Strange Fire

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by The Biblicist, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.- Lev. 10:1

    This cannot be properly understood without understanding that when the tabernacle had been completed, God authenticated it by sending fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice upon the altar, which was a token of his acceptance of the Mosaic built "house of God" (tabernacle) of which he also immersed in the Shekinah glory once at its beginning authenticating that it had been all built in keeping with his revealed pattern.

    The fire that consumed the sacrifice was to be perpetuated on the altar as the priests were commanded to never allow it to die but to continually keep it burning.

    It was from this fire first kindled by God that coals were to be taken and placed in their censars while they performed the ministry in all three aspects of the house of God. It was from the censars that the fire for the candlestick and altar of incense were to be lit.

    "Strange fire" would have been fire that came from some other source than the fire God provided on the altar. There are many positive and negative symbolic inferences attached to the "fire" God provided and the "strange fire" provided by Nadab and Abihu.

    With regard to the fire kindled by God is the inference of divine origin as source. The divine purpose was identification authentication. Identification was with the brazen altar and its appropriate sacrifice. Of course this combination of altar and sacrifice represent the truth of the gospel or the requirements of God's law (His righteousness, His holiness) completely satisfied by the sacrificial substitutionary lamb of God. Every aspect of worship in the tabernacle had to identify with this fire from the altar, and thus the truth of the gospel. This is what Paul meant when he wrote the Corinthians and told them that he did not want to know anything but Christ and him crucified, as every aspect of the congregation, its nature, ordinances, ministry, worship and mission was to identify with the truth of the gospel. Any aspect that did not was offering up "strange fire." God is glorified through Christ in the church (Eph. 3:21) and whatever they were to say or do was to glorify Christ (1 Cor. 10:31).

    I suggest to you that so-called "houses of God" that are composed of infant membership are offering up strange fire. That sacramental congregations are offering up strange fire. That those who preach "another gospel" are offering up strange fire. That those who pervert the gospel symbol in baptism and in the Lord's Supper (sprinkling, pouring; sacramentalism) are offering up "strange fire."

    That initial and then perpetuated fire from God upon the altar also was divine authentication that the house of worship was built according to the divine pattern with its source and authority from God. The "strange fire" of Abihu and Nadab was self-originated, self-authenticated and self-authorized. Isaiah makes reference to such strange fire when he says:

    Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. – Isa. 50:11

    Worship is not all that it appears many times. For example the worship recorded in 1 Chronicles 13;1-8 has all the appearance of what many would accept as true and spiritual worship. By the time of David, the tabernacle coverings had rotted and the worship of Israel centered on the Ark of the Covenant. David was bringing the ark up to Jerusalem where his son would build a temple to house it. As all Israel were bringing the ark up to Jerusalem, spontaneous worship characterized the whole procession. There was singing and praising God accompanied by all sorts musical instruments. Without question there was a right motive and attitude behind this act of public worship including no doubt joyful and wonderful feelings invoked by the unity and spontaneity of the worship in their attempt to accomplish this for the glory of God. However, in 1 Chronicle 13:9-11 we find that God rejected their worship. Why? He rejected this worship because true public worship requires more than sincerity, spontaneity, praise, music, good feelings, and right intent to glorify God. All of these things are involved in true public worship but all these things must be based upon obedience to God’s revealed will (1 Chron. 15:13-16) or it ceases to be “acceptable” worship. Ponder this carefully with regard to what many consider to be “spiritual” public worship today. The appearance unto men is not necessarily how God views it. Here was "strange fire" being offered up to God that had all the appearance, feeling, sincerity of true worship but was rejected by God.
     
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  2. evangelist6589

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    This is a debate board are you preaching at us Biblicist?
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    No, just looking for reactions, positive or negative. I was hoping that someone else may have studied this a little more than I have and may have some commentary.
     
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  4. Marooncat79

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    Very very good IMO.

    Thanks for sharing

    The back bone of the regulative principle is mostly based upon Nadab and Abihu


    Unfortunately,

    Most churches practice the normative principle
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    I don't care for the philosophical categorizations. I have read those who oppose the regulative principle by using examples like church announcements claiming that such was contrary to the regulative principle while it supported the normative principle. The "strange fire" principle deals with that which contradicts God's revealed pattern of worship that can be defended in broader principles.
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    I don't know any 'houses of God' that are 'composed of infant membership.' I assume that you are taking another swipe at churches that practise infant baptism.

    Lev. 10:2 has been pressed into service to condemn all sorts of practices. I have heard it used to condemn those who sing hymns rather than the 'divinely-inspired' metrical Psalms.

    I think we all do well to cast the beam out of our own eyes rather than looking about for other churches' motes. We are all Baptists here; whom are you trying to convince? Are there not enough errors in Baptist churches to be going on with? Off to the Puritan Board with you if you want to make this argument and see how you get on there.
     
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  7. The Biblicist

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    Martin, as far as I am concerned you are anything but a Baptist in the Biblical sense of the word. For any Baptist to respond this way is a clear indication they don't belong among Baptists.
     
  8. Martin Marprelate

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    If to be a Baptist is to be in a cult- 'us four, no more, shut the door'- then you're right, I don't.
     
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  9. The Biblicist

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    You are completely ignorant if you think that cults are small. Roman Catholocism is nothing but a cult and so are her harlot daughters which you are ecclesiastilcally married to. The Lord Jesus does not share your majority view - Lk. 18:8. The Lord's churches will be in the diminishing minority in the last days and yes, they will be considered by the peadobaptists and their sympathizers (Rev. 18:4) as a cult. You dont' have to be lost or believe in a false gospel to be in the Revelation 18:4 cult. Because it is also an ecclesiastical cult while the Lord's true congregations are metaphorical chaste virgins (2 Cor. 11:2) and by definition a "virgin" is one that closed the door to all would be metaphorical ecclesiastical fornicators.
     
    #9 The Biblicist, Oct 14, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  10. Deacon

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    Perhaps you need to word this differently.
    As it is, the question would be, at what point in time is the "strange fire" made familiar?
    The fire in a new believer is the same Spirit as within more mature believers.

    Rob
     
  11. The Biblicist

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    The fire kindled by God was God's manifest approval that the "house of God" built by Moses was in keeping with the pattern provided by God. The phrase "the house of God" is found 87 times in the KVJ. In the first 84 occurrences refer to the public house of worship. In the Jewish mind the phrase "house of God" immediately brought to mind public worship in keeping with a divine pattern that included qualified sacrifices, a qualified ministry, and qualified ordinances. The 85th occurrence is found in 1 Timothy 3:15 in context of public worship with a qualified ministry (1 Tim. 3:1-13) with worship around a qualified sacrifice (1 Tim. 3:16]. I believe the New Testament congregation is the public house of worship built after a divine pattern, with qualified ministry, qualified ordinances and a qualified sacrifice for worship. Unbaptized congregations are "strange fire" as is infant baptism or deviations from the New Testament pattern for public worship.
     
  12. Deacon

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    Membership in a Baptism congregation generally requires a profession of belief and baptism (I think this is one of the defining principles of being a Baptist).

    What "qualifies" believers is our justification by faith. Before God We are seen as clean, qualified to be in God"s presence through Jesus' work of redemption.

    I don"t need any other standards of qualification - Christ has covered it all, we are approved - from the moment of our new birth.

    You wrote of this in the opening post - that's why I questioned this particular line in the post.

    Rob
     
  13. The Biblicist

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    Rob, this thread is not about salvation (although it is included as the proper pattern of gospel preaching) but the pattern of public worship that characterizes "the house of God." The "house" of God metaphor is applied to the New Testament congregation (1 cor. 3:9; 16; 1 Tim. 3:15) as well as the individual believer (1 Cor. 6:17-19). This thread is not speaking of the individual application but to the congregational application and the difference between the metaphorical "chaste virgin" condition of the congregation (2 Cor. 11:2) versus them metaphorical "harlot" condition whereby the metaphorical "chaste virgin" condition of a congregation has been "corrupted" (2 Cor 11: by false doctrine and practices (2 Cor. 11:4) thus "strange fire" perverting the apostolic pattern for public worship.

    The problem of your post is your failure to comprehend that the "temple" or "house of God" metaphor is applied to the New Testament congregation in addition to the individual believer. Your post is treating the metaphor as though the scripture confines it as a metaphor to the individual alone when it is equally applied to the congregation as the public house of worship with qualified ordinances, a qualified ministry and a qualified nature all in keeping with a New Testament pattern.
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    The New Testament calls the congregation where a qualified man is appointed as the overseer, (1 Tim. 3:1-13) "the house of God" (1 Tim. 3:16) because there is a discernible pattern for public worship provided in the New Testament for the people of God.

    1. There is a qualified place for public worship - 1 Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church....20 When ye come together therefore into one place.....22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God,

    2. There is a qualified Ministry - 1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-13

    3. There are qualified ordinances
    - (1) Baptism characterized by four essentials - Mt. 3:6-8; Lk. 7:29-30; Mt. 28:19; Acts 8:35-37; (2) Lord's Supper by three essentials - Mt. 26:12-30; 1 Cor. 5, 10, 11

    4. There are qualified members
    - characterized by two essentials - Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:40-41

    5. There is a qualified congregational government - characterized by three essentials - Mt. 18:17; Acts 1:15-26; 6:1-5; 15:1-3, 22

    6. There is a qualified disciplinary structure - Mt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Thes. 3:6-14

    7. There is a qualified principles for public worship that demands all things done decently and in order ruled by love and manifested in edification for the whole body without confusion - 1 Cor. 12-14

    8. There is a qualified structured threefold commission with a qualified gospel
    - Mt. 28:19-20; Rom. 3:24-4:25; Gal. 1:8-9

    These eight areas of qualifications constitute a New Testament pattern for public worship. That is why the New Testament congregation of Christ is called "the house of God" as the very phrase brought to the Jewish mind (Jewish Paul writing to a Jewish raised Timothy) a designated public place of worship where all aspects of public worship conform to a divine pattern (Deut. 12). Alterations and perversions from these qualified areas (the divine pattern) of public worship constitute "strange fire." Such deviations do not have their source with God or His Word.

    The congregations of paedobaptists are characterized by "strange fire" in almost every aspect of their public worship. Their ministry, their ordinances, the nature of their church governments, their membership, etc. Proving their SOURCE for public worship is not God or his Word. I did not say they were lost as individuals, nor did I say they did not have God as their source of salvation as individuals (except their infant/non-confirmed members). I am speaking of their pattern of public worship as professed houses of God. The essence of "landmarkism" was to distinguish the divine pattern for public worship which had its source with God and His Word from those paedobaptist deviations which were beginning to corrupt Baptist congregations. It began by inviting paedobaptists into the pulpit, then accepting their administration immersion, then opening up the communion table to such. Today, many Reformed Baptists accept sprinkled, poured or immersed into their membership - this is "strange fire."
     
    #14 The Biblicist, Oct 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  15. Aaron

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    Circumcision was the sign of identity for the Jews, not the fire, and infants were circumcised.
     
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  16. The Biblicist

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    No, the fire from heaven that kindled the wood on the altar once at beginning of each new house of God was the sign of God's approval that this new house was built according to the divine pattern God had provided for the builder (Moses, Solomon, Ezekiel, Christ).

    You are confusing individual identity with institutional identity.
     
  17. JonC

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    I'm not sure that I have adequately understood your statement here. It appears (to me) as if you are saying that a church does not exist except that it meet a specific church governance (i.e., there cannot be a church without a pastor; an orderly worship, etc.). Acts 14:23 seems to indicate the appointment of pastors to already existing churches. Also, Paul seems to be correcting legitimate churches when he gives those instructions in 1 Corinthians. So it certainly appears that in Scripture churches (true churches) existed outside of the specific church governance to which you ascribe. Unless, perhaps, your argument is that those earliest New Testament churches were something less than "true churches", perhaps the seeds that would later birth "true churches"?

    In Acts 14:23, Luke seems to be saying that Paul and Barnabas appointed elders to those churches (to the ἐκκλησία). First, this does not appear to be congregational rule (instead it looks as if Paul and Barnabas appointed elders). It also appears that Paul and Barnabas appointed elders to what already constituted a church (ἐκκλησία).
     
    #17 JonC, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  18. The Biblicist

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    Yes, you have not adequately understood me. I spoke of a pattern of qualifications. There is a pattern of qualifications set forth for ordaining a Bishop or deacons (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-13). A New Testament congregation has "strange fire" in its midst when for example, a woman is installed as Pastor. When any essential is changed so that it completely destroys that essential then a serious error is introduced that affects God's acceptance of that aspect, and which could leaven the whole if left unchecked. The strange fire in Leviticus did not make the tabernacle of God cease to be his house, but it had the potential to completely invalidate that house as His house. So true churches can have "strange fire" in their midst without ceasing to be at true congregation of Christ. True churches can exist without a Pastor (however, if they continue without leadership it could result in an apostate condition if given sufficient time).

    On the other hand, there are essentials for a group of people to even be recognized as a TRUE New Testament congregation, without which, they should not be even called a church of Christ.

    For example, in America, the Mason lodge is an assembly of professing believers in God who habitually assemble. If one believes the introduction in the front of the Masonic edition of the Bible, that Masonry is a "greater light" of truth than Christianity in this world, then it is no doubt pretending to be a religious institution in spite of its denial to the contrary. Although this is a regularly assembling body of professed believers in God it cannot be rightly called "the church of God."

    Just as one does not have to know ALL truth to be a Christian but must at least know gospel essentials to be recognized as a true Christian, so also, a body of believers do not have to. know ALL truth to be a true congregation of Christ, but they must know congregational essentials to be recognized as a true congregation of Christ.

    For example, where there is no scriptural profession of Christ and/or scriptural baptism that professes Christ there can be no true scriptural congregation of Christ. Scriptural baptism is the FIRST step of public service (Mt.3:15-17; Mt.28:19; Acts 2:40) and the congregation of Christ is about SERVICE not salvation. Where the first step of SERVICE does not exist neither does the true congregation of Christ.

    IF anyone disagrees then provide either precept or Biblical example to the contrary. If one removed all precepts and examples of the churches of Christ with their ministries, ordinances and mission from the pages of the NT there would be little NT scripture left. there is no shortage of examples if such an example of a congregation existed that consisted of members without scriptural gospel profession and/or scriptural baptism.

    Where sprinkled/poured and/or infants exist as materials for organization of an congregation there is no true New Testament congregation being organized. The congregation of Christ is not about BEING saved or BECOMING saved but is about PROPER SERVICE for saved people and the very first step of proper service is proper baptism.

    WHERE there is no biblical gospel profession of faith and/or no biblical gospel baptism there can be no true gospel congregation of Christ! There can be saved among them, but such cannot and should not be recognized as Christ's church.

    Scriptural congregations require scriptural qualified materials for their constitution. Infants and unbaptized believers do not provide the scriptural materials for constitution of a New Testatment congregation and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.
     
    #18 The Biblicist, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  19. Martin Marprelate

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    I find all this almost unbearably sad. :(
    "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35). The amount of vitriol coming off about the Lord's servants is truly distressing. In the same breath Biblicist calls paedobaptists 'saved' and 'harlot congregations' and compares them to Freemasons. On your own confession these are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Shame on you! 'What God has cleansed you must not call common.'

    'Strange Fire' is basically 'will worship'- when men deliberately reject God's ordinances and make for themselves new ones. The Church of Rome is one such example since they openly place their 'traditions' on the same level as the Bible. Liberal theology is 'will worship' when human reason is placed ahead of God's word. Many paedobaptist congregations fall into this category since they are indeed liberal in their theology, but so do many Baptist congregations also.

    Those who have had discussions with evangelical Paedobaptists will know that unlike Romanists and liberals they genuinely believe in Sola Scriptura. They will certainly defend their position from Scripture and do so vigorously. They are however, mistaken about the nature of the covenants. The error of some is more serious that that of others in that they believe in Presumptive Regeneration, that is that it may be 'presumed' that the children of believers are regenerate. I heard Joel Beeke say that he would rather be a Baptist than to believe that.

    We read in Ephesians 2:20-22 and 1 Peter 2:4-6 that the Church of Christ is composed of living stones, that is, believers in the Lord Jesus. Therefore, living stones belong in a church, and it is not for you to try and keep them out.

    I will take a little time to cover the practical benefits of fellowship with all Bible-believing congregations. An evangelical Congregational church at which I sometimes am invited to preach is now entirely credo-baptistic. It has become that way because of its fellowship with Reformed Baptist churches who have encouraged it in a baptistic direction. If those Baptist churches had spurned it, it would have been pushed back into its paedobaptist roots.
    An evangelical congregation within a very liberal Presbyterian denomination is about to leave and become an independent church. It has already ceased to 'baptize' infants, and once again this is because Baptist churches have shown it fellowship and encouraged it on its way to independence.

    My church also has close fellowship with a large (by UK standards) evangelical Anglican church. In doing so we are by no means acknowledging its Bishop, or other liberal or Anglo-Catholic congregations in the area. This church is likely to be leaving the Church of England within the next 18 months or so as will several others throughout Britain. Many of them will remain Episcopalian, but this one will probably become independent. It is already baptizing believers by immersion. Although whilst it remains within the C of E it is bound by Canon Law to offer 'baptism' to the children of anyone who has been 'baptized' themselves, as and when it departs it will almost certainly become credo-baptistic. Once again, the fellowship and encouragement of Baptist churches will have had a beneficial effect.

    Whilst we can have no fellowship with churches that deny the Gospel, we can and must have fellowship with those congregations that are Bible-believing. We shall have to get on with them all through eternity so we might as well get used to it now.
     
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  20. TCassidy

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    How much error is necessary before you would call an erring brother "wrong?"

    Rat poison is mostly good wholesome corn. The actual poison is only about 1% of the total.

    Would 1% heresy be enough to criticize an erring brother?
     

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