The Dispensational Answer to Undispensational Religious Practices
One of the principal reasons why we are publishing this 320 page book, entitled “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ,” why we are sending forth these messages emphasizing the Divine truth which the risen Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul, is to prove that that truth, designated “the unsearchable riches of Christ,” is God’s curative for every doctrinal ill and “ism” with which the Body of Christ is afflicted. It is God’s curative for the fanaticism which is being practiced and propagated by many sincere, zealous saints who are sincerely wrong. You will find many statements reiterated many times in these messages, for they are printed from manuscripts. We trust that they may be used among some of the members of our Radio Bible Class when they gather in groups for Bible study.
Let us explain what is meant by “the dispensational answer to undispensational religious practices.” You and I know that there are many saints in the different religious organizations in this country. We refer to the organizations that claim to be Christian organizations. They claim that they are organized to practice and propagate Bible Christianity. In creed, doctrine, and practice, they attempt to prove by statements from the Bible that they are carrying on a Scriptural religious program.
1—Christians should eat no pork.
2—Christians should keep Israel’s seventh day Sabbath.
3—Christians should wash one another’s feet.
4—Christians should not wear jewelry.
5—Christians should sell their property and put the money in a common treasury
6—Christians should not pay a pastor a stipulated salary.
7—Preachers should go out two by two.
8—Preachers should not have any money in their purses.
9—Christians should cast out demons.
10—Christians should raise the dead.
11—Christians should heal the lepers.
12—Christians should lay hands on the sick and thus restore health.
13—Christians should anoint the sick with oil.
14—Christians should bless aprons and handkerchiefs and cure the sick by putting them on their bodies.
15—Christians should have visions and dream dreams.
16—Christians should not be injured by the poison from serpents.
17—Christians should speak with tongues and other Christians should be able to interpret.
18—Christians should have the gift of discerning of spirits.
19—Christians should cut off their offending hands and pluck out their offending eyes.
20—Christians should lend money to any one who would borrow and not expect the return of the loan.
21—Christians should take a gift to the priest when they are healed.
22—Christians should have miraculous jail deliverances.
23—Christians receive no more forgiveness from God than others receive from these same Christians.
24—The meek shall inherit the earth.
25—Christians should do greater works than Christ did.
26—Christians should give up their cloaks also when sued for their coats.
27—Christians should not have two coats.
28—Christians should be circumcised.
29—Christians should practice the imposition of hands.
30—Believers should be baptized with water for the remission of sins.
Before you condemn or ridicule any of these twenty groups for including these religious ceremonies and practices in their programs, find one single one of them that is not wholly Scriptural. Then ask yourself this question: “How many of the thirty do I practice?” Check them on the list. Then tell yourself why you do not include more of the thirty in your program. Your answer will perhaps be, “they do not belong to this dispensation.” Those that you rule out by your dispensational principle, mean your dispensational answer to some undispensational religious practices. But are you absolutely positive that what you believe, endorse or practice is both Scriptural and dispensationally correct?
GOD’S ONE CHURCH
Every saved individual, during the present Divine economy, whether Jew or Gentile, is a member of the Body of Christ, “the Church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28. In this age of grace God requires no religious ceremonies for salvation or for membership in the one true Bible Church. But God does demand faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His shed blood for salvation. And God’s Book declares, “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 and 9. There are multitudes of religious people, members of some religious organization, who are not saved. Moreover there are perhaps as many trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His redemptive work, who, like the foolish Galatians, are trying to make the finished work of Christ more efficacious, by mixing in some religious doings. To them the Apostle Paul has written
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 2:21, Galatians 1:6 and 7, Galatians 5:1.
We shall not consider the religious programs of the new metaphysical cults, which are propagating their Satanic vagaries, in the name of Christianity, in fulfillment of II Corinthians 11:13 to 15, II Peter 2:1 and 2, and I Timothy 4:1 and 7. With their Christianized pagan philosophies they have here and there mixed in a verse of Scripture which they have invariably corrupted. Every one of them deny all of the fundamentals of true Bible Christianity. But they all have much to say about Jesus and His program of physical healing, without the use of drugs or other material remedies. Concerning them God’s warning is, “bringing in the damnable heresies denying the Lord that bought them”; “seducing spirits”; “doctrines of demons”; “gone in the way of Cain.” II Peter 2:1, I Timothy 4:1, Jude 11.
But now let us consider the “church” creeds and religious programs of religious organizations whose members claim to believe the Bible and who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His precious shed blood.
CASE NUMBER ONE
About fifty miles north of Chicago there is a religious town made up of religious people. And there are some splendid, godly, saved people there. At the head of that religious colony there is a religious man, who preaches much sound doctrine. He doesn’t seem to obey I Peter 5:3, “neither as being lords over God’s heritage.” But he does proclaim the message of blood redemption and presents a high standard of Christian living, even if it is a mixture of grace and law.
There is a religious hotel in that religious town. In the dining-room of that hotel the religious cooks are forbidden to serve any meat that has come from any part of a hog. Even Swift’s Premium bacon is tabooed. Undoubtedly if one of the cooks in that hotel should serve a piece of pork in that religious dining room, that cook would learn that he might think he is living in the day of grace, but he would be discharged by the overseer, according to the law of Moses. That overseer prefers to be governed by the legal message of Deuteronomy 14:8, rather than by the grace message of I Timothy 4:3 to 5. But you and I must agree that the brother is Scriptural in his law, “no pork.”
Along with the law of “no pork” is the law of “no surgeons.” Divine healing of the body is one of their principal doctrines. Many of them practice, as well as preach, Divine healing. But of course they die just like other saints, and like all the sinners, in spite of their doctrine, for until the Lord Jesus returns to redeem the bodies of God’s people the death rate will continue to be one apiece. But you and I must agree that God’s saints in the Bible, during certain periods, were miraculously healed without doctors and medicine.
These dear people have gone through litigation, sorrow, and some disgrace trying to carry on the communism, described in Acts 2:44 and 45 and in Acts 4:34 and 35.
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” “Neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
Yes, a communism is Scriptural. Now we say that the founders and leaders of that religious colony have capriciously and arbitrarily selected a few of the thirty religious practices found in the Bible, and have eliminated and ignored the others, without explanation or apology.
CASE NUMBER TWO
It would be wonderful if sane evangelical Christians would display the aggressive spirit, the zeal, the determination, and the energy found among the Seventh Day Adventists. They believe the Bible, although you and I often feel that the Epistles of Paul have been wholly ignored by them. We wonder if they have ever read the Epistle to the Galatians, the third chapter of II Corinthians, or the second chapter of Colossians, or Romans 6:14.
They, too, have capriciously and arbitrarily selected a few of the thirty religious practices which we have enumerated, and have passed up the others. They have selected Israel’s seventh day sabbath; “no pork”; “the religious washing of feet”; and some of them are strong on water baptism for “the remission of sins”; and some are stronger than others on Divine healing.
Of course they have in their program a damnable heresy teaching that the believer’s sins will ultimately be placed on Satan, the scape-goat, who will be loosed to go into the wilderness. They have a silly unscriptural teaching concerning “the sabbath” and “the mark of the beast.” But in many of their religious practices they are Scriptural. We quote the Scriptures:
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” “The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God.” Exodus 20:8 and 10.
“He (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16.
“On the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13.
“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14.
“And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet sheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” Deuteronomy 14:8.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.
The first day of the week is not the sabbath of the Lord thy God. The seventh day is the Scriptural sabbath. The Lord never has changed the sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. But there are some dear religious people who call Sunday “the Christian sabbath”; and others miscall Sunday “the Lord’s day.” Is not a Christian a follower of Jesus Christ? Did not Jesus Christ attend Divine services on the seventh day sabbath? Did not Paul also?
Intelligent students of the Bible know from Colossians 2:11 to 16, II Corinthians 3:9 to 16, and Ephesians 2:6 that members of Christ’s Body have nothing to do with Israel’s sabbath.
But why do most of the Christian leaders, who are straight on the sabbath, pay no attention to John 13:14, and neglect the washing of feet? They use water in baptizing, but not in washing of feet. They say the washing of feet was symbolic of cleansing. Was not also water baptism?
CASE NUMBER THREE
In the city of Minneapolis there is a splendid man of God, a fighting, uncompromising Fundamentalist. He has been a real defender of the faith, and an aggressive evangelist. He is a zealous immersionist. For years in his auditorium a very godly man carried on a special ministry of healing. He prayed over, and in some way blessed handkerchiefs that were in turn used for healing the physical infirmities of the saints. The dear brother was very much in earnest about those blessed handkerchiefs, and of course claimed positive cures.
The pastor, who believed in physical healing, endorsed the healing ministry. But he has failed to include in his “church” program the other religious practices mentioned above.
Now the question, “isn’t it Scriptural to bless handkerchiefs”? Didn’t Paul say, “follow me,” and didn’t Paul bless handkerchiefs?
“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:11 and 12.
The pastor of that church tried to practice some of the program of Acts 19:1 to 12. He has accepted water baptism and the blessing of handkerchiefs. Well, some believers were baptized and the apostle prayed over handkerchiefs or aprons. But our brother is very inconsistent because he has wholly ignored the religious practice recorded in the same chapter, Acts 19:6:
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they speak with tongues, and prophesied.”
Now let’s be honest and unprejudiced and fair-minded. What right has any servant of the Lord to arbitrarily select baptism, and some religious handkerchiefs, and ignore the imposition of hands for Holy Spirit baptism and the speaking with tongues, when all are linked together in the same chapter and the same Divine economy? Didn’t Paul say, “follow me” If we are to follow Paul in the matter of water and religious handkerchiefs, why not in the imposition of hands for Holy Spirit baptism and speaking with tongues? Hear Paul’s testimony
“Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.” “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.” I Corinthians 14:39 and 14:18.
There is a very zealous Fundamentalist here in Chicago. He is the brother responsible for disrupting the fellowship in the Fundamentalist Ministers’ Association by introducing a resolution concerning water baptism into the Association. He and one of the leading pastors of the city carried through their determined purpose after they were urged and warned. But the brother was somewhat consistent in contending so strenuously for the water because he delighted in the use of oil for physical healing. Water and oil belong to the same spiritual program in the Bible. Although James did write “to the twelve tribes of Israel,” and although he did say in Acts 15:19, “wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God,” and although there is no record in the Bible that any Gentiles were anointed with oil, the Bible does say,
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:13 and 14.
CASE NUMBER FOUR
Have you ever heard of the Two-By-Two saints ?
These religious Christians have very little fellowship with other Christians. They are sincerely religious and endeavor to strictly and literally obey that part of the program of Jesus that they have selected for their program, especially Luke 10:1 to 12 and Matthew 10:7 to 14.
The program in Luke 10 is very much the same as in Matthew 10. Let us note something of the message and the method in these commissions of Jesus of Nazareth to His twelve Jewish apostles to the Jewish nation
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them TWO AND TWO before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come.” “Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.” “And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of His hire. Go not from house to house.” “And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” Luke 10:1, 4, 7 and 9 to 11.
“But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold nor silver, nor brass in your purses. Nor scrip for journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” Matthew 10:6 to 10.
The Lord Jesus most assuredly commanded His chosen messengers to preach and do what the “Two-and-Two” religious messengers in this country are trying to do. They certainly endeavor to conduct themselves according to the Bible. Other Christians call them “fanatical.” Why are they fanatical? If they are fanatical, it is not because they are unscriptural, but because they are undispensational. They pay no attention whatever to “the dispensation of the grace of God” of Ephesians 3:1 to 11, and God’s orders in II Timothy 2:15, “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” They ignore the message and program which the risen Christ gave to “the apostle to the Gentiles,” to supersede His kingdom message to Israel, and cry with other confused and deluded Christians, “back to Jesus.” They disfellowship all Christians who do not send and receive two preachers instead of one, or any company of believers who pay a pastor a monthly salary. They try to obey the Lord’s command “take no money for your journey.” They have utterly failed in one of the Lord’s commands, “raise the dead.” But they will shake the dust off on those who do not receive them.
CASE NUMBER FIVE
For some years a very religious and clever woman in California has been the head, the bishop, the evangelist, the baptizer, the pastor, and the Bible-teacher of a company of sincere religious people. The leader and the followers have been very zealous for Jesus, and they would not think of receiving into their membership or fellowship any person who did not believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible and the Deity and redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. That religious woman has had several slogans for her particular program—“Jesus Christ the Same Yesterday, Today and Forever”; “Health, Happiness and Heaven”; “This Is That”; “The Latter Rain”; and many others.
She has included about as many of the thirty practices in her religious program as any other person. She has been strong on baptism, but she has scattered flowers on the water, without any Scriptural authority. Under the influence of her religious hands many have fallen under some kind of power with the cry, “this is that,” “slain of the Lord.” They have experienced religious ecstasy and have broken forth speaking in new tongues. Part of her program is certainly according to the Bible. Note Mark 16:17 and 18:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
But she has been positively disobedient to the plain word of God, in I Timothy 2:11 and 12.
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. “
She can cleverly explain this away to the satisfaction of her deluded followers. She can prove to them by her visions that she is one of the handmaidens about whom Joel prophesied.
This religious sister, whose slogan has been “back to Jesus” and “back to Pentecost,” has overlooked or ignored Luke 12:33:
“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.”
She has accumulated no small fortune. Financially, she is well fixed. She has let her followers obey Luke 12:33 to her gain. There are about fifteen of the thirty practices that she has eliminated or ignored.
CASE NUMBER SIX: THE SNAKE BITING PREACHER
In today’s newspaper is an account of the arrest of a preacher who has encouraged members of his flock, and some of his own family, to prove that Mark 16:17 and 18 is for this age; and that if it were not for the unbelief on the part of Christian preachers, these miracles would be constantly performed by all believers. So the poisonous serpents are brought into the religious meetings for the demonstration. Let us read the verses:
“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
CASE NUMBER SEVEN
We might group the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Baptists, the Plymouth Brethren, the Presbyterians, and others. Consider the program of any one of them.
All of these churches, without explanation or apology, without presenting any intelligent Divine principle, have from their church creeds and programs omitted eighty per cent of the thirty religious practices which we have quoted from the Bible. They have all ignored I Corinthians 12:28 and I Corinthians 12:8 to 11:
“And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” I Corinthians 12:28. “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.” I Corinthians 12:8 to 11.
If God set them in the Church, who set them out? No one but God had that right. If He did it, when and how did He do it?
By whose authority have the Presbyterians voted for water baptism by sprinkling and kept silent concerning these sign-gifts of I Corinthians? Think of the inconsistency of the other denominations that teach that this present “grace” economy began with Peter and the Eleven on the day of Pentecost and without explanation or apology, they omit from their “church” programs, the visions, tongues, miracles, surrender of houses and lots, baptismal regeneration, anointing with oil, blessed handkerchiefs and aprons and every other religious practice except the baptismal font or tank of the “Acts” period. They all like the water, but concerning this religious ceremony no two of them agree. Many of them talk much of following the Lord in baptism, but they have nothing to say about following Him in many other religious practices. Why?
They make not the slightest endeavor to obey the “kingdom” orders and program of Jesus of Nazareth presented to His people when He was here on earth, but many of them condemn in no uncertain language another messenger who presents the Scriptural principle to be used by members of the Body of Christ for the selection or the elimination of those Scriptural ceremonies and commands which rightly belong to other dispensations but which have no rightful place in this present economy of grace.
The Roman Catholics have much religion in their program. But they frankly admit that their ecclesiastical potentates and dignitaries have assumed the right both to interpret the Scriptures and to add to the Bible such other religious doctrines and practices as they may elect. They have a healing ministry. Their priests and bishops bless water, or bones, or garments for the healing of physical afflictions, and the recipients of this healing ministry are instructed to obey Matthew 8:4:
“ . . . go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”
Other healing preachers are not so consistent. They claim to heal on the authority of Matthew 8:3, 16 and 17; but they wholly ignore the command of Matthew 8:4, concerning the priests and the law of Moses.
A FEW QUESTIONS
Now these important and interesting questions:
1—How many or how few of the thirty religious practices are for the obedience of members of the Body of Christ?
2—Have Christians any Scriptural right to select one, two, three, five, ten, or twenty, or more of the thirty for their obedience and practice without offering some Godgiven principle?
3—Is there not such a Divine principle in the Bible?
The answer to this question, and many other questions, is found in this book with the title, “The Unsearchable Riches of Christ.”
If God did not radically change the program for His Church after the Nation Israel was set aside, and the transition of the “Acts” period came to an end, then one hundred per cent of the members of the Church of God are disobedient and unfaithful. And as some preacher has said, “if the signs of Mark 16:17 and 18 are the credentials of a Christian, there have been no Christians since the apostles died.”
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.