Posted in Announcements, Books

New Book: The Hopelessness of Humanism

unnamedThe Warren Christian Apologetics Center has released a brand new title by Mac Deaver critiquing the shortcomings of the humanist outlook. Their website describes it:

This 82 page book is a response to James A. Haught, Editor Emeritus of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia’s largest newspaper. For several decades, Haught has published materials advocating a skeptical philosophy of life. Mac Deaver, in The Hopelessness of Humanism, has shown the logical implications and the practical results of a society based upon atheism and agnosticism.

Published in April 2016 by the Warren Christian Apologetics Center, it can be ordered from them at this link.

Posted in Announcements, Christianity and Culture

Miscellaneous and a brief analysis from Florida

Biblical Notes has a brand new look. It is very minimal and will hopefully prove easier to read. Past articles are not completely uniform in font, but, going forward, the type should be better.

Menu items run across the top of the page, including drop menus for audio sermons, video lessons, and book info.

The right column has new features, including links to a few recommended sites, and a feed for our new Twitter account. If you’re not already, please follow @BiblicalNotes.

Newer articles will be on top, as usual, but scrolling down will get you to previous posts. For a specific topic, you can type a keyword into the search box (for example, to locate a post from three years ago on a particular subject). Or, you can use the drop-down categories box.

As always, if you find a post helpful, please share on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social media you frequent. Let us know if you have any suggestions for improving the site.

Finally, here’s a short take on recent events from staff writer, Marlin Kilpatrick, who preaches for the Lord’s church in Fruitland Park, Florida. Marlin writes the following about “the change that’s needed”…

Someone has said, “Times, they are ‘a changing.” Indeed! But, not all change is for the better.

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court determined that “same-sex marriage” is now the law of the land. The court’s decision is definitely a change, but not for the betterment of mankind. Homosexuals and lesbians are now encouraged to pursue immorality. How disgusting before our fellowman and God, can we be!

Politics plays a significant role in promoting the various changes in the laws of our country. A prime example is seen in the recent tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. The killing of nine innocent black people is not condoned by any sane person. But I am amazed how, before the senseless killings in the Methodist Church in Charleston, not one politician of whom I am aware was clamoring for the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina state capitol building, where it had flown for some 54 years. It would be interesting to know how many speeches the governor of South Carolina made, pleading for the removal of the Confederate flag, BEFORE the tragedy in the Methodist Church. So, we must make a change! Take the Confederate flag down! But will removal of the flag from all government buildings in South Carolina eliminate racism? No. Will it eliminate bigotry and hatred among the races? No. Only to the extent that men and women change their hearts (minds) will racism be eliminated.

The message of Jesus Christ is the only real answer to life’s problems, because it requires, not only faith, but also repentance. Repentance involves a change of the mind (i.e. our will). We must develop a different mindset toward sin. We must hate all sin, including the sin of prejudice.

When one obeys the gospel of Christ, he becomes a new creation in Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). This is the change that is needed, if we truly want to eliminate racism.

Posted in Announcements, Books

Kindle version now available for new Acts commentary

Mac Deaver’s new commentary on Acts, I Will Pour Forth of My Spirit, is now available in paperback and Kindle editions. Order your copy if you haven’t already.

Though they do not generate email notices to your inbox, we are constantly adding sermons to the “Audio” section (Mac Deaver’s sermons are added weekly). There are also a couple of debates you can listen to.

We encourage readers to know about two great resources. For online Christian education, check out Tennessee Bible College. An excellent resource in the ongoing war between Christianity and our increasingly secular culture is the new Warren Christian Apologetics Center. Take a look at what they have to offer.

If you find a Biblical Notes article helpful, please do hit the “like” button and/or share it on your social media sites. Encourage your friends to subscribe. This month has already set a new record for visitors, page views, and shares. Also, remember that there are articles in the archives going back over five years. You can search the archives by category, by month, or by keyword.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-31, ESV)

Posted in Announcements, Books

Announcing: A New Commentary on Acts by Mac Deaver

I Will Pour Forth of My Spirit is a new commentary on Acts by Mac Deaver, published in May 2015. Its 246 pages cover each of the 28 chapters in Acts, with an outline, commentary, and study questions for each chapter. Two appendices offer discussion of the fulfilling of the Great Commission, and a helpful, explanatory outline of what was happening in Acts 2. The author’s preface states:

“I hope the reader finds his excursion through this little book both enjoyable and profitable and that he is encouraged in truth and comes to a better understanding of the New Testament book of Acts, which Luke so long ago by inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote. And I sincerely hope that he comes to comprehend that all men who have ever entered the kingdom (the church) of our Lord in the first century as described by Luke in Acts have, with regard to the essentials mentioned by Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3, entered in the same way. Furthermore, it is very important that we all see that if anyone enters the kingdom today in the twenty-first century, then, if the words of Jesus to Nicodemus hold true regarding all men of our time as well, we enter just as did those whose entries are recorded for us by Luke in Acts, when they entered during the first century by birth of water and Spirit.”

Paperback copies can be ordered from CreateSpace or Amazon. A Kindle version will soon be available, as well.

Posted in Announcements, Books

Deaver-Till Debate (on the alleged moral atrocities of the Bible)

On March 25-28, 1991 Mac Deaver debated the skeptic, Ferrel Till, on the campus of what is now Texas State University in San Marcos. Propositions centered on alleged moral atrocities in the Bible, whether they are real, and whether they disprove the Bible’s inspiration. The transcription has recently been reprinted by Christian Researcher Publications as a paperback book, including the four nights of speeches and charts. Copies can be ordered here.

Posted in Announcements

Lectures of Mac Deaver

We’ve just added a new page of previous lectures delivered by Mac Deaver in recent years, including titles such as “Instrumental Music–The Tip of the Iceberg,” “Liberalism Enters the Church: 1970-2006,” “Remembering Roy C. Deaver,” and several others. Simply go to the top menu and click the audio tab, then drop down in the menu to “Mac Deaver Lectures.” Also, we continue to post his weekly sermons on the site, and will be adding additional audio from past debates and sermons. So, please check back often, enter your email address to get automatic notices when new articles are posted, and share links on Facebook and Twitter of articles or pages you find helpful, and tell others about the site. Thanks!

Posted in Announcements, Debates

Deaver-Preston Debate

Mac Deaver debated Don Preston on March 13-15, 2008, as part of the Second Annual Carlsbad Eschatology Conference in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Preston affirmed: “The Bible teaches that the Second (i.e. final) coming of Christ occurred at the time of the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.” Deaver denied.

Deaver affirmed: “The Bible teaches that the Second (i.e. final) coming of Christ will occur at the end of the Christian age.” Preston denied.

The entire debate is now online. At BiblicalNotes.com, click on the “audio” tab on the menu to listen.

Posted in Announcements, Books

BACK IN PRINT: The Holy Spirit (Center of Controversy – Basis of Unity)

Originally published in 2007, Mac Deaver’s book, The Holy Spirit (Center of Controversy – Basis of Unity), had sold out and become unavailable (unless you could find a used copy). We are very pleased to say that, thanks to the great work of our friend, Stephen Bradd, the book is available again. It is a slightly updated edition, but essentially the same in content. However, the two formats are new: paperback and Kindle. Paperback copies can be ordered at this link. And, the Kindle Edition can be ordered here. This is the first Biblical Notes book to be offered in digital format, and we hope to make others available in the future.

This book gives historical background to the controversial issue of the Holy Spirit in the church of Christ in the last half of the twentieth century to the present. Deaver’s follow-up book, Except One Be Born From Above, came out in 2013 as a much more thorough study of the question of what it means to be born of water and Spirit. He is currently writing a study guide to the book of Acts, which should be published in 2015. Refer to BiblicalNotes.com for details as they become available, and please encourage your friends to subscribe (free) to the website.

Posted in Announcements

Site Improvements and a Great New Feature

Dear Readers,

If you’ve not been to the site in a while, please come see what is happening. Annoying ads (over which we had no control) are now gone. Recent articles can be found by simply scrolling down the page instead of having to dig through the archives. We are very pleased to announce a brand new feature. There is now a page tab labeled “Audio.” Clicking on that takes you to our new page where audio sermons will be posted. Particularly, we plan to publish Mac Deaver’s sermons, as preached at the church of Christ in Sheffield, Texas. His two lessons from March 30 are already up on “Why Naaman Got So Mad.” Give them a listen, and check back weekly for new sermons being posted. Help us spread the word and, if you like a page or an article, please go ahead and “like” it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Encourage your friends to subscribe to the site, and they will receive an email every time a new article is posted. Thanks much!

Posted in Announcements, Books

Mac Deaver’s New Book Now Available from Biblical Notes Publications

photoPublished July 2013 in hardcover by Biblical Notes Publications, Except One Be Born From Above has 317 pages, including sixteen chapters and three appendices. Copies can be purchased for $14.00 plus $3.75 S&H ($17.75 total). Please send your order, with payment (personal checks accepted, made out to Mac Deaver) to:

Mac Deaver

P.O. Box 327

Sheffield, TX 79781

Perhaps the best way to introduce the book is to include excerpts from the preface (below). If some of the questions it raises pique your interest (and they should), then you might well enjoy this fascinating study. Having read several times through the manuscript prior to publication, I’ve found it simultaneously simple, challenging, faith-building, and significantly helpful in understanding and appreciating the crucial concept of “new birth” as taught by Jesus. In point of fact, the word “groundbreaking” comes to mind — not in the sense of its being new, but, rather, by way of its clearing aside a few baseless assumptions, making it possible to see better what the New Testament has been saying all along.

Back in 1864, J. W. McGarvey wrote, “I have for some years been convinced that the immersion in the Holy Spirit is not fully understood, and that it needs investigation and discussion de novo. The same may be said of the entire subject of the Holy Spirit and his work in human salvation.” The church has grappled with the topic a long time. Many of prominence have helped us down unhelpful paths that darkened understanding we might otherwise have had, if some unbiblical assumptions had not been drummed into our thinking. Please get the book, read it, understand what it is saying, and, if you are inclined, pass it on to others.   –Weylan Deaver

Excerpts from the Preface of Except One Be Born From Above

by Mac Deaver

Have you ever wondered why it is that some of us have claimed for years that there are certain “measures” of the Holy Spirit when, in fact, the Bible says that there are none? Have you ever heard anyone ever really conclusively prove that Holy Spirit baptism was an exclusively first century phenomenon? Why is it that the cases of kingdom entry in the book of Acts are usually all called cases of conversion, when in some of the cases, conversion does not take place on the same day that kingdom entry does? Why wasn’t Cornelius told to repent of his sins? How is it that he could be baptized in the Holy Spirit before he was baptized in water? And if his baptism in Spirit was to prove that it was time for the Gentiles to enter the kingdom, then why didn’t we conclude that when it was time for the Samaritans to enter the kingdom that their reception of the Holy Spirit was a baptism in the Spirit as well? And what do human hands have to do, if anything, with the reception of the Holy Spirit?

When did the apostles actually enter the kingdom? And when did they repent of their sins? Did they repent of their sins on the same day that they entered the kingdom? Why was Jesus baptized in water? …And why is it that most members of the church have assumed that in Matthew 28:18-20 (when Jesus was giving what we call the “great commission”) even though he was speaking to the apostles only, we somehow reached the conclusion that we are included, but in Acts 1:5 (in the same context) when he was promising Holy Spirit baptism as he was speaking to the apostles only, that we are somehow excluded? What is wrong with such analysis?

And just what was lacking anyway to prevent the kingdom from being established prior to Pentecost of Acts 2? How could Apollos be a member of the church and yet not know that the Holy Spirit had come? When did the apostle Paul receive Holy Spirit baptism? And why is it that for years and years many of us have simply assumed that Holy Spirit baptism is miraculous in its nature without ever seeing any conclusive proof (logical argument) that such is so? How is it that members of the churches of Christ, generally speaking, reached the conclusion that Holy Spirit baptism is not applicable today? …Is it possible that we have failed to recognize a key distinction between baptism in Spirit and power from Spirit while at the same time we elevated the use of apostolic “hands” in Scripture to a position or status that they never had?

And how does every case of kingdom entry in the book of Acts “square” with the words of Jesus in John 3:5? Have you carefully considered the historical transition that was taking place in the book of Acts which transition lasted for about thirty years and which was an exclusively first century phenomenon? And have you ever thought about the precision of the words of Jesus to Nicodemus and what he left out that we, on occasion, have assumed that he meant? Is there any justification in the same context for taking water to mean real water, and flesh to mean real flesh only to conclude that Spirit in the very same passage has to be something other than Spirit and cannot possibly be the Holy Spirit himself?

If you have ever been puzzled by some of the questions here posed, you may want to explore the contents of this book. In this volume, Except One Be Born From Above, such questions will be answered and greater clarity thrown on the book of Acts because of the angle from which it is and should be viewed. It is amazing how many passages we in the past have unintentionally distorted in order to make them harmonize with our incorrect view on Holy Spirit baptism. But once the correction is made, it is absolutely astonishing as to how many more passages can be left alone to simply convey the meaning originally intended.

This is not a book that calls in question the absolute necessity of water baptism, for water baptism has actually been conclusively proven by sound argument in public discussion to be essential to the forgiveness of a sinner’s past sins. I have debated this issue myself, and I am thoroughly convinced of the essentiality of water baptism in order for a sinner to become a saint. The revisiting of the water baptism topic can only reconfirm the truth that we have for years rightly upheld. Churches of Christ have historically advocated and defended the essentiality of water baptism (immersion) throughout our history in preaching, teaching, writing, and debating. However, we have failed to see the nature of Holy Spirit baptism and the full meaning of the one birth of water and Spirit.

It has taken us a while to see the conceptual connection between the various aspects of Holy Spirit doctrine. But from the study in which we have been for a long time engaged on the Holy Spirit, we see now more clearly than ever how passages on the Holy Spirit fit together so harmoniously. And we see the connection between the various cases of “conversion” that we read about in the book of Acts. We have in the past had to unintentionally “torture” certain texts to make them teach what they never said. We did not do this on purpose nor with malice. But because we had the wrong idea as to the nature and purpose of Holy Spirit baptism, we wound up “rewriting” Scripture.

When we get the doctrine of Holy Spirit baptism correct, we can then see clearly (1) the fact of the personal indwelling, (2) the fact of internal Spirit help, and (3) the complete rather than partial nature of the new birth, and even (4) a connection between the nature of the Christian and his prospects in the coming resurrection! So many wondrous truths come together when we reinvestigate the meaning of the Lord’s precious words to Nicodemus: “…Except one be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God…Except one be born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5).

If the reader can make a valiant effort to put aside preconceived notions and personal prejudices that may have been entrenched in his heart for years and years regarding the topic of Holy Spirit baptism, and if he will demand of me that the conclusions I present are supported by conclusive proof, he has my sincere appreciation. It took a while for others to get me to revisit the topic. I did not want to have to give serious attention to a topic that I was convinced had been long ago understood by most of our brethren. But I was so wrong in thinking that most of us had understood it and that I, therefore, did not need to give more attention to it. I can appreciate the reluctance that some now have in not giving the topic the attention that I am convinced that it certainly deserves.

We will never see the coherence between all the passages on the Holy Spirit that discuss his relationship to Christians unless and until we get our minds correctly settled on the topic of Holy Spirit baptism. It is that fundamental and crucial. Once we understand what Jesus really said in John 3 to Nicodemus, we can then understand the progression of the history in Acts and finally see how all of the cases of kingdom entry as recorded by Luke fit together without a single exception. There are no cases of exception to the requirements of kingdom entry in the book of Acts!

It is my hope that you have a most enjoyable “trip” through this book, and I desire that your intellectual and spiritual journey be most profitable. May God bless your efforts as you restudy this topic and think seriously about what Jesus meant when he said, “Except one be born anew (ASV footnote: from above), he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Mac Deaver

Sheffield, Texas