What Is the Good NewsJohn Collins1/18/2014 7:44:26 AMWHAT IS THE GOOD NEWS?
Expanding on my last post.
Everyone who starts untangling the scriptures from Branham's mess go all directions depending on what they've understood. (Everyone has a different understanding after trying to make the scriptures align with the tapes -- because you can't.)
There are two things that you must understand. Both of them reconcile the issues you have with Paul, but I promise you: these things will take you quite some time to untangle and fully start to make sense.
I advise a group bible study -- from any church that has not also been infected by the Pentecostal movement. No matter what they believe in doctrine, most Christians fully understand these two points, and can explain them to you no matter how long it takes. Some get it quickly, but others take time.
First, you must understand the word "Gospel." What I posted previously is an overview with all of the background that we missed by Branham's diversion. But that is not "the Gospel," but rather, the reason for "The Gospel."
The word "Gospel" simply means "The Good News." To the Jews (those that Jesus spoke to in the four "gospels," they fully understood the history. They were living under the curse. They were under Roman invasion, which was part of the curse, and all Jews were seeking a Messiah. But not one that would deliver them from the curse -- they wanted a war hero to deliver them from Roman rule. The Messiah was proclaimed in the temples, but as a future event. Even in Samaria, and fully severed from Jerusalem, they were looking for the Messiah to come and drive the invaders from the land before their "holy hill" was compromised.
Paul, to the Hebrews (in the book of Hebrews), did not need to proclaim the history that setup a situation requiring the Messiah. Paul proclaimed the Good News that the Messiah came. That there was no earthly high priests, we have a new High Priest. That there was no longer law, no longer curse of the Law, but Jesus paid the penalty. Jesus lifted the curses. Paul, to the Hebrews, proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News that the Curse was lifted.
Paul, to the Romans, proclaimed the same Gospel. But they were not under Jewish custom. They had no understanding of the reason to even need a Savior. But the Good News did not stop with the Jews -- Under the New Covenant of Grace, the Gentiles were now included.
To the Corinthians, Galatians, Thessalonians, and more, Paul entered the temples of Baal, and proclaimed a risen Savior. We forget what, exactly, he proclaimed, however, because we were taught falsely with regards to my point #2, which I will explain later. Paul proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- same as to the Romans. Paul entered the cities as he travelled through what would later become the seven churches of Asia Minor, and delivered the Good News that Gentiles were now under the New Covenant of Grace by simply believing in Jesus Christ. What is believing in Jesus Christ? Believing in the Gospel. Believing in the Good News. Believing that these things happened, and that the curse was lifted. Believing that because he rose, we also can rise with Him.
My point #2 is more complex.
We were taught the Bible as though it were a "book of spells or enchantment." Single verses to "take a little context." We were taught to battle each other with scriptures, taking a verse alone as the power behind our statements. This evil runs rampant throughout the churches infected by the Pentecostal movement. It is called "the twisted scriptures," and there is a book with that title that I highly recommend.
There were no printing presses until around the time of Luther. There were no computers, word processors, or even standardized paper.
The history of the scrolls should be enough to make any Christian's faith in God soar through the clouds. It is near to impossible to even imagine this Word being protected throughout the ages.
The Bible was handed down, from generation to generation, through both oral (spoken) and written scrolls. There were families of scrolls that descended through time, each copied, recopied, and recopied again over and over and over. There were not men to "spell check," "grammar check" or even "content check" the accuracy between families. And men, traveling with oral histories would give accounts that would become part of the scrolls.
Their purpose was not to create numbered verses. This history is fundamental. We were trained to believe that each sentence was true power! Each sentence was Divinely Inspired, and we could smack each other in the head with it to knock some religion into each other! The funny part is that we were also trained to believe that the KJV was the only accurate sentences, while it was a result of progression through time, combined from several mis-matching scrolls. They kept common passages, and omitted conflicting passages.
You may find passages that seem to conflict. Voice of God Recordings pointed several of them out in their strategy to throw a diversion to the errors in Branham's ministry. But while Branham's version of his stories were his own and should have matched, the Bible is quite different. Each statement seen as a conflict could have had a hundred different causes. Some because they were handed down through oral tradition, in the same manner as portions of the Gospel according to Luke. Other possibilities include the invasion of Gnosticism (what I believe to be the foundation to modern Pentecostalism). Gnostics heavily altered the scrolls to include signs and wonders, numerologies, and more. With scrolls made inaccurate, combined with families of scrolls that did not match, combined with the limited number of scrolls at the time of the King James translation, it is possible that what seems like "additions" or "new doctrines" or "conflicts" were not found common among all scrolls.
The ESV (English Standard Version) was a rework, going back to the original sets of scrolls rather than a translation of the KJV as some of the other newer translations are. There are thousands more scrolls available than during the time of the KJV translation, and they are finding complete passages of scriptures that were not common among most of the original scrolls. The "snake handling passage", for instance, was not common. The ESV takes passages in question out of the main body of text, and footnotes it so that you have access to what was thought to be common and is no longer found accurate.
I mentioned the Gospel according to Luke. Luke was a close friend to Paul, and was not around during the time of Jesus. His Gospel is the only one you will find that is chronological. Luke went to great lengths to combine written Gospels and oral tradition into the text. There are words in the Gospel according to Luke that are not in the other Gospels. That is because there were so many things that Christ did and said that it would fill a thousand books! Luke did his best to condense it, and include the stories that he felt were greatly important to the early Church. Ultimately, his writings were important to all of us.
But again, this history only gives you the "potions." The original bible was not a single book, not divided into chapters, lines, or verses. They were scrolls, without even punctuation.
Take this post, for example. I am relaying an overall concept to you. I would not expect you to take this "passage":
"Luke was a close friend to Paul, and was not around during the time of Jesus."
And try to interpret it as a single sentence. Was Luke a greater friend to Paul than Timothy? Since he was not around at the time of Jesus, should we throw out his Gospel? Did he even know the Gospel? Can we trust it since he was not around? Should we omit the passages that are not found in the other Gospels?
I am relaying to you the overall history of the scrolls, and the history behind the spreading of the Gospel. I am giving you the reason for the Good News.
The Apostle Paul did the same for the original three Gospels, matching the Gospel according to Luke. He spread the Good News that these things took place, and that the Curse was lifted. He spread the Good News that Jew and Gentile alike were part of the New Covenant.
But mankind has turned his "Gospel" into another set of law and rules. While Paul has entire passages describing the removal of law, we constantly turn his single sentences into new laws.
Paul said, "ALL things are lawful, but not all things are helpful."
And yet the Pentecostal movement took the hair passage, and made a new law from it! There isn't a single place in the Bible that mentions this as a law, and it wasn't even in the Law of Moses.
But Paul was preaching to Corinth. It was a city where women wore their hair up in buns with bobby pins, much like the Pentecostals, and let their hair down in temple worship. When they "uncovered their head," worshipping under the god Dionysus, they would start screaming like banshees and go ripping flesh off of animals. "Let your women keep silent in the churches!"
Paul did give several instructions to the church, and those instructions were important in establishing a worship that separated themselves from Pagan influence. They were living at a time when elemental spirits were empowered, and those forms of worship that gave them power were being trampled by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
His instructions to the church are important, but also culturally motivated. We do not have Maenads in our world today, who rip the flesh from humans. We do not have human sacrifice, temple prostitution, and more.
Instead, we are the Body of Christ, from all different denominations. We cannot despise the foot because we think our "hand" is more valuable. Historically speaking, we cannot despise Paul's message to the churches, because we think it is not applicable. Had Paul not spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this website would not exist.
But before you can understand that last sentence, you must realize what, exactly, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul's "Gospel" is not only the same as "Jesus's Gospel" ... it IS Jesus's Gospel.
And it is in direct conflict with "Branham's gospel of divine healing."