place in Acts 10. If the the reception of the Holy Spirit proves that these Gentiles were saved then it also proves they were saved without faith which is impossible (Romans 10:17). The Holy Spirit falling on them was to simply let Peter and those with him know that these Gentiles were now ready to be saved not that they were already saved.
    Response - Concerning the "orderly" account of events Luke also uses this word (kathexes) in Luke 1:3 and it does not have to mean a strict chronological order of events for we read in Luke 3:19, 20:
    a. John is preaching.
    b. Herod is reproved by John.
    c. John is thrown in prison.
    d. Then Luke records the baptism of the Lord Jesus.
    Obviously these events are not in strict chronological order.

    In terms of arxomai (began) in Acts 11:15 once again we see that a word can have a more flexible meaning than the church of Christ will allow. Notice what the following Greek lexicons and dictionaries say about arxomai.
    a. Abbot-Smith: (a) absol.,...(b) relatively -> included is Acts 11:15 (A Manuel Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, arxe, page 62).
    b. Brown: It is often almost superfluous, and can be omitted in the Eng. translation without affecting the meaning (e.g. Matt. 4:17; 11:7, 20; 26:22; Mk. 6:7; Lk. 3:8; 15:14; Jn. 13:5; Acts 1:1; 11:4, 15) (NIDNTT 1:167, Beginning).
    c. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Often used also, not for the absolute beginning, but, relatively, for the starting-point of some important movement (1 John 2:7, 24; Acts 11:15; Philippians 4:15, Begin).

    The "Sunday punch" though is found in Acts 15 where Peter once again recounts the events that took place in Acts 10. In Acts 15:8 Peter states that these Gentiles were given the Holy Spirit but before they were given the Holy Spirit they heard the word of the gospel and believed (Acts 15:7).
    #1 Olivencia, Mar 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2009
  2. EdSutton

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    Jan 9, 2006
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    I believe that church of Christ is all wet. [​IMG]

    Sorry! That one was just TOO easy. :D

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