What I've come to understand in the past few years is that very few things in the New Testament which are issues for us are "clear", including the necessity or not of baptism.
a prism standing in the light, viewed by two different people who know
nothing of prisms. The person standing to one side would insist that
"it's clear that the prism is blue!", while the person standing on the
other side would insist that "it's clear that the prism is red!". Thus
it is with the Bible.
not that the Bible "contradicts" itself; it's that it lends itself
easily to opposing things depending on one's perspective. We, in our
fallible human mindsets, can't abide the notion that the Bible could be
true in saying both A=B and A!=B, but I think the Bible is a bit more
deeper than we are, and the prism analogy applies.
- We are saved by obedience; and we are saved by faith prior to obedience. Both are true.
- Jesus is the Father YHWH; Jesus is not the Father YHWH. Both are true.
- The physical cosmos will be renewed; the physical cosmos will be consumed in fire. Both are true.
- Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; Enoch, Elijah, and Jesus all took their flesh into heaven. Both are true.
we come to this understanding, we'll always be picking one side of any
particular issue and declaring as heretics the proponents of the other
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