WHAT IS BULLINGERISM?
This Is a Special Message to the Editor of the Monthly
Paper of the I.F.C.A., “THE VOICE”
To the President of the I.F.C.A.
and Other Interested Persons
A REPLY TO THE FALSE CHARGES AGAINST THE “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP” IN “THE VOICE” OF OCTOBER, 1947
Just this past week three quite interesting messages were brought to my attention.
One was the article in the monthly religious magazine of the I.F.C.A. “THE VOICE” (October Number) written by “RELIGION ANALYSIS SERVICE” of Minneapolis, entitled “BULLINGERISTIC ULTRA-DISPENSATIONALISM.” In no uncertain language the writers of the article “VOICED” their most hearty condemnation, if not their utter contempt, for certain unscriptural doctrines that are being propagated by “ultradispensationalists,” such doctrines as teaching that the “ONE BODY” (the Church) mentioned in Ephesians 4:4 did not have its historic beginning until after Acts 28; that Paul did not receive the revelation of the MYSTERY until he became the Lord’s prisoner in Rome after Acts 28; that members of the Body of Christ are not to be regulated by the teachings of Paul in his first six Epistles written before Acts 28; that the dead, both saints and sinners, are unconscious between death and resurrection; that the FOUR GOSPELS were written to Jews and have no message for members of the Body of Christ; that the wicked, unsaved will either be annihilated or, according to “UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION,” they will have another chance after death, and all, even fallen angels, will be saved. All of this teaching is included in either “BULLINGERISM” or “UNIVERSALISM.”
With the subtilty of the serpent, against which Christians are warned in II Corinthians 11:1 to 3, the writers of the article brought in the name of the “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP” and one of my printed messages entitled “THE MOST WONDERFUL TRUTH IN THE BIBLE,” and with the trick of Satan they intimated that the members of this “FELLOWSHIP” and my book endorsed or condoned the obnoxious, unscriptural doctrines which they exposed. Every member of the “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP” is uncompromisingly and aggressively opposed to every one of these fallacies. This the writers could easily have learned by sending for the doctrinal statement of “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP,” had they been honest and just. But reading between the lines any one should be able to learn that they so cherish their water ceremony, which the members of “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP” do not practice, they find it almost impossible to be honest, just or tolerant. If members of “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP” believed and practiced the “watery grave witness” theory of the zealous immersionists, their names never would have been mentioned in this article of false charges.
One difference between the article in “THE VOICE” and my book “THE MOST WONDERFUL TRUTH,” is, that I am as heartily opposed to every fallacy mentioned, which they condemn but I give the Scriptural answer; and they do not. I believe there are at least a few members of the I.F.C.A. who will be honest and just and fair enough to demand that the editor of “THE VOICE” and the president of the I.F.C.A. write, in “THE VOICE,” an apology for the false charges brought by men who are either utterly dishonest, or grossly ignorant. I am sure that the editor and the president know positively that we are against every false doctrine mentioned above; and therefore, if they take no action to rectify the spiritual crime, they are accessories to it.
SOME DISPENSATIONAL DIFFERENCES
The members of our “FELLOWSHIP,” do not believe that “THE CHURCH OF THE MYSTERY,” “THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY,” began with TWELVE apostles standing up on a Jewish feast-day addressing “all the house of Israel” (Acts 2:14, Acts 2:5 and 36); for the “MYSTERY” is “THE MYSTERY AMONG THE GENTILES” (Colossians 1:27), “THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST AMONG THE GENTILES” (Ephesians 3:8) “not made known to ages and generations.” (Colossians 1:25 and 26). We do most certainly believe and teach in all our pulpits and in our “MILWAUKEE BIBLE INSTITUTE” that the present dispensation of grace, and the Body of Christ began before Paul wrote his first Epistle, I Thessalonians. We dogmatically teach that the Body of I Corinthians 12:13, Romans 12:4 and 5, is the “ONE BODY” of Ephesians 4:4: and therefore, we most certainly believe and teach that the risen Christ revealed “THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST” before Paul reached Rome, as is clearly taught in Romans 16:25 and 26, I Corinthians 2:6 and 7, Romans 8:28 to 31, Romans 11:30 to 33. We take a positive stand against the “ultra-dispensationalism” of Dr. Bullinger and his present-day disciples. Moreover I know of no group of Christians more firmly and aggressively against the pernicious doctrine of “universal reconciliation” or the pagan doctrine of “soul-sleep,” “soul annihilation,” or “the final annihilation of the unsaved” than are members of the “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP,” including this writer.
We sincerely believe and dogmatically teach that RECONCILIATION was sent to Gentiles for two reasons . . . Because Christ died on the cross to RECONCILE sinners (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:20 and 21); and also because and when Israel was cast away. (Romans 11:15). We believe and teach that SALVATION was sent to Gentiles because of the truth of John 3:16; and because of Israel’s FALL. (Romans 11:11). We believe and teach that the Gentiles were made RICH for two reasons: Because the RICH Christ became poor (II Corinthians 8:9) and because of the “DIMINISHING” of Israel. (Romans 11:12). We believe that for two reasons the Gentiles obtained mercy: Because Christ on the cross was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:1 and 2); and because of Israel’s “UNBELIEF.” (Romans 11:30). Do you believe that Romans 11:31 was true on Pentecost; that the Jews obtained mercy because of the Gentiles’ mercy? Did not “the archbishop of fundamentalism” write the truth when, in his “ROMANS,” commenting on Romans 16:25 and 26, he said, that the dispensation of the mystery did not begin until Israel had been given every opportunity to reject Christ both in incarnation and in resurrection? Then, said he, God brought forth His hidden, unrevealed, before-the-world, unprophesied purpose through the apostle of the new dispensation, Paul. Note his words, “Paul, ‘the apostle of the “new” dispensation’.” This is what we teach.
Are we to be maligned and falsely accused and viciously denounced as heretics because we agree with Dr. William Pettingill, Dr. James M. Gray and Mr. John Darby that no one can prove by the Book of Acts that the commission of Matthew 28:19 and 20 was carried out? Did not the TWELVE remain in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1; Acts 15:1 to 6; Galatians 2:1 to 11)? Did not Peter say, some seven years after Christ gave the commission of Matthew 28:19 and 20, that it was not lawful to go to Gentiles? After Peter’s one mouth (Acts 15:7) preached to the household of Cornelius and Peter rehearsed at the Jerusalem Council that ministry, did not Peter and his fellow-apostles agree to go to the Jews; and then did not Peter, on account of James and others, refuse to eat with Christian Gentiles (Galatians 2:9 to 12)? Pray tell, how could Peter and the Eleven have discipled all nations, preaching the gospel to every creature under heaven, during the Acts period, when they remained in the land of the Jews, preaching to Jews? Where, in Acts, is the record that the Twelve preached outside their own land? Must we be bluffed into the utter inconsistencies and confusion of other Fundamentalists by the cry of “Bulleringerism,” which has become their “scarecrow” to keep Christians ignorant of the most wonderful truth in the Bible? What meaning is there for these brethren in I Corinthians 3:10? Certainly you know how they have twisted, revised and abridged Mark 16:16 to 18 until they have taken away the meaning of that commission given by the risen Christ, preaching, “he that believeth and is saved shall witness that salvation by a watery burial and forget all the signs except the ‘water’ sign.” Is not that handling the Word of God either ignorantly or deceitfully? Have they not done the same thing in wresting the meaning of Acts 2:38, because they usher in the dispensation of the grace of God for Gentiles with that message, and have revamped Acts 2:38 and Acts 8:5 to 15 and Acts 19:2 to 6 beyond recognition?
Because the “SNAKE-HUGGING,” wild fanatics agree with the I.F.C.A. that this present “grace” dispensation for Gentiles began with Pentecost and that God’s spiritual program for this age is in Mark 16:16 to 18, Acts 2:38 and throughout the Book of Acts, and because they agree with “the archbishop of fundamentalism” that there is not even a “transition period” in the Book of Acts, are the members of the I.F.C.A. responsible for the disgraceful, satanic fanaticism now going on all over the country in the name of “Fundamentalism”?
I would like to meet the committee that make up the “RELIGION ANALYSIS SERVICE” in the presence of some honest, unprejudiced, intelligent, spiritual students of the Scriptures, not only to convince the witnesses of their malicious falsehoods, but to prove that their teaching is far more responsible for the disgraceful program of the “poison-drinkers” than our teaching is responsible for the fallacies condemned in their articles. Don’t blame the Pentecostalists for their wild fanaticism when Fundamentalists preach Mark 16:16 to 18 as God’s orders for the program of grace for Gentiles and their “biggest” “archbishop” says, “no transition in the Book of Acts.”
THE SECOND INTERESTING MESSAGE RECEIVED
I mentioned the fact that I received three quite interesting messages, all within the last week. The first was “THE VOICE” article. The second message was from a very fine spiritual gentleman who attends a church, whose pastor is affiliated with the Conservative Baptists. One of the pastor’s friends explained to the gentleman that one reason why his pastor and others preferred the name “Conservative Baptists” to “Fundamentalists” is because of the awful, disgraceful things that are being taught and practiced by the “poison-drinking,” “snakefondling,” fanatical Pentecostalists, who call themselves “Fundamentalists.” So they changed their name. But the gentleman remarked: “they did not help the fanatical Pentecostalists by changing their name: they should have changed their message (their dispensationalism).”
Some several years ago I was holding meetings in Minneapolis immediately following a religious campaign in that city under the leadership and preaching of a “healing” Pentecostalist, in which campaign many choice saints had been led not only into the preacher’s unscriptural “healing” heresy, but into other delusions. When I presented the Scriptural answer to that “healing” heresy I taught that which has been taught for twenty-five years in a pamphlet published and distributed by Moody Bible Institute, entitled “SIGNS . . . TONGUES . . . VISIONS NOT GOD’S ORDER FOR TODAY,” emphasizing two or three statements in that pamphlet, endorsed without reservation by Dr. C. I. Scofield. In that pamphlet the writer stated that the signgifts of I Corinthians 12:8 to 11 were operative “ONLY DURING THE ACTS PERIOD”; that every attempt to bring these sign-gifts, miracles, tongues and healing into this present dispensation will result in disgrace and disaster. Then the writer asked this question, “is it the Holy Spirit or Satan who turns the eyes of sincere Christians back to Pentecost rather than forward to the “Prison” Epistles of Paul, in which Epistles we find the “NORMAL COURSE OF THE CHURCH FOR THIS AGE?” Again the writer stated, “with the close of the Book of Acts God brought forth for the Church a ‘NEW ORDER’.”
Many of the deceived people in Minneapolis were delivered from their “healing” fanaticism; but person after person said, “we believe that the Pastor of ‘THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH’ of this city, an outstanding leader among Fundamentalists, is responsible for this ‘fanaticism,’ because he for a number of years has turned over his ‘church’ auditorium to an elderly gentleman to bless handkerchiefs for the healing of the sick, quoting Acts 19:11 and 12.” We made it so hot for this dear pastor that he told the elder he must stop; but the pastor said to me, “I am putting out of our church one of the choicest ministries we have had.” This man of God is at the head of one of the “SOUND INSTITUTIONS” referred to in an article in the October issue of “THE VOICE,” headed “ULTRA-DISPENSATIONALISM.” By reading that printed article you will see that the Moody Bible Institute pamphlet would fall under “ultra-dispensationalism.” And by the way, it is reported that a Christian brother, who uses the oil bottle for anointing, is now in charge of the printing and sale of the books at Moody and he has ordered that that pamphlet be hidden and not put where it can be seen, and sold only on urgent request. One of the employees told me this is true. We dare the Minneapolis agents of I.F.C.A. to write an article against Moody Bible Institute and Dr. Scofield for teaching in this pamphlet exactly what is taught by “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP.”
THE THIRD INTERESTING MESSAGE RECEIVED
Right after I had received the first and second messages referred to, and all three messages in the same week, I received from a Christian brother, who lives near the Kentucky border, a letter in which he enclosed a newspaper clipping setting forth the inability of the officers of the law to cope with the wild fanatics in his section who use the same Scriptures offered by members of the I.F.C.A. as God’s program for today to prove that snakes with their poison can not harm real believers ( Mark 16:16 to 18).
Are there not members of the I.F.C.A. and many outstanding Fundamentalists in this country who teach that the signs of Mark 16:17 and 18 and the sign-gifts of I Corinthians 12:8 to 11 (which God put in the Church; I Corinthians 12:28) would be exercised by members of the Body of Christ today, if these members were as faithful as those first century Christians? We wonder if they have done much thinking? Have they considered how spiritual were the Corinthians who exercised those gifts? “CARNAL” does not mean “SPIRITUAL.” (I Corinthians 3:1 to 4; I Corinthians 6:6 to 9).
The Pentecostalists say to the other Fundamentalists, “if we are working under Mark 16:16 to 18, let’s seek and find the power of the Holy Spirit to practice what we preach.”
Be it said for the Pentecostalists they do not twist and abridge and revise Mark 16:16 to 18 as do the I.F.C.A. preachers, who preach, what Mark 16:16 to 18 does not say, “he that believeth and is saved is to be baptized as a witness to the world, and forget the signs of Mark 16:17 and 18.” Neither do they wrest Acts 2:38 to mean exactly what it does not mean, as do the I.F.C.A. preachers. The brother who wrote the letter attends a church where the people and the pastor (recently resigned) believe and teach what is taught in the I.F.C.A. churches. In his letter he wants to know why these preachers cannot see that the only sound Scriptural answer to the teachings of the fanatical Pentecostalists must necessarily rule out water from God’s spiritual program of today; for in every Scripture where water baptism is mentioned we find signs, miracles, tongues or some other Jewish ordinance, feast day or ceremony. Signs, tongues, visions, angelical visitations, miraculous jail-deliverances and other miracles are linked with water baptism and surely any intelligent exegesis that will eliminate the one will eliminate the other. The pastor of the Minneapolis “FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH” was very consistent in permitting his fellow-saint to bless handkerchiefs for healing in his building as long as he had a baptistery in that building, for he knows, and you know, that in the nineteenth chapter of Acts we have the last record of a water ceremony: and note the order, “water baptism,” “imposition of hands,” “Holy Spirit baptism,” “speaking with tongues” . . . then healing with aprons and handkerchiefs. Is not this the Pentecostalists’ program?
When did the Lord Jesus rescind His order in Matthew 10:7 to 9, “RAISE THE DEAD”? Do I not have the same right to put my hands on a man and raise him from the dead as do you to put your hands on a believer and bury his old (dead) man? And surely you know that never once by statement, suggestion or hint are “water baptism” and “the Lord’s Supper” called “church ordinances” or are they in any way linked together. This writer heartily agrees with you that neither Dr. Bullinger nor any other person has offered any Scriptural proof that this MEMORIAL is not compatible with God’s message and program of grace.
DOES WATER BAPTISM MAKE CHRISTIANS SPIRITUAL?
All of this falsifying and vicious hatred is because the brethren who are affiliated with “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP” will not read a “religious cemetery” into Romans 6:4 and join with the zealous immersionists in teaching that the believer’s “old man,” having died, should be buried in some water. When asked where the “new man” is while the “old man” is being buried, to say the least they become provoked: but no Scriptural answer. It seems that no man would have to be very intelligent to learn by the language of Romans Six that the Holy Spirit was in no way referring to water. These “watery grave” Fundamentalists put the emphasis on the wrong “THEREFORE” for the believer’s witness that he has been baptized into Christ and raised to walk in newness of life. A watery grave, in which the believer is immersed, will not convince his fellow-man that he is a new creature in Christ Jesus. This witness and evidence is the “THEREFORE” of Colossians 3:5 and 6 and not the “THEREFORE” of Romans 6:4. The “THEREFORE” of Romans 6:4 is proof that the believer was buried by baptism at the very same moment his death and resurrection took place, when he received Christ and Christ’s THIRD baptism. (Luke 12:50). I quote from the “BAPTISM” pamphlet of the “archbishop of fundamentalism.”
“It is not, of course, that the unimmersed are not buried with Christ, if believers. All such have died with Him, been buried with Him and raised with Him.” So without any watery grave immersion we all believe that every sprinkled, saved Lutheran and Presbyterian has been buried by baptism.
Of course, you say that “the archbishop,” in the statement we have quoted contradicts several very plain statements he makes concerning water baptism, in the same pamphlet and in others of his writings. But by this time we should all know that he has won first prize for contradictions in his writings. In his book, “WRONGLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF GOD,” he has more than twenty plain contradictions of statements he has printed in his other books; and I have a letter from him stating that he still believes what he has written in these other books. We refer to this because in the article printed in “THE VOICE,” which we are answering, the writers quote these words from “the archbishop’s” “Wrongly Dividing”; “we have no objection to the term ‘transition period’ (in the Book of Acts), if it be understood that the transition was in the minds of men and not in the mind of God.” First, I feel quite sure that not one member of the I.F.C.A. agrees with this statement. And most assuredly “the archbishop” does not agree with himself: for commenting on Romans 16:25 and 26 (his book “ROMANS”), he stated that this dispensation (of the mystery) did not begin until Israel had rejected Christ both in incarnation and in resurrection. If the dispensation in which we live did not begin until after Israel had “every opportunity” to receive Christ after Christ was raised from the dead, how could it possibly be true, as this same writer stated in “WRONGLY DIVIDING,” that the setting aside of Israel until after the rapture of the Church took place when Christ uttered His words in Matthew 23:38? You can see the utter confusion in the mind of this man of God who once, as Moses saw over into the promised land, got a glimpse of “THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST,” then he counted the cost, turned away from it, and today he is the greatest individual stumblingblock and hindrance in this country to the recovery of that truth that he has called “THE PRECIOUS GEM.”
He knows full well of his many contradictions and we may be sure that he is certainly not happy about it. Again in “THE VOICE” article this same writer is quoted from his “Wrongly Dividing”: “they (referring to brethren who teach “no water”) are perfectly hydrophobic as to this. The very thought of water sets them foaming with indignation.” Now, you be the judge, “was not ‘the archbishop’ foaming with indignation when he made this false charge?”
We are determined that in this dispensation and age of grace we will not take away the offense of the cross by preaching water baptism, as brethren in Paul’s day took it away by adding circumcision to the perfect work of Christ. We agree with the statement of “the archbishop” that unimmersed believers have been buried with Christ and that without water. But we most heartily disagree with this confused brother that there is water in Ephesians 4:5. It is pitiable to hear this preacher at one of his baptismal services in his twisting of verses on baptism which is more of an apology for what he is doing than Scriptural authority. And little wonder, for in his “BAPTISM” book he stated that water baptism is a “kingdom” ordinance rather than a “church” ordinance. I have printed in one of my recent books an examination of all of his teachings on water baptism. If you will read this book you will learn that this brother does not know what he believes concerning water baptism any more than he knows what he believes concerning “THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY.” This I have proved in the book, “THE LOST PRECIOUS GEM,” which I mailed to members of the I.F.C.A.
I was for several years well acquainted with the editor of “THE VOICE.” He and I formerly enjoyed some hours, days and weeks of sweet Christian fellowship. I have a letter from this man of God in which he wrote, “my brother, humanly speaking, there would not be a Gospel Center in St. Louis, if it had not been for you.” I wish you I.F.C.A members knew the awful “mess” that Center was in when I went there for my first year and that year spent nineteen weeks. No one ever ridiculed water baptism as did that editor. No one ever tried to divide churches as that brother did in St. Louis. I thank God for his loyalty to Christ and for his stand for the great fundamentals of the Bible. That dear brother knows perfectly well that no member of the GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP believes one single heresy mentioned in this article in “THE VOICE.” He and Pastor Wm. McCarrell know what we believe and teach and they know that we are uncompromisingly opposed to the dispensationalism of Dr. E. W. Bullinger, in any form, and more heartily opposed to his pagan doctrine of “the unconscious state of believer or unbeliever between death and resurrection.” We not only are dogmatically and uncompromisingly against any and every form of Universalism or Universal Reconciliation, but we are constantly exposing this pernicious teaching and warning Christians of its dangers. We have taken a positive stand against all extreme dispensationalists, who teach that the “dispensation of grace,” “the dispensation of the mystery” and the Body of Christ did not begin until after Acts 28.
Water baptism not only set the secret committee of “Religion Analysis Service” (you cannot blame them for being ashamed to sign their names) to foaming with indignation, but set them to outright lying. Again I say, I wonder if there are not some honest, just and gracious members of I.F.C.A. who will enter your protests to the editor of “THE VOICE” and the president of the I.F.C.A. for permitting false charges which they well knew were false when they were printed.
Do you really believe that water baptism made members of the Committee of “Religion Analysis Service” spiritual or gracious or proved that their old man was dead and buried? I am making this reply, not only because I am a member of the “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP,” but am the author of the book referred to in “THE VOICE” article, “THE MOST WONDERFUL TRUTH IN THE BIBLE.” Any intelligent, honest man who will read that book will learn that I condemn in no uncertain language every doctrine condemned in “THE VOICE” except the teaching that the so-called great commission is the commission under which God’s “grace” program is being carried on. We would expect such tactics from gangsters but not from Christians. What think you? Should Mr. Bottorff and Mr. McCarrell and others apologize in “THE VOICE” or by their silence sanction the subtilty and lies of Satan?
Why cannot members of the I.F.C.A. be just and honorable and gracious, especially when they teach that water will not help to save any one, will not help to get them into the Body of Christ or into heaven, and say to members of “GRACE GOSPEL FELLOWSHIP,” we do not believe as you do concerning “water baptism,” although many of us do believe that the “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 is not water, and we will enjoy Christian fellowship with one another, because we all believe the same concerning the perfect redemptive work of the perfect Christ?” Our motto is, “God forbid that we should glory save in the cross of Christ.” “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
The following is copied from our new book, “GOD’S GRACE MANIFESTO” now on the press.
WHAT IS MEANT BY “BULLINGERISM”?
The opposition against Dr. E. W. Bullinger and his teaching began with the Plymouth Brethren in England when and because Dr. Bullinger, who agreed with the Plymouth Brethren and every evangelical Pretribulation Premillenarian among the Fundamentalists of this country as to every fundamental doctrine of evangelical truth, taught that “THE LORD’S PRAYER” and “THE LORD’S SUPPER” have no place in God’s present “GRACE” program: that “THE LORD’S DAY” of Revelation 1:10 is not Sunday. Dr. Bullinger used such Scriptures as II Corinthians 3:6, Romans 15:27, Acts 28:20, Galatians 3:7, Galatians 3:29, Galatians 4:26, Acts 26:22 and 23 . . . Romans 11:17 . . . Romans 4:16 (compared with Ephesians 4:6) and I Corinthians 11:27 with Matthew 26:28 (compared with Ephesians 2:11 to 13), in his attempt to prove that the Church during the entire period covered by the Book of Acts was a “COVENANT” prophesied Church (calling the period from Acts 2:1 to Acts 28:28 the “PENTECOSTAL PERIOD”). His contention was, that inasmuch as the BODY of Ephesians and Colossians is the Church of the MYSTERY, and not prophesied, and “non-covenant,” not only did a new spiritual program begin after Acts 28:31, but a new and different Church. Inasmuch as the Lord’s Supper is mentioned in connection with the blood of the “covenant,” it has no place in the “non-covenant” Church. You can well imagine what the Plymouth Brethren would do to and against any man who would try to take away their “Lord’s Day” theory and their “SUNDAY MUST,” the Lord’s Table. So the battle started and so it rages. Then when Dr. Bullinger proved that the Brethren used the “Therefore” of Romans 6:4 for their “WITNESS” instead of the “THEREFORE” of Colossians 3:5, and proved that there was no religious cemetery in Romans 6:4 for the burial of the old man, as a “watery grave” witness, something more than their indignation was aroused. They were ready to cry as did Paul’s enemies, “away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.” (Acts 22:22). At this present time this “watery grave” witness is the greatest hindrance to the recovery of “THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST” among Fundamentalists. The “THEREFORE” of Romans 6:4 proves the very opposite of what is taught by some: it teaches that the believer who has died and been raised by baptism has also been buried by the same baptism. It is a known fact that no Bible teacher, who reads water into Romans 6:4, Ephesians 4:5 or Colossians 2:12, makes any attempt to obey Ephesians 3:9.
While the utter confusion goes on Pentecostalism and “Snake jugglers” and “religious healers” and wild “tongues movements” are playing havoc with many poor, deluded victims. These “Fanatics” challenge our so-called “grace” preachers, who revise and abridge Mark 16:16 to 18 and Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16 and I Corinthians 14:18, I Corinthians 12:28 and I Corinthians 1:17 to fit into their faulty dispensationalism, and they say to these “grace” Fundamentalists, if God’s “grace” program and the joint-Body of Ephesians 3:6 began on the day of Pentecost, if GOD’S “GRACE” MANIFESTO began when those TWELVE men (Acts 2:14) stood up on Israel’s Jewish feast-day, and if there has been no change in God’s administration since that day, why not go to Mark 16:16 to 18 (obeying all three verses) and to the Book of Acts and I Corinthians 12:7 to 11 for our program?
Of course the evangelical Premillenarians, who teach that “THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY” (for Gentiles), began when Peter and the Eleven were preaching to Israel on Pentecost, make no attempt to make anyone see what is the “DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY,” in obedience to Ephesians 3:9; for what began on Pentecost was foretold by Israel’s prophets, Joel, David, Moses and Samuel, according to Peter’s words, and was, therefore, not THE MYSTERY HID IN GOD FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. (Ephesians 3:9).
AN INTELLIGENT QUESTION CONCERNING SIGN-GIFTS
There are many sincere Christians who are very much confused and bewildered as to the sign-gifts of I Corinthians 12:7 to 11, and ask, if God put them in the Church (I Corinthians 12:28), who put them out? If there has been no change in God’s spiritual program since Paul wrote his first six Epistles, during the “ACTS” period, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, Galatians, I Corinthians, Romans and II Corinthians, then why should not the sincere, spiritual Christians believe that those signs are absent because Christians are not as spiritual today as were the Corinthians and others? But then their confusion is not cleared up when they read that the Corinthians, who exercised those sign-gifts, were anything but spiritual. (I Corinthians 3:1 to 4 . . . I Corinthians 6:7 to 9 . . . I Corinthians 14:10 to 34 . . . I Corinthians 8:1 to 12 . . . I Corinthians 15:12). Perhaps many have missed the meaning of I Corinthians 13:8 and I Corinthians 13:13, things that were to be done away, things for children, and things that were to abide for the full-aged.
Dr. Bullinger saw that there was an absence of signs and visions and tongues and religious ceremonies in Paul’s Epistles, written after the close of the “ACTS” period (I Timothy 5:23 . . . II Timothy 4:20 . . . Philippians 2:25 to 29), and by comparing “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20) with Ephesians 3:1 to 4, Paul there a prisoner for “the Mystery among the Gentiles,” he explained away the sign-gifts of the “ACTS” period by stating that a NEW CHURCH with a different hope and calling began after the close of Acts. This extreme dispensationalism has led to worse than confusion, and has done much harm in the matter of the recovery of lost truth concerning GOD’S “GRACE” MANIFESTO.
When Christians, who don’t play follow the leader, see that not even the most consecrated, spiritual, faithful, fruitful evangelical “grace” preacher today does, or can, exercise any of the sign gifts of I Corinthians 12:7 to 11, they want to know “why,” with the correct Scriptural answer.
Some years ago when I was prayerfully and diligently studying the Scriptures for an explanation why the present-day absence of signs, visions, tongues and jail deliverances and angelic visitations found in Mark 16:17 and 18 and all during the period covered by the Book of Acts, I wondered why the Book of Acts did not record the doings and sayings of Paul from Acts 28:31 until the time of his departure from earth. I knew that Dr. Luke wrote the Book of Acts, and that he was with Paul when Paul said “good-bye” to earth (II Timothy 4:11). Then why did not the Holy Spirit lead Luke to write the many things that Paul did and said between the last word in Acts and Paul’s farewell message? There was a reason for this sudden closing of Acts, after which Paul wrote Titus, I Timothy, Philippians, Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians and II Timothy, called Paul’s “Prison” Epistles. There was a reason why Paul did general healing in Acts 19:10 to 12, and why after the close of Acts he instructed a faithful saint to use a physical remedy. (I Timothy 5:23) . Then I saw that in the last chapter of Acts we find the record of Paul’s miraculous healing of a heathen, but in the last chapter of all of his writings, some years later, he said, “Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.” (II Timothy 4:20). Trophimus was a faithful saint. The Holy Spirit had II Timothy 4:20 put into the inspired word for religious “sign” healers. Of course every intelligent spiritual Christian believes in Divine healing (elective) but not in divine healers.
Then I learned that in Paul’s oral and written ministry before Acts 28 he proclaimed both the prophesied and unprophesied truth of God, and I found in the Book of Acts and in Paul’s first Epistles nearly 200 references to the Old Testament Scriptures, whereas in Paul’s “Prison” Epistles there are very, very few references to the Old Testament Scriptures and very little truth not “UNSEARCHABLE.” (Ephesians 3:8 and Romans 11:33).
I saw that there were several baptisms during the “Acts” period and thereafter Paul declared “there is one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5). I saw there was important truth for the correction of error in I Corinthians 13:8 and 13, things that would be done away and what would abide.
So in the year 1921 when I was searching for the Bible answer a friend handed me a little pamphlet printed and distributed by the Moody Bible Institute, “Visions, Signs and Tongues Not God’s Order For Today,” with a strong “foreword” endorsement by Dr. C. I. Scofield. On the very first page of that pamphlet the author branded as “satanic” the teaching that the Church all during the Book of Acts was a “kingdom” Church different from the “Post Acts” Church (Bullingerism) and also the teachings of the “signs” and “healing” Christians (Pentecostalism). Then the author asked whether it is not Satan who turns the eyes of sincere Christians back to Pentecost rather than on to the “Prison” Epistles of Paul; declaring that “the normal course” of the Church is to be found in Paul’s last Epistles; and that God brought forth a new order after the close of the “Acts” period, and in that new order is noted the absence of the signs and signgifts found in the Book of Acts and in Paul’s earlier Epistles.
This is the only intelligent Scriptural explanation of the difference in God’s spiritual program before and after Acts 28. It is pitiable, if true, that a Christian brother in charge of the book-store or publications at Moody’s, a brother who uses anointing oil, has instructed the salesman not to let their customers and visitors see that book. It will only be brought out of hiding by urgent request.
The cure offered by Dr. Bullinger and those who propagate his “DISPENSATIONALISM” is much worse than the disease. I rejected it the very first time I read it. I have never taught or believed Dr. Bulinger’s extreme “DISPENSATIONALISM”, having written against it years ago and many times since. But still there are Fundamentalists who have continuously called me a “BULLINGERITE”: most of them being as ignorant of Dr. Bullinger’s teachings as they are of “THE DISPENSATION OF THE MYSTERY,” while other Fundamentalists, zealous immersionists, are guilty of deliberate falsification, and they know it full well, while at the same time they teach that they buried their old man under the water. The new man does not bring false charges, sometimes called “lies.”
So while the outstanding leaders among the Fundamentalists use the “BULLINGERISM” “scarecrow” to keep their followers ignorant of the glorious truth of the ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD, the men who propagate “extreme DISPENSATIONALISM” pick up a recruit now and then with their two pet Scriptures, the “NONE OTHER THINGS” of Acts 26:22 and “THE HOPE OF ISRAEL” of Acts 28:20.
These brethren contend that Paul’s statement in Acts 26:22, “NONE OTHER THINGS,” proves that in his first six Epistles and in all of his sayings recorded in the Book of Acts nothing of the “UNSEARCHABLE” truth of Ephesians 3:8 can be found; that in prophecy somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and the last words of Malachi everything that Paul preached before Acts 28 can be found. This means that Israel’s prophets prophesied that temporary blindness would be sent upon Israel (the mystery of Romans 11:25); that because of Israel’s unbelief, mercy would be extended to Gentiles (Romans 11:30 and Romans 11:25); and that the Jews would obtain mercy by the Gentiles’ mercy (Romans 11:31). On the contrary the Holy Spirit teaches that this truth was “PAST TRACING OUT” (UNSEARCHABLE) (Romans 11:33). These brethren, in their utter inconsistency and contradictions, admit that the Greek word, translated in Ephesians 3:8, “UNSEARCHABLE,” means “not prophesied in the Old Testament Scriptures”; that the same Greek word is used in Roman 11:33. Yet they teach that the truth of Romans 11:30 to 32 was prophesied.
What folly to contend that the Old Testament prophets foretold that believing Jews and Gentiles would be baptized by one Spirit into one Body and all be members one of another (I Corinthians 12:13 . . . Romans 12:4 and 5), and that the Gentile members of this Body were waiting for Israel’s hope in Amos 9:11 to 15. The very heart of the unprophesied MYSTERY, which was HID in God and HID from ages and from generations, is I Corinthians 12:12; “SO ALSO IS CHRIST.” This is the wisdom ordained to our glory before the world. (I Corinthians 2:7). What stupidity to teach that any of Israel’s prophets prophesied that the “RECONCILIATION” COMMISSION would be sent to Gentiles (II Corinthians 5:18 to 20 . . . Romans 5 :11), because God would temporarily CAST AWAY Israel (Romans 11:15). No prophet even intimated the “fulness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25, or the “fulness of Israel” (Romans 11:12) after their DIMINISHING to make the Gentiles RICH.
The “ETERNAL PURPOSE” of God in Romans 8:28 to 31 is the “ETERNAL PURPOSE” of God in Ephesians 1:11 and in II Timothy 1:9. Compare Romans 8:29 to 31 with Ephesians 1:4 and 5. Think of the absurdity of even suggesting that the wisdom ordained to our glory before the world (I Corinthians 2:7) was, that believing Gentiles would be Israelites enjoying “the hope of Israel” as interpreted by the extreme dispensationalists. The “hope of glory” in Colossians 1:27 is the “hope of glory” in Romans 5:2; (II Corinthians 13:5). Philippians 1:1 to 6 is proof the Philippians were in the same Body while Paul was in the Roman prison that they were in when Paul preached to them in Philippi, in Acts 16. The “hope of Israel” of Acts 28:20 is mentioned in Acts 23:6, “of the HOPE and RESURRECTION of the dead am I called in question.” Read also Acts 24:14 and 15 . . . Acts 25:19 . . . Acts 26:5 to 8.
Is the gospel of the grace of God more clearly proclaimed in Ephesians 2:8 to 10 and in Titus 3:5 to 8 than it is in Romans 3:24 to 28 or in Romans 4:4 and 5? Surely the Divine baptism of Romans 6:3 is the one baptism of Ephesians 4:5.
All of this “DISPENSATIONAL” confusion is one of Satan’s devices to keep saints from knowing the truth which he hates with a vicious, relentless hatred, the truth that landed Paul in prison as an evil doer, as the prisoner of Jesus Christ for Gentiles. (Ephesians 3:1 to 3). Do you suppose Satan, who once held a much higher place in higher heavens, was pleased when Christ spoiled principalities and powers (Colossians 2:16), when God raised Christ far above those principalities and powers and made Him to be Head over all things to the Church, His Body, the filling-up of Christ (Ephesians 1:19 to 23)? If some one should ask you, to what church you belong, if you should answer “I am a member of the ‘FILLING-UP’ of Christ,” would they not doubt your sanity? (I Corinthians 2:12 to 14). How many sermons have you heard on the truth of Ephesians 2:15, “God is making of the twain ‘ONE NEW MAN’? Certainly every Christian who desires to be God’s unashamed workman should know what God is doing in this age and dispensation of grace.” (Ephesians 4:10 to 14).
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.