Exposed By Inconsistency

  • By Pastor Boffey
  • on Thursday, May 26, 2016
(1 Corinthians 15:12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29) Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? Our texts today are from the chapter of the Bible which gives the greatest detail about the resurrection. The Corinthian church had heresies afoot (1CO 11:18-19) and one of the telltale marks of heresy is that it tends to cross itself. It has internal contradictions. The Corinthians had received the gospel of the resurrection at the beginning (1CO 15:1-6) and it was still their stance (wherein ye stand, 1CO 15:1). But though they had believed in the resurrection (1CO 15:11) and been baptized accordingly, some had developed obvious inconsistencies. “You can't say that you believe the gospel of the resurrection of Jesus Christ if you also believe there is no resurrection of the dead.” And, “There's no point in being baptized for the dead if you don't believe the dead rise.” (For an interesting take on 1CO 15:29, please see the meditation, For The Dead) In the Old Testament we read of others who were not simply halting between two opinions (1KI 18:21) but were holding two opposing opinions as compatible. After the northern kingdom of Israel was overcome, dispersed and the demographics changed by an influx of unbelieving immigrants (2KI 17:23-24), they were taught “...how they should fear the LORD” (2KI 17:28). The record goes on to say that they feared the LORD (Who despises and forbids graven images), and served their graven images (2KI 17:41). Similarly, we read in ZEP 1:5 of those that swear by the LORD (Who forbids false gods and false swearing), and that swear by Malcham (a false god). Publisher Ted Byfield once noted, “To hold a thing as true while simultaneously holding something completely contradictory as equally true is not being tolerant; it is being idiotic.” The truth of the gospel alone is enough to make a believer a spectacle and a fool to this world (1CO 4:9-10). We need not give the world occasion to legitimately scorn us because of foolish doctrinal inconsistencies. The truth of the Scripture reflects the nature of the true God “...with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (JAM 1:17). Truth is not self-contradicting but this cannot be said for some positions of professing Christians. A famous modern American preacher and televangelist publicly declared, “As long as America supports (the modern political State of) Israel with our resources and policy, America will be accordingly blessed as a nation” (paraphrased). But the same fellow also lamented at the time that for fifty or sixty years (the same time period during which America was blessing Israel with foreign aid, military equipment, technology and political support), America had been in a moral downhill slide and under the judgment of Almighty God. Blessing or judgment: which is it? This is very confusing and “...God is not the author of confusion...” (1CO 14:33). If this preacher had accepted the testimony of Holy Scripture that the true Israel of God are not the children of the flesh, but have always been the elect children of the promise of grace (ROM 9:6-16) who belong to Jesus Christ regardless of nation or race (ROM 9:22-24 c/w GAL 3:28-29), then he might have realized that the proper way to bless God's Israel is to bless Christians instead of antichrists (Remember, he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ is an antichrist, 1JO 2:22). A prophet once rebuked a respectable king of Judah, “...Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD?...” (2CH 19:2). Perhaps that would have been an appropriate question for that preacher. By reconciling his doctrine, the moral slide of America might not have stopped but the cognitive dissonance of a self-contradicting position would have stopped and, accordingly, occasion for unbelievers to mock Christ and His followers would have been reduced. Another famous modern Christian leader who focuses on family issues has stated with legitimate concern that New Age religion is nothing but a modern version of ancient pagan beliefs and practices and is a dangerous contaminant of Christian faith. Yet this same fellow also has openly promoted the observance of Christmas and Easter which are acknowledged by both secular and Christian sources as being a synthesis of Christian faith with ancient pagan beliefs and practices. Dangerous contaminant or delightful condiment: which is it? This is very confusing and “...God is not the author of confusion...” (1CO 14:33). God has expressly stated in both Testaments that His people should not imitate nor mingle His religion with that of the pagans/heathen (DEU 12:30-32; JER 10:1-5 c/w MAT 6:7; 2CO 6:14-18). Furthermore, Scripture makes clear that pagan religion is the worship of devils (1CO 10:20-21), and that adopting its elements in the name of the Lord can never make such a mixture acceptable to Him (EXO 32:1-6 c/w 1CO 10:5-7). Sometimes ministries need to have a sharper focus on the gospel than on family. Sadly, examples like these are not uncommon and some professing Christians actually prefer the inconsistencies to the hard-nosed consistent truth which might alienate friends, family or supporters. A major reason for accepting incompatible positions as equal is that there is something in that system which appeals to the flesh: it feels good, it is popular, it reduces persecution, etc. But Christianity is not defined by those measures: Jesus Christ showed us that by His own example. Also, as tough as it is to accept, “...the love of money is the root of all evil...” (1TI 6:10) and consistent truth tends to drive away financial support because it “thins the herd” of professing disciples (JOH 6:61-66). The dollars coming in to support one's doctrinally consistent ministry might dry up but “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (PRO 16:8). Believers should be willing to examine their beliefs for inconsistencies and welcome such examination from others who see those inconsistencies. Upon exposure, inquiry should be made to identify the root cause of the inconsistency and necessary changes made to bring all of our thinking into accord with the truth of the gospel. This is not an easy task but our fidelity to Jesus Christ and our testimony to an unbelieving world depend on it.

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