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Upholding The Light Of Jesus In A Dark World

Cornelius, Was He Already A Believer?

There are very few subjects that gender as much conversation as the subject of the Holy Ghost, spiritual gifts and the use of tongues within the Christian church.

One Biblical character, Cornelius (Acts 10:1-33) and the Italian Band or regiment is vitally important in helping us understand both the purpose, power and move of God among the early church and gentiles.

Now, I may not get many traditional scholars to agree with me beyond this point because a clear understanding of what actually happened to Cornelius challenges the theological assumptions of many conservatives and fundamentalists, however that doesn’t dissuade me from doing my best to set forth a clear and well reasoned argument explaining the events recorded in Acts 10.

Who Was Cornelius?

Cornelius was a Roman Soldier (gentile), a centurion within the Italian Band which was a volunteer army from Italy. He was part of a Regiment (Band or Cohort) of soldiers consisting of approximately 600 men. As compared to a Legion of 3,000 to 6,000 men. As you can see 6 Centurions and their soldiers helped make up 1 Band or Cohort of soldiers. 10 Regiments made up 1 Legion of soldiers. The headquarters of the Roman forces in Judea were at Cæsarea.[1] Therefore, Cornelius oversaw approximately 100 men at what could be termed as the regional headquarters. 

What Was Cornelius’s Relationship To The early Church?

Cornelius along with his family, are said to have been the first gentile converts recorded in scripture and added to the New Testament Church. While that has been a traditional understanding, I wish to challenge that assertion based on the following observations:

  1. Scripture suggests that Cornelius was an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus and or his resurrection.
  2. Scripture suggests that Cornelius was a believer by confession and subsequent actions before he met Apostle Peter.
  3. Scripture suggests that Peter’s meeting with Cornelius was to accept him into the NT church and solidify his relationship with the church and God with the evidence and sign of Holy Ghost Baptism.

These statements break with traditional scholarship on this issue and I will outline the reasoning and scriptural evidences for each assertion in the remainder of this writing.  

I: Cornelius, An Eyewitness To The Ministry Of Jesus Or His Resurrection

First, I wouldn’t make this assertion unless I believed that there was credible evidence from scripture to support it. Let’s look at some of that evidence:

Part of understanding Cornelius’s relationship with the New Testament church (hereafter NT) and Apostles is buried in understanding both his own testimony and the testimony of Apostle Peter as he began dialogue with Cornelius.

Acts 10:28 ~ “And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean”

Peter here is referring to the separation of the Jew from those individuals considered to be ceremonially and religiously unclean. Similar to the discussion between Jesus and the Woman at the well from Samaria (Jn. 4:9) we can better understand Peter’s nationalism and puritianism through religious, Semitic eyes. Although Peter is quick to confess that the Lord has showed him that he should not call any man “common or unclean” he is yet wrestling with the idea of having associations with a gentile, whether that gentile is a believer or not. Peter, however in this confession acknowledges Cornelius’s understanding of these same traditions: “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company…,

In short not only did Peter have this “knowledge” of the tradition, but Cornelius had it also and Peter is speaking to him using a “matter of fact” statment.     

Acts 10:34-37: ~ 34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;”

Concerning v. 37 ~ 37That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;”

This verse (37) indicates that Cornelius also “knew” the word concerning Jesus that had been published. There is also strong suggestion that Cornelius may have come to know that word “from the beginning” or when it was published. Peter speaks as a matter of fact seemingly confirming or restating the facts that Cornelius already knows not instructing or guiding him in any new knowledge that he may not have known.

Concerning the term “began from Galilee” NT scholar and author Richard Bauckham in his landmark work, “Jesus and the Eyewitnesses” says the following: 

“Later in Acts Luke depicts Peter preaching a summary of the gospel story with precisely the same parameters and with the claim to witness linked specifically to the resurrection appearances:”… “Significantly, “beginning” (arxamenos) occurs again, here referring to the message preached by Jesus which began from Galilee after the baptism preached by John (10:37).” Richard Bauckham, “Jesus And The Eyewitnesses” 2006 Eerdman’s Publishing Pg. 115 [2]

 Peter was talking about the message of Jesus preached and known from the “beginning” (arxamenos) that Cornelius “knew” or had come to know. Yes, Cornelius could have come to know that message after it “began” but Cornelius could have also been a part of that message either during Jesus life or possibly even a eyewitness to the resurrection itself. At either rate his introduction to the message and Jesus did not begin when Peter entered his home and began to preach in Acts 10. Having this understanding may help explain the many characteristics that we observe about Cornelius when he is introduced to us in Acts 10.

When did Cornelius possibly become an eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus?

Mt.8:5-9  ~ 8The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it”

This story of an unnamed “centurion” is also found in Lk 7:6. This story is consistent with that found in Acts in the following manner:

  1.  
    1. Caesarea is approximately 45 miles South-West of Capernium. Certainly this was the region or area that Cornelius and his band could have been given authority to oversee.
    2. The Centurion acknowledges that he understands the Jewish tradition of restrained fellowship with non-Jews (v.8b) This is consistent with Peter’s testimony in Acts 10:28, and in accordance with what Cornelius already “knew”.
    3. The centurion acknowledges that he is in authority and “under” authority simultaneously.(v.9) This is consistent with what we know about Cornelius in Acts 10.
    4. This man is a man of exceptional faith in Acts 10:2, Jesus confirms the same of the centurion, Lk. 7:9b “…I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

Although these are only parallels, they are parallels that may offer some significant insights into who Cornelius actually was and cannot simply be discounted for convenience sake as many do today.  

II: Was Cornelius “Saved” or a “Believer” before he met Peter?

There is compelling textual evidence that Cornelius was a believer before he met Peter in Acts 10 we are introduced to Cornelius in the following manner:

  • He is a “devout” man(v.2)
  • God fearer (v.2)
  • He leads his family in worship (v.2)
  • He is an abundant giver (v.2)
  • He is faithful to God in prayer (v.2)
  • He had a vision of an angel of the Lord (v.3)
  • He offers prayers that availed before God (v.4)

Now these characteristics are not the characteristics of one who is merely a good gentile, pagan or pagan worshipper of his day. Part of the problem is the understanding of the word “devout” which has been applied by many scholars to describe a religious Greek. It has been traditionally held that this word does not carry a “Christian” religious sentiment. There are 3 words that are commonly used as “devout” in the Greek:

 Devout: Eulabes and Eusebus

1. eulabes (Strong’s 2126), lit., “taking hold well” (eu, “well,” lambano, “to take hold”), primarily, “cautious,” signifies in the NT, “careful as to the realization of the presence and claims of God, reverencing God, pious, devout”, in Luke 2:25 it is said of Simeon, in Acts 2:5, of certain Jews; in 8:2, of those who bore Stephen’s body to burial; of Ananias, 22:12 (see No. 2). “In that mingled fear and love which, combined, constitute the piety of man toward God, the Old Testament placed its emphasis on the fear, the New places it on the love (though there was love in the fear of God’s saints then, as there must be fear in their love now),” Trench, Syn., Sec.xlviii.¶

     NoteCf. the noun eulabeia, “reverence,” and the verb eulabeomai, “to reverence.”  

2. eusebes (Strong’s 2152), from eu, “well,” sebomai, “to reverence,” the root seb- signifying “sacred awe,” describes “reverence” exhibited especially in actions, reverence or awe well directed. Among the Greeks it was used, e.g., of practical piety towards parents. In the NT it is used of a pious attitude towards God, Acts 10:2, 7; (in some mss. in 22:12); “godly,” in 2 Pet. 2:9. ¶ In the Sept., Prov. 12:12; Isa. 24:16; 26:7; 32:8; Mic. 7:2.¶

 Notes: (2) Cf. theosebeia, and theosebes, which, by their very formation (theos, “God,” and sebomai, express “reverence” towards God. See Trench (Sec.xlviii).It is usage # 2 or eusebes (Strong’s 2152), that is reflective of the use of the word as it pertains to Cornelius. This word indicates that he “reverenced” God or held God in “awe” by his actions and lifestyle. These are hardly actions consistent with a pagan or a sinner who does not know God or the message of Jesus, either by way of his life personally or in his resurrection.  

(1) While eulabes especially suggests the piety which characterizes the inner being, the soul, in its attitude towards God, eusebes directs us rather to the energy which, directed by holy awe of God, finds expression in devoted activity.¶3. sebomai (Strong’s 4576), “to feel awe,” whether before God or man, “to worship,” is translated “devout,” in Acts 13:43, rv (kjv, “religious”); 13:50; 17:4, 17. [3]

It would seem that the word “devout” is certainly not restricted or indicitave to gentile or pagan worship. In fact the word used for devout in this context eusebus confirms an active and vibrant service toward God or religious faith. That vibrance and good work is what Cornelius was known and reported for in the entire Acts 10 discourse.   

Are There Textual Problems If Cornelius Wasn’t A Believer Prior To Meeting Peter?

Yes. I will point out at least two of them:

1- If Cornelius was not saved when we are introduced to him in Acts 10 what is his motivator to receive salvation?

The facts are that we are given a portrait of a man who already is in relationship with God in what many have said to be an unregenerate state or condition. This would be a very difficult pitch of the Apostles to try convince this man that there is a deeper relationship with God, when the evidence shows that he was experiencing visions, offering availing prayer and living out a godly life daily. In fact his very relationship with God would fly in the face of all Old Testament scripture especially that of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Isaiah 59:1-2 which says,

1Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Sin would have been a wedge between Cornelius and God. The scripture does not indicate that there was a gap between God and Cornelius in any way. The testimony that Cornelius was already saved is highly consistent with the Biblical narrative and scriptural evidence.

2- If God offers Cornelius some type of “provisional righteousness”, what does that say about the “blood atonement” and the judgement of God upon all unrighteousness?

Many have taken the scripture in Acts 10:35 ~ ” 35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” to indicate that God somehow “overlooked” Cornelius’s sin because he “worked righteousness”. Once again this is very problematic as one would have to also believe in alternate methods or routs of salvation outside of Jesus for “nations that work righteousness”. Once again this assertion does not stand under the weight of scripture as Jesus states that “no one comes to the father except through me” John 14:6(b) NKJV

What Happens If Cornelius Was A “Believer” Before He Met Peter?

If we deduce that Cornelius was already “saved” when he met Peter, that eliminates all major obstacles in helping to understand the Lord’s instructions to him.

In Acts 10:5-6 Cornelius was given instruction on what to do in order to get Peter back to him who would later be responsible for telling him “words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” Acts 11:14 If this were referring to the act of salvation, this would be a synergistic relationship whereby Cornelius takes part in his own salvation. For those holding views against synergism, it should be noted that without Cornelius “sending men” by God’s instruction salvation would not have come to him or his house. In others words Cornelius would be responsible or take part in saving himself.

This observation is very problematic for those who hold views against synergism and for those who believe that Cornelius was an unsaved individual when we meet him in Acts 10. This scripture alone would  give Cornelius “braggin’” rights to claim that he had to assist God in bringing salvation to himself. 

     Ephes. 2:8-9~ 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Since we know that God would not and did not violate his word, we would defy scriptural reason and basis to believe that Cornelius was an unbeliever BUT YET in deep relationship, communion with God and bringing salvation to himself.

How could he already be saved if according to Acts 11: 14 salvation was to “come to his house”?

I believe that this is one of the greatest misunderstandings of the entire encounter. Peter recants: 

     Acts 11:14-16 ~ 14Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”

We already know that “salvation” is through faith by confession: 

     Rom. 10:9-11 ~ “9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

The act of Peter was not to provide salvation as a matter of faith, but salvation as a matter of divine inclusion in God’s plan and among God’s people. A quick look at the word “salvation”

The verb was used in Acts 11:14 ~ “4982. swvzw soµzoµ, sode´-zo; from a primary sw`” soµs (contr. for obs. savo” saoás,safe“); to save, i.e. deliver or protect (lit. or fig.):— heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. [4]

 4982 sozo { sode’-zo} from a primary sos (contraction for obsolete saoz, “safe”); TDNT – 7:965, 1132; v

  • AV – save 93, make whole 9, heal 3, be whole 2, misc 3; 110
  • GK – 1751 { ejkswv/zw }* & 5392 { swv/zw }
  • 1) to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction
  • 1a) one (from injury or peril)
  • 1a1) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health1b1) to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue1b) to save in the technical biblical sense
  • 1b1) negatively
  • 1b1a) to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment
  • 1b1b) to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance[5]

Upon examination of the scripture, this word has very little to do with the condition or position of “faith”. This has to do with physical and spiritual preservation from danger or peril. Is this not the work of the Holy Ghost in the life of the believer? 

 Jn. 16:13 ~ 13Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Once again, if we understand that what Peter was doing had nothing to do with bringing a sinner to repentant faith, that makes the scripture much more understandable as to exactly what God was doing for Cornelius and what HE was doing for Peter’s understanding of “gifts” that he thought were previously allocated only for the house of Israel. 

III: What Was Peter’s Mission For Cornelius? 

In order to understand this we must pay full attention to the conclusions that Peter gathered from the dream. Peter recants something interesting that cannot simply be overlooked as it pertains to his vision. 

Acts 10:15 ~ 15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”

Toward the end of Peter’s vision he questioned the food based upon what he knew about ceremonial righteousness. We know that the vision is representative of the gentile’s whom God would save.

Notice how God speaks, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” This is rendered in the past tense. If this was referring to Cornelius, all God would be asking Peter to do would be to accept him into the church community because he is “already clean”. This is exactly what Peter does in verse 47 through extending to Cornelius the rite of Baptism.

The mission of Peter was not to bring Cornelius to “saving faith”, but to extend the opportunity to him to be a part of the church,  experience the Power of the Holy Ghost and receive the protection of God.

Summary:

  • There is strong scriptural evidence to suggest that Cornelius was either an eyewitness to Jesus ministry or his resurrection.
  • There is strong scriptural evidence to suggest that Cornelius was a already saved and God fearing individual before Peter came to his house.
  • There is evidence that Cornelius had a deep personal relationship with God that was observed by those around him. His faith was evidenced by his works. (James 2:20)
  • If Cornelius was not “saved” before he met with Peter he partook in his own salvation and thereby added to grace by his own works. This could be construed as synergism. Further his relationship with God would contradict scripture as he outlines that he cannot fellowship with sin or a sinner.
  • In light of all the evidence it is clear that Peter’s mission to Cornelius was not one to provide “saving faith” as in personal relationship, but “salvation” as in preservation for his soul, family and household deliverance.

Resources:

[1] William Smith; revised and edited by F.N. and M.A. Peloubet, Smith’s Bible dictionary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997.

[2] Richard Bauckham, “Jesus And The Eyewitnesses” 2006 Eerdman’s Publishing Pg. 115

[3] W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine’s complete expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[4] James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[5]Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc1995

84 Responses

  1. Marc Taylor says:

    Hello,

    The Sripture declares that Cornelius was not saved when Peter met him.

    (PHB~ Marc, Thank you for stopping by, but I believe that you may have missed the entire article for some reason. I would simply respond by saying where is this “scriptural declaration” as you put it. It simply doesn’t exist)

    Concerning the word “forgiveness” in Acts 10:43 Thayer (page 88) writes that it means, “forgiveness, pardon, of sins…remission of their penalty”. He then cites such passages as Acts 2:38; 10:43 and 26:18.
    Just as it describes the unsaved in Acts 26:18 so too it does so in Acts 10:43.

    (PHB~ Marc, that’s true. There is no confusion over the biblical meaning of the word forgiveness…only in this passage that word is NOT applied to Cornelius….In fact since I know I’m dealing witha staunch “Reformist” here let’s take this verse by verse:)

    Acts 10:34-43 ~ “34-Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35-But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

    PHB~ Peter speaks of what he now understands. This is a new understanding that he is sharing with Cornelius and his household

    36The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

    PHB~ Peter affirms what God has done by sending Jesus and further establishes the fact that Cornelius (at a minimum) already “knew” that word. “That word, I say, ye know,” Once again Peter confirms the relationship of Cornelius to the word and the historical Jesus. He then goes on to tell the historical path of the life of Jesus as follows:

    “38-How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.39-And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40-Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41-Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead”

    PHB~ Then Peter confirms the commission of the disciples

    42-And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

    PHB~ And the power by which they operate in that commission and the results of that commission:

    43-To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

    (PHB~These statement are statements of fact at no point does he apply these statements to Cornelius. If that were the case he would have done as he did in Acts 2:38 “38-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 Ghost.” Peter never hesitates to TELL the object of his message to repent. He establishes his own precident within scripture. He at NO POINT does this with Cornelius…It is a misreading and a flat iesegis of scripture to make Peter do other than is recorded in scripture with Cornelius.)

    Furthermore these Gentiles had yet to receive the Holy Spirit. After the outpouring on Pentecost (Acts 2:4) if a person did not have the Holy Spirit then they were not a Christian. In fact, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and to have the Holy Spirit poured on you means the same thing.
    Acts 10:45 poured = Acts 11:16 baptized
    But Pauls tells us in Titus 3:6 that the Holy Spirit has been poured on all who are Christians. This is how one becomes saved (Titus 3:5).

    (PHB~ Marc, thou dost be somewhat confused over the chain of events and subject matter outlined on this very site. Go to the Holy Ghost Synopsis so that you can receive additional information and address your misunderstanding in this area. FYI- The Holy ghost is a gift received SUBSEQUENT to salvation as outlined in our studies that bear strong scriptural support.

    Now to refute this argument regarding Cornelius, it will take some IN CONTEXT scriptural exegesis that neither I or the professors I’ve asked for review can find. So, you believe what you will…I’ll believe the word!—Thank Ya!)

  2. Marc Taylor says:

    1. The word forgiveness does apply to Cornelius in Acts 10:43. Not only did I cite Thayer but I alo point your attention to Acts 15:7, 8 when Peter recounts what took place. These Gentiles heard the word of the gospel and they believed. That is how sinners become saved. You must demonstrate that “believed” here does not mean going from unsaved to saved since the “gospel” is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).

    (PHB~ Marc, once again thanks for your comments. The scriptures you recite in Acts 15:7-8 only present a picture of Peter’s taking charge to diffuse an argument. Peter in v. 7 recants that “by his mouth” the Gentiles heard the word and believed. Only at NO POINT in his dissertation does he mention Cornelius is the “gentile(s)” that he is referring to. Commentaries often make this correlation as they often refer back to Acts 10 however that in no way makes Cornelius the object of his dissertation. Further luke records in Act 10 as I’v stated to regarding Cornelius that God tells Peter in the vision BEFORE he met Cornelius “What God hath cleansed (Past tense) call not thou common” Acts 10:15 and when Peter begins to speak to Cornelius he tells him, “That word I say ye Know…” Acts 10:37…In Acts 15 Peter is heading off a debate by taking credit as he knows the crowd will only listen to an Apostle on the greater issue of the work of Crist vs. the works of the Law. The facts remain in tact…CORNELIUS was ALREADY a believer BFORE Peter began to speak. Lexicons are not a substitute for what is actually outlined and there is no oral tradition that has survived to assume that Cornelius was not saved…In addition if he wasn’t saved he added to his OWN salvation and could by virtue say that if it weren’t for him following the sinstructions of the Lord (which God DOES NOT GIVE SINNERS) that he would not be saved.
    Therefore your argument is HIGHLY uncompelling if not down right heretical.)

    Not only that notice what both Thayer and Kittel state concerning the use of “believed” as it used here:
    a. I became a believer, a Christian (page 512).
    b. In Peter’s speech in 15:7 “to believe” is used in the sense “to be converted” (TDNT 7:728).
    I’d like to see any lexicla evidence that you have that supports the view that believe in this passage does not mean going from the state of being a non-Christian to a Christian.

    (PHB~ once again lexica goes so far in interpreting the complete scenario and in your case lexica DOES NOT address the issues at hand. If your argument is successful there are a host of additional problems presented whi make your assertions HIGHLY implausible)

    2. You completely avoided Acts 10:45 and Acts 11:16 coupled with Titus 3:6.

    (PHB~No, I avoid no particular argument. In fact I specifically deal with Acts 11:16 in the article pointing out what SOZO means and why that word DOES NOT point to spiritual welfare only natural wellbeing. So once again you trying to make the point is highly uncompelling as you offer NO EVIDENCE to defend your position and the evidence that you submit is not cogent or pertaining to the context of scripture)

    It is very clear. To have the Spirit poured on you and to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is the same thing. Titus 3:6 states that all who are Christians have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. Verse 5 informs us that this is how a person is saved – and yes the word “save” here means going from a non-Christian to a Christian.

    (PHB~ Now, you change the subject from Cornelius to the Baptism of the Holy Ghost which I have referred you to my current study to straighten out your confusion. Facts are that the Holy Ghost is (God) and is a gift from God that can ONLY be “received” by them that are saved. (Jn. 14:17) In EVERY reciteable instance of Holy Ghost Baptism in the New Testament it is clear to see that there was always first repentance, which leads to salvation FOLLOWED by either spiritual baptism, where the Holy Ghost is actually poured out or natural baptism as a means and mode of identification with the NATURAL church. These actions are NEVER one in the same within scripture and I challenge you to point to ONE instance where they are one in the same.
    It is a figment of your imagination and a presuppositional conclusion that you make WITHOUT scriptural warrant.)

    3. Just because someone knows of something does not necessitate that they embrace it (Acts 26:27, 28).

    (PHB~ You revert back to the original argument regarding Cornelius at this point paying NO ATTENTION to the structure of Luke’s writing when he reacnt’s PETER as affirming to Cornelius that He (Cornelius) “Knew” “from the beginning”(arxamenos) the word which was preached…By virtue of us later finding a man IN COMMUNION with God receiving visions, revelations and living out his faith daily…it begs the question that he is ALREADY SAVED. Once again your argument is UNCOMPELLING and UNSCRIPTURAL and further does not do justice to the doctrine of salvation)

    4. There is no such thing as a Christian devoid of the Holy Spirit. If you insist otherwise then you have a serious problem with Romans 8:9 and 1 John 4:13.

    (PHB ~ Was the thief on the cross a Christian or not? Were the 120 in the upper room Christians or not? The second fallacious argument and misunderstanding you present is when exactly when Christianity began. It began when Jesus said “It is finished” and died. Those who believed from that point on were Christians although we don’t see the word arise until later in sctipture. Once again this a fatal flaw of reform theology…failure to see your nose on your face because it wasn’t written in a lexicon…for shame)

    5. Peter did not have to tell the Gentiles to be water baptized for the forgiveness of sins in the name of the Lord as he does in Acts 2:38. This command was never given to the Gentiles.

    (PHB~ Corect in a sense. Baptism was never done TO remit sins, it was always for identification with the church as representative of one who’s sins had already been remitted, as in Cornelius’s case. That is clear in Acts 10:48. In fact is reads as follows:
    “And he commended them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”

    Marc, now we can ONLY dialogue if you’re willing to objectively and respectfully look at the material instead of approaching with a preconceived notion and trying to assert that notion. Your argumentation is weak in all areas as it pertains to at least these two subjects and I suggest that you rid yourself of them that have led you to the false assumptions that you’ve shared on this site.
    Thanks for stopping and I’ll be praying for your continued growth in the Lord.)

  3. Marc Taylor says:

    Acts 15:8 – …giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us.
    What happened to the apostles also happened to the Gentiles of Acts 10 (cf. Acts 11:17).

    Now look at Acts 11:15 – …the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning
    What happened to the apostles also happened to the Gentiles of Acts 10.

    Now look at Acts 11:16 – These Gentiles were baptized with the Holy Spirit –>The same holds true with the apostles (Acts 2:4 cf. Acts 1:5).

    (PHB~ Marc, this is it for you so unless you actually understand how to read and interpret the bible I don’t think there is anything of value you can add here…These scriptures are not in debate or question, your understanding of them is…When Jesus died and his blood was shed for the remissions of sins, THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED. Those that believed such as the disciples (most after the resurrection) were SAVED…If you deny this you don’t understand how to interpret the bible. The Old Covenant was finished according to Jesus own words. The New Covenant was in effect and demonstrated by the power of the resurrection. Those that came to Jerusalem were SAVED…already believers but had not received the Holy Ghost. this is what Acts 1:8 comes into effect while speaking to BELIEVERS not SINNERS…”And ye shall receive power “AFTER” that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…”
    This is what Peter confirms…the gentiles received the same experience that he and the Apostles received in Acts 2:4…What did peter experience? It was the baptism of the Holy Ghost NOT salvation as he came to the upper room ALREADY saved. The scipture can’t be more clear but you as an arrogant and MISINFORMED scriptural twister will make believe what you will…short of the long get out of the extra books, get on your face and allow the Lord to breath life into your understanding because it’s dark right about now.)

    Now look at Acts 11:17 – Peter says they received the SAME GIFT. This gift is the Holy Spirit. I would cite two lexicons that prove as such but you choose to make up your own deinitions.

    (PHB~ As noted above, “THE SAME GIFT” was the Holy Ghost NOT salvations as salvation was already posessed by grace through faith IN THE BLOOD THAT WAS ALREADY SHED.)

    Now look at Acts 10:45 – the Holy Spirit was poured on them –> So too with the apostles (Acts 2:33)

    (PHB~ quoting the scripture means nothing if you don’t know what they mean or how to harmonize them…you obviously don’t so what does this mean? What I’ve already refrenced above)

    That is your opinion that Peter is not referring back to the Gentiles of Acts 10.  

    (PHB~ And any Lexica you quote is ONLY the opinion of the Lexica editors and authors. Their OPINIONS are no more valid and there is more credible biblical evidence in support of my argument, but you confuse the act of receiving the Holy Ghost with the act of salvation and they are TWO DIFFERENT ACTS OF GRACE)

    a. On the other hand, in 15:7 the comparitively distant days of the first community in and around Jerusalem are intended, i.e., the time of the conversion of Cornelius, which is shown to be particular venerable by the use of arxomai (TDNT 7:728). The TDNT is not a commentary. It is a lexicon. Not only then are you just giving your own commentary but you can’t even distinguish between what is and what is not a commentary. You just make up your own definitions as you go along. Humpty Dumpty said, “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean”. Your assertions by how you define (really redine) the words involved belong in the realm of fairy tale theology. Don’t like the meaning of a word? Hey no problem. Just change it.

    (PHB~ I doubt if you even know what that means. So far as “fairy tale theology” you have obviously been indoctrinated in the “Calvinist School of LALA Makebelieve Theoologians” You can’t discern the order of scripture yet alone it’s message, so you’re certainly in NO POSITION to chastize me in any way for your ignorance)

    Since you can’t even understand these basic things there is no use addressing topics that require more spiritual insight. I’m not going to bother to teach someone how to read when they refuse to believe that a, b, and c are the first three letters of the alphabet let alone if they even belong in the alphabet!
    Later days….

    (PHB ~ Marc, this is not your blog page and I certainly wasn’t asking for your interpretation of things. All I ask for is if someone wishes to debate tha they at least know their bible first. You don’t know sound hermenutics and you certainly have no idea what the significance of Peter’s actions were to a man who WAS ALREADY SAVED when Peter came to accept him into the church. The EVIDENCE scripturally and otherwise is against you. Further you have done like the most ARROGANT person that you are and have not addessed any of the difficulties that you would have to overcome IF Cornelius wasn’t already saved…Those difficulties include and BIBLICAL exegesis of how a SINNER, has a fellowship with God, how a SINNER assists God in bringing salvation to himself and to his household, how a SINNER has visions and, prays regularly and is known in the community for his faithful service to God and the synagogue(church)…You’re whole premise is RIDDLED with problems that are far too many to innumerate because you are the epitome or arrogance, self-centered biblical exposition, and demonstration of one with a self serving proposition as it pertains to scripture and the understanding of scripture.

    As I said, come to an understanding of how and when a person receives salvation FIRST. Then we can look further because you’re not ready yet in any fashion.)

  4. Marc Taylor says:

    Arrogant?

    I assert something and back it up with lexicons while you assert the opoosite and back it up with…your opinins.
    Talk about arrogant!

    Yeah OK, you’re right and all the lexicons are wrong.

    Pitiful.

    PHB~What’s with you Marc? You make a bogus argument disregarding everything that I address simply because you don’t read it in a lexicon.

    You haven’t the slightest about how scholarly opinions and views of scripture are formulated, neither do you use any scientific method of deciphering the text…all you know is lexica…obviously you haven’t arrived at the ability to formulate your own conclusions based on the evidence. You wouldn’t last half past a rat’s behind in dialogue with any atheist expecially them that I know…You’re an “establishment king” who thinks that the thoughts you glean from commentaries and lexica are equivalent with complete biblical understanding of passages especially such as those dealing with Cornelius.

    Yes…that’s the definition of arrogance…a person who doesn’t care what the EVIDENCE says, attack others with differing opinions, and simply retort to repetition of arguments that have been found to be flawed…The only reason you hold your position is that because of your presuppositional bias and NEED for this scripture to align with your scriptural interpretive…If it doesn’t align, your control beliefs are challenged and even uprotted along with your complete understanding of biblical exegesis (at least in your world) because you’ve got to have a God that can be defined by lexica, commentary and your system of belief…THAT’S ARROGANT! You don’t have a corner on God or scriptural interpretation and all of your shoddy notions are challenged through this piece…

    Later Marc, I’ll not post another of your IDIOTIC appeals…Thanks.

    • robindonley says:

      Wow, I really enjoyed reading your article and your insight in the Scripture but if I’m honest, as a fellow brother in Christ after reading your rants back and forth with this individual, if I was a person searching for God’s truth and Jesus, I would have been so turned off as to why I should follow Jesus if this goes on. Defending your point is great but not allowing your emotions to get the better of you, causing others to be possibly turn off to following Jesus is something you might want to get in check. Not casting stones, just an observation to be noted. Again enjoyed the article. Blessings!

      • dunamis2 says:

        Thanks Robindonley,

        The truth is emotional. Anything that is as important as eternity should be. I apologize that I offend you in my explanation and defense of truth.

        Although this is not a good parallel, I was just thinking as you wrote, I can imagine that David looked mighty ugly after cutting off Goliath’s head or Samuel must have been pretty messed up after hacking Agag into pieces as well. Neither of those situation made anyone want to convert to Judaism I’m sure…Jesus turning over the money changer’s tables and even beating people out, may not have been too good of a witnessing tool as well I suppose….

        Debate is often challenging. The only thing I asked and demanded of Marc was for him to stay on topic and actually address the argument. Whether one disagrees or not, if the argument is addressed, that is respectful.

        What Marc did is deliver a system of theology called reformed theology and argued the passage. He refused to look at the passage without the lens of what he has been taught. I know that is challenging. However, truth does not change just because we want or need it to.

        I’m glad that you were edified, but looking at the commentary, yes it was hot, but it was also edifying. In it, i hope you can see nuances of the argument that I did not address in the article and maybe that will be beneficial as well.

        You do have my commitment to BREATH before I go at it next time however-LOL!!! Even though we can be angry and not be in sin, it’s not a good practice to be angry and to that point I certainly agree…

        Pray for me as I battle and I will certainly pray for you. THANK YOU and God bless!!!!

        H. Burnett

  5. Robert says:

    Nice job,
    you explained it in a very systematic, reasonable manner.

    There is no way around this…he was saved prior to Peter’s visit.

    thanks for taking the time to do this study.

    {PHB~ Thanks Robert. I know I take a risk falling away from the majority view but as you noticed, when all things are considred there is a very solid case here for the church in general to rethink Corneilus and what actually happened in the scripture regarding him. I appreciate you taking the time to consider what’s been outlined. God bless!}

  6. Robert says:

    PHB,
    Not only that…if you say that Cornelius wasn’t saved prior to Peter’s visit…you’ve got to overthrow about half of Paul’s teaching in Romans and say that the “natural man” CAN please God…

    naaaa

  7. dunamis2 says:

    Now that’s even another great thought and point! Wonderful.

  8. Michael says:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/recants
    re·cant (r-knt)
    v. re·cant·ed, re·cant·ing, re·cants
    v.tr.
    To make a formal retraction or disavowal of (a statement or belief to which one has previously committed oneself).
    v.intr.
    To make a formal retraction or disavowal of a previously held statement or belief.

    I think you might need to do a word search and replace “recount” instead of “recant”.

    (PHB~ Michael, I think you may want to actually study instead fo make unscriptural assertions as we’ll see through your rhetoric)

    Incidentally, I disagree with your conclusion on synergism. Just because Cornelius did what he was told in the belief he was following God’s direction doesn’t mean he contributed to his salvation in the sense that it diminishes the work of the Holy Spirit in the act of salvation.

    (PHB~OK, maybe you should define synergism especially as it pertains to monergism or the work of one. Youdisagree because it never occurred to you that was the case here.)

    Cornelius was a God-fearer, meaning he devoutly followed the Jewish rites and customs, believing in them for his salvation.

    (PHB~ That’s not in dispute. So you obviously hold to the thought that if Cornelius followed Jewish rites and customs for religious beliefs he obviously was introduced to the concepts of Messiahship through the same scriptures he honored. Since he was in close proximity to the events, he would either have to be dumb or disinterested not to know what was happening in his religion. Since scripture introduces Cornelius as a man who was not only devout but also smart it’s a streatch of the imagination to believe that he either didn’t know about or was never introduced to either Jesus or the events of Jesus life. The proof of the unnamed “Centurion” in the gospels, you just gloss over…why? because that little bit of “what if” places your lame theological construct (at least as you apply it) on its ear. Address the elements of scripture instead of trying to make it fit to your belief system)

    Unfortunately, just like all the Jews in Jerusalem who were not only devout but also circumcised and therefore under OT law, he and they were as much in need of salvation as each other. Being acceptABLE does not mean acceptED.

    (PHB~ What is the word used in Acts 10:35? looks like accept E D to me. You may want to RECANT or maybe you need a RECOUNT too.)

    We can adduce that God’s sovereign plan was to have Peter go and preach the gospel, whereby Cornelius would be saved.

    (PHB~ You can “adduce” that but as i point out it was much MORE than that.)

    Yes, he had heard of Jesus and what had been going on in Judea, but this is quite reasonable given that he was a God-fearer and therefore a frequenter of the synagogue.

    (PHB~Well, put 2 and 2 together and what do ya know?)

    It was probably a hot topic on everyone’s lips at that time, but we read that at the key moment where Peter talks about believing in him for forgiveness of sins, that is when the Holy Spirit falls. I think it’s reasonable to read into this that until that very moment, God had not granted him the gift of repentance, and in that moment he TRULY believed, solely through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

    (PHB~ OK, you at least attempt to make a good biblical argument here and one worth considering. The problem is that if this is your flow, you have a a sinner receiving revelations from God, and in close and strong communication with God. Is this even a characteristic of sin, that one can establish, have and maintain a close relationship with God and still live in it? Not according to Isaiah 59:2. If Cornelius was in sin, he could have verily received a dream according to God’s will to save him or something along those lines, but he LIVED daily in relationship with God. Why dimish the presence of God and promote that he establishes relationship even with unrepentant sinners? unless your THEOLOGY says he was saved even though he was unrepentant…that’s not bible, that’s a construct of men. I’ll follow the word.)

    To say Cornelius was saved already flies in the face of Romans 10:14, doesn’t it?

    (PHB~No, obviously he had already heard and been preached to…did you read the article? i lay ths out clearly.)

  9. Tony Davis says:

    Pastor,

    Having read your article, and seeing you’ve done much research, I cannot concur w/your conclusion, I pray this doesn’t keep us from loving one another, because we will disagree w/certain scriptual incidents/doctrine, but should never disagree w/the fundamentals of christianity. I concur w/the obvious conclusion that Cornelius, believed in the God of Israel, even though he wasn’t a jewish prostelyte, and adhered to jewish laws. But to believe that he was already saved I cannot, partly due yes, to my traditional/fundamental understanding of scripture.

    And yes I understand we shouldn’t allow tradition to get into the way of the commandments of God, and how He see’s things, I’m clear on that. Know I can get into why, I cannot concur w/you, but I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, and whether I make sense or not, you believe as you believe, as I would. I look forward to having more loving and challenging dialogue w/you, Lord willing in the future.

  10. dunamis2 says:

    Tony,

    You said;But to believe that he was already saved I cannot, partly due yes, to my traditional/fundamental understanding of scripture.

    Then your view is not scriptural. When your traditiona nd fundamental understanding stands in teh way of understanding what God is actually communicating through scripture, you’re no better or different than the Pharasiees who had changed the truth of God to suit their needs…

    Put this attitude in check my brother, because the tough question still remains…If Cornelius wasn’t saved, how did and does he have a relationship with God and what is his motivation to accept what Peter is saying if he already is experiencing fellowship with God? Wake up my friend!

  11. rpavich says:

    Hey! ya gotta give Tony kudos for at least admitting it!
    (that’s more than a lot do in situations like this)

  12. Tony Davis says:

    Dear Pastor,

    As I indicated, I’m not a tradionalist to the point, that it supercedes God will and intentions. I’m reminded of a situation, when the nation of Israel was having a revival under King Hezekiah, and some of the people from the northern tribes attended, but were not “ceremonial” clean, but God permitted there participation, because there “hearts” were right. So you see I understand the purpose of tradition, even God himself says in his Word, “remember your traditions.”

    And as I stated were not going to always agree or see everything the same, but what matters are we both lining up w/the Word of God. A coinn has two sides, but does it stop it from being a penny. Thats why I said I could go into why I don’t agree w/you, but I know you’ve already heard it, for I believe in the traditional episode w/Cornelius, and no matter what I said you would still uphold your view as I would, uphold mine. In my eyesight your still a man of God though we both disagree, on this subject. I hope you can still think the same of me

  13. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    If I might butt in here 🙂

    I believe the point that he was making was that unlike a penny, there is truth…and there is everything else.. 🙂

    A penny may have two sides, but there is no “that’s your truth, this is my truth…” or some such modernist thinking.

    As all scripture interpretation, the question is; who has handled scripture correctly and consistently, in it’s context; leaving nothing out?

    Whoever has done that…has made a good case for a particular truth…whoever is on the receiving end…needs to think about that and…ahem…change his traditions to match the truth… 🙂

    I hope you don’t take offense…but I been on the receiving end plenty of times…even over the issue of Cornelius’ salvation status..

    I had to take a hard look at the biblical facts…and changed my view.

    Just a thought.

  14. Tony Davis says:

    Beloved Pastor,

    This thought I will share w/you, our beloved Savior, said, “Noone can come unto me, unless the Father draw them.” Well, you and I both could not come unto the Son unless we received the unction of the Holy Spirit to do so, for you and I both know within ourselves we will not come unto the Son.

    [PHB~ Tony, none of those things are in question and are aside from what we see in teh scripture. You’re confusing the issue of God drawing with the practice of salvation.]

    Now you and I both know there are alot of people who say, they know God, but do not know the Son, I remember the Lord saying, “Noone comes unto the Father, but through me” I take this to mean you might know of God, but without first knowing the Son, you cannot know him intimately. Its one thing to know of someone, its another to know them.

    [PHB~ once again my friend, you’re preaching to the choir. That is not an issue in this and you would be hard pressed to make a case (at least successfully) that Cornelius only knew OF GOd and did not know God in the ultimate sense. The multiple lines of evidence contained within the narrative speaks volumes against this type of assertion.]

    And we both know, if one does not know the Son, then they cannot be sealed w/the Holy Spirit unto redemption, alas the twelve disciples coming from Ephesus and there encounter w/Paul, they knew of Christ, but were not sealed.

    [PHB~ Correctly speaking they were not “filled” with the Holy Ghost, a little more technically speaking they were not properly identified with Christ either (as they were baptized only under John’s baptism), so they had no expectation. So far as sealed you’re treading on thin ice here.]

    I remember only what we do for Christ will count, perhaps, just perhaps thats why Cornelius’s gifts came unto God, as a “memorial.” Now Pastor whether or not you concur w/my understanding, well I’ll just say, I would understand if you don’t.

    But allow me to say, just because I adhere to traditional/fundamental understanding of scripture, does not mean, I’m still a novice or drinking milk, I can assure you that is on the contrary, I can also still receive “illumination/revelation”, if God wills it, and I allow the Holy Spirit, to plant and water me.

    [PHB~ I don’t make the assumptions that your commentary is filled with. A lack of understanding or a developing understainding of certain aspects of scripture has nothing to do with milk and or spiritual maturity. I expect some to disagree but the basis for the disagreement is another thing. So far you have not dealt any with the arguments raised in the article and only appealed to authority other than the text itself. This is a fallacy. I only point that out. This has nothing to do with your salvation or being a novice. You see, deeper than that, it’s an error to assume that if there are interpretations contrary to yours that these is some sort of class distinction…this is flesh and not a biblical approach to scriptural reasoning. Anyway, thanks and you’re more than welcome to continue or comment on any story or feature that I do. God bless!]

  15. Tony Davis says:

    Thank you friend rpavich,

    I spoke of the penny perspective, because it has two sides, but what matters is are both lining up w/God’s word, and if so, there is no need for argument. You and I may have gone through the same thing, but God will bring us out differently, now is it not still God’s deliverance, we received?
    I know of some who hold to Pastor’s perspective,
    and I know of some who hold to the traditional perspective, now unless heresy and false teaching is being spoken, then I’ll argue, but this is not the case, only differing in opinions pertaining to the case of Cornelius. I’m reminded of the scripture, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ received us to the glory of God.”

    Now I receivce anyone who adheres to this concept of Cornelius, but I do not agree, and if so, why is that not alright, now if I’m adhereing to heresy thats another thing, and I’m open to correction, “A wise man loves correction.” We have to learn to agree to disagree on certain subjects, not causing unneccessary anguish w/one another, because you don’t see it the way that I do. Now friend rpavich, I truly appreciate your loving response to me, though you disagreed w/me,
    and I w/you, we don’t have to cut each other down though we disagree, “And be ye kind one to another.” I look forward, Lord willing to conversing w/you again, my friend.

  16. Tony Davis says:

    Pastor,

    I also appreciate your ending statement, in my last comment to you. I want you to know that I love you, and thank you for allowing me to continue commentary on your blog. And may the Lord bless you and keep you, also my friend.

  17. dunamis2 says:

    One thing I know, when we get home we’re gonna have the best bible study EVER!!!-LOL!!!!

  18. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    Can I be perfectly frank and not hurt your feelings?
    I’ve read your comments from the beginning till your last one to me and I have to say…in none of them did you actually address any of the points made with anything but a restatement that you disagree…

    Can you see why that would be incorrect?

    Weight out what’s being said:

    Side A: Lot’s of direct biblical evidence from history, grammar; the actual text is being dealt with very carefully.

    Side B: “hey…we agree but we can agree to disagree right? I just believe what I believe…”

    Can you see how one is a good, reasoned, solid argument from scripture,and the other is really nothing?

    If you disagree, that’s no problem but your disagreement (if it’s to be worth anything) needs to include your alternate reading of the text and also evidence that is more complete, comparable, and accurate than the side that you’re arguing against.

    EXAMPLE: My point to you was that if you cannot bring forth a good solid reasoned argument why Cornilius wasn’t saved prior to Peter’s visit, then you are obligated as a Christian to change your view. Plain and simple. (I mentioned that I’ve done it numerous times including my understanding of Cornilius’ salvation timeline)

    You answered by using the “penny” illustration and I said that unlike a penny…there is one truth…Cornilius was either saved beforehand, or he was saved as a result of that visit…but there is no “dual truth” like sides of a penny.

    And your last post shows a complete lack of either understanding of what’s being said or just a simple refusal to address it.

    Please understand, and don’t get hurt feelings…that’s not my intention, but this is important stuff, God’s word deserves to be treated differently than other things that we just shrug off in life.

    So Tony…what do you think? Has the Pastor made a case that is error filled or do you need to rethink your position?

  19. Tony Davis says:

    Friend Rpavich,

    Thank you for responding to my comment, but as I said before, God can give me a perspective of a certain portion scripture, as he can give you, but he’ll give us both different view points, which in the end were both lining up w/his Word. And my friend, you didn’t hurt my feelings, because your simply being candid, not cruel and malicious, and even if you were cruel and malicious, I would deal w/it according to the fruit of the Spirit, not my flesh, because I would still remember your my brother in Christ, and are to be dealt w/accordingly. I choose, meekness which is a fruit of the Spirit, which has nothing to do w/passivity or timidity.

    As I stated, if I felt the Pastor spoke w/heresy or teaching falsely, then I would speak on it, without hesitation, but thats not what I deemed, so I simply differed without getting into an argument, which I again deemed unneccessary. Allow me to give this example for what it is, Gamelia when addressing the Sanhedrin about the christians, said, “If God is not w/them, then whatever they do, will not last, but if God is w/them, you will not be able to overcome them.”
    So if Pastor is correct in his estimation, and I am wrong then praise God for illumination and correction. My friend, I hope this is more clear. Once again thank you for your comments.

  20. Tony Davis says:

    Friend Rpavich,

    If you would permit me further, to express my motives, upon venturing upon this topic, I read alot of statements, and witnessed alot of going back and forth, and some of the words and phrases exchanged were to be desired. Now I no when heated words are exchanged theres going to flare ups, so I’m not naive to that. Now those who adhered to the traditional point of view about Cornelius, I agreed w/and those they held to Pastor’s point of view I disagreed with. Now having said that, I could see that Pastor and others who adhered to his point of view, where staunch in that view, and regardless what was said, would remain in that view, as those of us who hold to the traditional view are.

    So in disagreeing w/Pastor, I saw no need to pursue a line that was apparently obvious of the outcome. There comes a time, when we must leave each other in the Lord’s hand, and he’ll bring darkness to light, constant confrontation will only lead to frustration and schism, thus maturity must rise to the forefront, when dealing w/the brethren. I’m and ex-Marine Sergeant of Marine Force Recon, and I’m not afraid of confrontation, but I strive to use wisdom in that pursuit. As Solomon would say, theres a time for everything, and due to the obvious outcome, and the staunchness of views, I choose brotherhood, if you can understand my friend.

  21. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    First…let me say bless you for your attitude…I could learn a thing or two from you in that regard…

    Having said that…I’m not clear on one thing…maybe you could shed some light on it…

    How is it that two brothers in Christ can have opposite views of a portion of scripture, yet they both “line up with His word…”?

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    PHB says: Cornelius was saved prior to Peter’s visit.

    You say: No…that’s not true…

    I’m left wondering how both of those to can be correct?

    [PHB~ Now that is quite a pickle now isn’t it?]

  22. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    can I make an observation and not offend?

    If my view of a certain subject is not the view of scripture…am I not obligated to change my view?

    Quote:
    There comes a time, when we must leave each other in the Lord’s hand, and he’ll bring darkness to light, constant confrontation will only lead to frustration and schism, thus maturity must rise to the forefront, when dealing w/the brethren

    That paragraph sounds to me like a cop-out statement.

    Just holding on to a belief because you want to is not a good reason to hold it…holding on because you’ve done all of the homework necessary and all of the research and bible study and the evidence points you to a certain conclusion…THAT’S a good reason to hold a belief….right?

    EXAMPLE:
    You: “Jesus Christ is God”
    Me: “…ah…I don’t think so…”
    You: “..yes here is the evidence from scripture..”
    Me: “..yes..I see the evidence, but I’m going to hold to my belief that Jesus is just a prophet…we just see it differently…”

    Now…what would you say to me? Would you say that i needed to change my belief? Of course you would!
    You wouldn’t say that we have “different perspectives” on this…or that “these are two sides of the same penny….”

    You’d say that I need to adjust my belief to fit what scripture says on this topic…

    That’s been the point I’ve been laboring to make for several comments now…

    I’ve done it plenty of times…I don’t need a lightning-thunder sign from God…I see that I’m wrong…I change my belief…

    Simple.

  23. dunamis2 says:

    Tony,

    You said:” I’m and ex-Marine Sergeant of Marine Force Recon,”

    Thank you for serving my friend. My Stepfather was 35 years Air Force by way of Army. I was accepted to Colorado Springs Academy but choose not to go for my own reasonings. However, I commend the discipline necessary to serve. We all appreciate you!

  24. dunamis2 says:

    Rpavich,

    Changing one’s beliefs is the most difficult proposition. Too many think that their total world view is somehow uprooted when an adjustment is necessary. I mean this can be in slight matters, but it’s intimidating to challenge one’s core.

    That’s the purpose here. The reason you don’t hear a lot about the particular view I’ve outlined is because you have mainline, conservative reformed individuals promoting and holding most serious dialogue along these lines and there is a lot a stake IF they have to adjust their theology on this point.

    They could simply say…”we’ll that’s an exception” or that there was some sort of ‘progressive revelation’ but the more one tries to explain it away scripturally, the worse it gets.

    Apply Occam’s Razor. When all facts are considered it is much more easy to realize that Cornelius was in relationship to Christ BEFORE he met Peter. God TOLD HIM what to do to bring Peter into his environment. 1- Can we honestly believe that a “sinner” is going to obey GOd??? OK here comes Baalim??? But look at that though…Baalim may have obey God in blessing Israel, but he did nothing to identify himself with God or his people.

    This is good fella’s. I may do another workup on the other site on this topic and freewill which is another highly confusing and confused area of understanding.

  25. Tony Davis says:

    Friends,

    Pastor, thank you for honoring me, of my service to this country, and now we all (3) serve hand in hand in the Army of the Lord. Rpavich thank you for your edification of my desiring to yield and submit to the fruit of the Spirit, for without his indwelling presense, I would neither submit nor yield. My dear friends’, how about this, Moses and Joshua send spies into the land, one sends (12) the other sends (2) yes to accomplish (2) different things, but the same result is reconnaissance.

    Paul and James talk about faith, yes there talking to (2) different groups of people, one lets us know were justified by faith, and the other lets us know, if you have faith, then put it to work, but its faith nonetheless. Also I’ve never been considered a closed minded person, on the contrary very open minded, and if were all honest we all have staunch views, and it will take an act of God (smile) to change them, truth be told my friends. Christ does not have force himself on anyone, for whether you believe or not, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” So in the same way, I don’t deem the need to force my views of scripture on anyone, I can share and tell you, but its up to you, whether you receive or not.

    I’m reminded of the Lord speaking to the disciples, “If they don’t receive you, knock the dust off of your feet.” I do not take God’s Word in vain, I can assure you my friends. And the Lord said himself, “Theres many things I can tell you, but you cannot bear it”, just for humilities sake perhaps this is one of those things for me, I would pray be not to critical, of me, but understand, as I attempt to understand you both, and share in the love and wisdom that us (3) can share w/one another and the entirety of the body of Christ.

  26. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    With all due respect…that was a nice long paragraph…but I’m left wondering…

    So…did you submit to God’s word on this or did you refuse?

  27. Tony Davis says:

    Friend Rpavich,

    I must tell you I’m not into flattery, not saying I’m not capable of it, I’m just as capable as the next person, but however have not yielded unto that spirit of lies as of yet. But my friend, as I’ve said on other occasions, I disagree w/this particular topic. Now having said that, it doesn’t mean I’d disagree w/another topic, that Pastor might share and discuss in the future.

  28. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    So I guess we leave it at this:

    “I know that Scripture says that Corneilus was saved prior to Peter’s visit but I refuse to submit myself to scripture….though I have no good reason not to”

    I’m not being mean but I am wondering how in the world a person can say this and not be embarassed?

    We expect this out of unbelievers, the cannot submit themselves to God’s word, but we should be different right?

    I guess I’m flabbergasted…

    Have a good day…this one is done.

  29. Tony Davis says:

    Friend Rpavich,

    I remember me and my wife had disagreement, about something, she became very angry w/me because she was trying to “FORCE” her perspective on me, and I just didn’t see it her way. I said to her, “honey perphaps later on after I look at it again, I’ll see it differently, well of course that wasn’t enough, because she wanted me to see it her way, right then and there. Well later, after she left me alone about, gave me time to stew on it (smile), I eventually saw it her way, and came and told her, that I have submitted to your perspective.

    Now if I say I disagree, well perhaps later on might change my mind and have a different perspective, but at this point, I do not subscribe. Sometimes it can be just as dangerous trying to force a point or perspective on a person, as well as them not receiving it. Paul did not receive the christian faith, right off, remember he was present at the stoning of Stephen. He definetely disagreed w/them so much to the point, he had orders to hunt them down, well we all know what happened to him and what he became. A man who was so adamentally opposed to the body of Christ, became one the greatest preachers/missionarys who ever lived.

    I know you want me to see it your way, I just don’t right now, try to understand that, and not be agitated w/me, we agree and we disagree, now whether I believe Cornelius was saved before Peter’s visit is not going to effect my salvation or my love for Christ nor my love for you, now if my love for you is based upon you agreeing w/every perspective I have, now is that love? And especially over something that is not going to effect salvation. Christ is not going to ask me on that day, whether or not Cornelius was saved prior to Peter’s visit, but he is going to ask me, whether my heart was open to my brother and sister, my salvation and rewards, will definetely be depended upon that. I look to having more loving and challenging dialogue w/you in the future.

  30. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    I’m not forcing you to do anything…I’m just pointing out that for a bible believing Christian…refusing to change ones view in light of the facts is incorrect behavior.

    that’s all.

    I was just wondering which you’d chosen because I couldn’t figure it out from your answer.

    You’ve said “we can agree to disagree…” several times…and yes….we disagree. But that’s a double-speak cop out for “won’t submit to the word.”

    Now….if you’d come up with some good rational exegesis showing how Cornelius wasn’t saved prior to Peter’s visit…then we’d have something to talk about…’

    The rest is just smoke and mirrors…

  31. Tony Davis says:

    Friend Rpavich,

    I do not know whether or not, you still consider me a friend, but nonetheless. You keep stating, I’m not submitting to the word of God, well there are many that hold to my views about Cornelius, and would say, your not submitting to the word of God. Thus here we go, going back in forth about whose not submitting to the word of God. I’m the type of person, once again, I’m not going back in forth w/you, especially when, I already know, your not changing your view, and neither am I. But I can take gladness in were going back in forth, about whose not submitting to the word of God, and in the end the only thing, thats going to occur, is us getting indignant w/one another, which is definetely not of God, between the brethren.

    Yes healthy debates will get hot, but just how far are we willing to go, until God whispers to us, thats enough leave them to me. No wonder the Lord says, “Vengence is mine sayeth the LORD”, can you imagine if it was left to us. Well history has already taught that, and some of the blog rebuttals we have w/one another proves that as well.

  32. rpavich says:

    Tony,

    Quote:I do not know whether or not, you still consider me a friend, but nonetheless.

    (Yes…disagreeing doesn’t make us not friends…)

    You keep stating, I’m not submitting to the word of God, well there are many that hold to my views about Cornelius, and would say, your not submitting to the word of God.

    (I realize this…and I’d say that they are wrong. I don’t know what evidence they’ve been presented with…if they’ve seen what you seen, and cannot produce a good reason to believe other than “it’s just my tradition” then yes…they are not submitting to the word also.)

    In the end…yes…we do disagree, but I know that I believe what I believe based on a careful study of what the word says about the subject. I could be wrong…no doubt about that…but it’s not because I haven’t looked at the evidence…or refused to see the evidence.

    As Martin Luther said “..my conscience is captive to the word of God…”

    Not traditions.

    Have a good day brother.

    bob

  33. Tony Davis says:

    Brother Bob,

    You surely are “persistent” (smile), “The race isn’t given to the swift and the strong, but to those who will preserve to the end”, I see you are the epitome of that (smile) which we all should be.
    Bob, I too am very studious, “Study to show thyself approved, a workman unto Jesus Christ, rightly dividing the word of truth.” And when I
    examine this topic, I too am staunch in my position. You appear to want me to explain, why I hold to my view, which I said earlier when
    speaking w/Pastor about it, I said, I will not go into it being that, he had already been confronted, w/the view by others already.

    So I didn’t deem it neccessary to go over it, just for the sake of argument, for in my point of view, for what purpose, will it be for his sake, to illuminate him, and his better good, or to cause him to see it my way, when its already been determined, thats not going to happen. Do not be so caught up, because I refer to myself as a traditionalist/fundamentalist, its simply my biblical view point, it doesn’t mean I’m narrow minded. Some of us when seeing and hearing the sound of a word or phrase base our opinions on exactly that, like the word “meek” we know it to be a “fruit” of the Spirit indicating “gentleness” and “kindness” to the highest degree, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

    Or the Lord when referring to himself, in the great invitation, “I am meek and lowly at heart.” But so often, and I’m talking about believers’ refer to “meekness” in the same category as, “passive” and “timid”, all because of the sounding of the word. Its like, oh my God, your a baptists or a pentecostal, or worse a catholic. Just a thought I threw out there.

  34. Tony Davis says:

    Bob,

    This also crossed my mind, “One does the planting, one does the watering, but God does the increase.” It could be a case where my views, didn’t change w/the planter, but changed w/the waterer, or perhaps not changed w/either of them, but when the Lord came along, increasing that which was planted and watered, then finally I received the increase. Again just a thought.

  35. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    So…I guess that comes as a surprise…you didn’t seem to have an exegetical reason before now for holding the opposite position…but now you seem to.

    Before you said it was only your traditions but now you said that it was the result of careful study…fair enough.

    Can you summarize for me the greatest reason that you believe this article to be incorrect?

    If you have some evidence that is as strong as what’s been presented here…then we ought to hear it…If I’m wrong about this, I’d surely like to know so I can weigh out the evidence and come to a better understanding.

  36. Tony Davis says:

    Bob,

    My reasons are the same as the individuals who confronted Pastor in the beginning of his blog, which I’m sure you researched and examined. Thats why I said, to him, I wouldn’t debate/argue the issue being he’s already been through it, and what different was I going to say, that would change his mind, or his mine. Please read carefully my statements dtd 4/28/10 at 12:55am, 2d paragraph. And you’ll see I’ve been saying the same thing, why repeat already what Pastor has heard, and disputed.

  37. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    Again…with all due respect…you’ve never said that this whole comment thread.
    Here is your comment at 4/28/2010 12:55am

    Quote: But to believe that he was already saved I cannot, partly due yes, to my traditional/fundamental understanding of scripture.

    And yes I understand we shouldn’t allow tradition to get into the way of the commandments of God…”

    That’s all you’ve said so far, that you disagree, but you have no real solid reason for doing so except that you have “traditions” that you won’t let go of.

    I read your other rebuttal, in which you actually interacted with PHB (4/28/2010 10:11pm) and you didn’t have anything at all that was relevant to the passage that would show that his understanding was incorrect…not one thing.

    All I asked you was: What was the big piece of evidence that SHOWS THAT HIS EVIDENCE IS INVALID…

    He brought a lot of well-reasoned, exegetical, cultural evidence to bear on this issue…which is exactly the way in which we are supposed to approach any subject in scripture..and he showed that Cornelius was saved prior to Peter’s visit.

    If there is any sort of real evidence that points the other direction…I’m anxious to see it and weight it out to make sure that my understanding is on firm footing; if it’s not…I have to change my understanding.

    So far…none has been uncovered in this thread.

    • dunamis2 says:

      Rpavich,

      I would certainly agree. I too don’t want to hold an unsupportable view of scripture and I’ve asked others to review what I’ve written about this subject and received the same empty response. Now it comes a time when either we’re doing and believing something because of what is supportable by scripture or we’re believing and doing something in spite of what is supportable by scripture. it may not matter in small things such as playing checkers or matters that do not infringe upon our understanding of salvation and God within salvation, but it does matter when we affirm principles whereby lives are effected. to teach that Cornelius wasn’t saved before he met Peter sets the message and purpose of salvation on it’s head awkwardly, as well as shades some of the revealed nature of God and I believe could lead to further error. So this can be quite a significant issue.

  38. rpavich says:

    PHB,
    Yes…that’s what I’ve been trying to get across to Tony…we don’t have the luxury to not do an Acts 17:11 on what we hear…

    You are right, this may not seem like a huge thing but it cuts to the heart of the gospel…is the unsaved man able to have a relationship with God? (a positive one anyway)?

    Is the natural man able to please God?

    What about all of the other Old Testament saints? Were they any different?

    If you say that Cornelius wasn’t saved…(as Ricky Recardo would say) “..you got a lotta ‘splainin to do!”

  39. Tony Davis says:

    Pastor and Bob,

    You missed the part where I exclaimed to Pastor, and that was out of respect, not to go over w/him debates and agruments, that he had already gone over w/other brethren about this issue. All that would have ocurred is the same thing w/me, that it had w/them, and what would it have accomplished, just me wanting to be right and prove him wrong. I reminded of what David said to Saul, while constantly hunting him, and I will quote it partially and not in its entirety, because its not neccessary to my statement. David, said to Saul, “The LORD will judge between me and you”, now having said that, if those who agree w/Pastor will be found true, praise God, if those who support the traditional way be found true, then also praise God.

    I would say and its just my opinion the church has been torn apart too many times because of issues like this, it ocurred once w/the issue of faith/works, and of the last century, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, lets not let this, of all things, become one of them. Brothers, I’m the type of person, whose not afraid of confrontation, but when I do, I desire to use wisdom when doing, and not to, just because I can, and others want to bring me to that point, by either mocking me, or by slightly defaming me, I will not be offended by the offenses. Now again I will not debate nor make an argument w/Pastor or anyone else, when I’ve clearly examined the comments and rebuttals w/others, who hold my point of view, and know, most certainly the outcome will most assuredly be the same.

  40. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    I’m sorry to hear you keep repeating that you think this is about winning and losing; about proving the other person wrong…

    That’s too bad.

    In my opinion, we are to examine God’s word and seek the truth, even if it goes a direction we don’t want it to…

    I HOPE that you aren’t lamenting the Protestant Reformation right?

    Yes, it was faith vs works but it was really TRUE GOSPEL VS FALSE GOSPEL..

    Please Tony…don’t try to win an argument or think that we are.

    I came here 1 year ago not knowing if Cornelius was saved before or after Peter came to him.

    I saw the evidence, I got with some more mature Christians and studied the matter….

    The evidence pointed one way and so I was obligated to go that direction.

    God bless and i guess this one’s over.

    • dunamis2 says:

      Rpavich,

      Believe me, I have some friends who did and do the same. nothing to be discouraged over or about. Allow God to touch his heart. If tony, is serious, which I believe he is, teh Lord will grant him an epiphany over this matter and that connection will take place. in the meantime I’m glad that both of you brothers are on the Lord’s side and that we can fight for the Kingdom together.

      We’ll sort through this and heal one another’s wounds. Like Tony learned, we won’t leave anyone behind and we’ll keep making the argument for the edification of the body and God will give grace.

      Like I said, in the reformed circle it is a given that Cornelius wasn’t saved. He is hailed as the churches first gentile convert in the many commentaries. This is TRADITION and tradition only. There is no foundation for that. now, I would say someone is entitled to say that as long as they don’t say that the bible teaches it, because it’s clear that it doesn’t, and there’s more than ample evidence that this man had a relationship with God prior to hearing Peter’s message and that Peter’s only job was to bring him into the church. God had already brought him into fellowship.

      BTW, if I haven’t done so, I’m adding your site to the list on my main site sidebar under Upholding Truth. I’ll check to see if I did already, but it looks like you’re putting in some great work over there! Good job!

  41. Tony Davis says:

    My Two Dear Friends,

    Pastor, once again as I told, you have proven your “Pastor’s Heart” and Bob your zeal for truth is encouraging. Brothers, as there are many gifts in the body of Christ, so would it be the level of understanding. I pray everyday to go to a higher level of understanding in the Lord, w/LOVE at the forefront, for without it there is no understanding for God is LOVE. The Lord says, “I’m a rewarder of those who diligently seek me” and I know that I can’t desire or do this, without his prompting, and without you both, and the entirety of the body of Christ at my side, for there is no place for lone rangers in the Kingdom. May the Lord bless and keep you both, and may his light, shine within your hearts, as you both shine within mine. Your Friend…Tony

  42. rpavich says:

    You’re right.

    God must do the “eye opening”…as Tony mentioned many times.

    My fault…Tony, excuse me for my bull-headedness.

    You are both brothers in Christ…

    God bless,
    bob

  43. Tony Davis says:

    Bob,

    Theres no fault, my friend, we all can be alittle bull headed at times (smile). As I said before, praise God for your persistence, which is needed in the body of Christs, at this moment and time, more than ever. I leave you w/this most wonderful verse of scripture, “And let us provoke each other, unto love and good works.”

  44. rpavich says:

    Tony,
    thank you.
    I needed that.

  45. Dear Harvey Burnett,

    If you don’t mind me chiming in on this discussion and if it not old, outdated or “shelved”, so to speak. But it seems to me that if you believe that Cornelius was saved before Peter preached the gospel to him (which BTW I believe is possible) then it may very well , or good chance, that he was baptized by John the Baptist as the rest of the Apostles. I am not sure that you support the logical outcome of your arguments, H.B., but your position supports that one must be baptized to receive the forgiveness of sins. That is that one must be water baptized in order to be saved. What is your theological position on this and on Acts 2:37,38??

    (1) As you mentioned that Cornelius know of Jesus’ ministry from the time of Galillee are you saying then that he was baptized by John?

    (2) What is your theological view of Acts 2:38 then??

    I ask this because I believe you made a statemnt that water baptism is not salvific and yet your account of Cornelius leads to that conclusion. Would you respond

    Mike Karoules
    metro-Atlanta, Georgia
    effort to be a serious Bible student and am over 40 years old; single.

    Cordially,

    Mike

    • dunamis2 says:

      Mike,

      Thanks for reading and stopping by and I hope that this site blesses you.

      So far as the “essentialness” of baptism for personal salvation as often espoused by a literal reading of Acts 2:38, I can say that I DO NOT espouse that position. I don’t believe that anything I’ve said supports that assertion. Baptism was a rite given whereby the individual was identified with Christ by way of the church or body of believers. I believe it is incorrect to imply that any member of the NT church was baptized to be saved. Baptism is certainly a command of God in response to personal salvation and clearly seen within scripture as causing one to identify with the church. It is in that context that Cornelius’s baptism occurrs within scripture. Prior to this event he was outside of the church, but I contend based on scriptural evidence in Christ.

      Now, might he have been baptized by John the Baptist? That is a possibility that you bring into the discussion. It would make sense that they (the Apostles) would have been re-baptized into the NT church and the acts of Jesus himself, such as breathing on them, and them personally witnessing and physically handling him in his glorified condition etc, could have very well signified a sort of special apostolic baptism. That is an interesting dynamic, question and observation.

      Hope that clarifies my position. Blessed!

      • HB,

        Tks for your response. It really means something to me. This discussion was important to me because of (somewhat) of a “struggle” I am dealing with. And that is trying to reconcile the 2 conversion accounts in the book of Acts (Acts 2 and then Acts 10). I believe you know where I am going with this.

        (1) I believe that you are saying that whether Cornelius and family/friends were baptized by John(forefunner of Jesus) is of no real consequence to the issue at hand in this present discussion. Is this true?? IOW, whether Cornelius and his house was baptized by John is not the real issue which began this topic?? Baptism is a side issue here or no immediate consequence.

        (2) I believe that we can all agree that at least by the time that the Holy Sp. fell upon Cornelius and his family/friends they were saved(to the fullest) and in Christ by then. Do you agree with this statement??

        (3) Would the issue then be whether Cornelius was saved before Peter’s arrival and sermon?? This question just to solidify everything.

        I thank you for all y our comments for you have made me see some things that I have never seen before in regard to Cornelius.

        There are some that believe that Cornelius, even being baptized in the Holy Sp. (see Acts 10:44 and Acts 10:45) was still not saved and still not in Christ. But that his salvation occured in actuality when Cornelius and his house submitted to water baptism. They go to Acts 2:38(and Galatians 3:24,25 for another example) to support this. They do seem to make a good case for this and bring other texts in play to show that their receiving the Holy Sp.(the baptism of the Holy Sp.)

        So I am just asking you, if you wish, how do you reconcile the conversion accounts in Acts 2 with that in Acts 10,(and Acts 11:1-17)??? And…

        HB, do you believe the gift of the Holy Sp. as mentioned in Acts 2:39 is the same as the gift of the Holy Sp. mentioned in Acts 10:45??

        Any time you can give on this matter I would thank-you because as a serious Bible studier(I believe) this has been stumping me for some time.

        Thank-you, HB.

        Cordially,

        Mike Karoules
        metro-Atlanta, GA
        loving to read the Bible

        HB,

  46. HB,

    I made a mistake in one of my last questions but I think you caught it. I will correct myself anyway: Do you believe that the gift of the Holy Sp. mentioned in Acts 2:38 AND 2:39 is the same as the gift mentioned in Acts 10:45??

    I also am curious to how you reconcile the assertion or assumption that Cornelius was in Christ before Peter’s arrival to Casarea(to Cornelius’ house) but not yet in the church. For, to be in Christ is to be in his church!! No?? I should have prioritized this question first or 2nd. But from the discussion above I think I am to understand that you maintain that Cornelius was saved and in Christ before Peter came to his house but was not yet in the church. What gives???

    • dunamis2 says:

      Mike,

      Sorry for the delay in getting to you. I have a few projects I’m working on at present.

      There are a few faults to your analysis and I’ll deal with the more poignant ones:

      1- Peter’s preaching in Acts 2:38 was as a result of people looking on to see what was happening to the NT church. These people were indisputably unsaved and didn’t know Christ. None of them were baptized to be saved. The Greek word “eis” or “for”, when connected to that particular phrase does not emphasize the baptism “in order to be” saved. It is a baptism “because” one is saved or because sins have been remitted. In the context in which he is preaching to the sinners in v.38, it is the “Repent” that is the focus of the verse followed by the “and be baptized” as an outward display as identification with the natural church, “for” or “because” your sins have been forgiven. Everyone readily understands this when you see a police warrant. The warrant may say something like, “Joe Blow wanted for armed robbery” Now does anyone interpret that to mean that Joe Blow is wanted “in order to commit” armed robbery??? No. We understand that “for” would indicate, “because of” in that circumstance.

      Remission of sins is clearly laid out in the NT as through repentance and faith in the mature (finished) work of Christ. Repentance and faith were the keys to this salvation. One could interpret the verse “repent in addition to being baptized” but the problem is that now there are 2 things that need to be done to be saved, “repentance AND baptism.” This is unbiblical. Unless you want to argue for multiple ways of salvation such as baptism and or faith or a combination of both, either way you’re left with very little to support those types of assertions from scripture. Ceremonial washings were a part of the OT. The transition is that they represent identification in the NT. That leads to the second point:

      Cornelius was not identified with the physical church. He was already in the spiritual church, but the believer’s command of identification was to be a part of the physical or natural church also. So this is how Cornelius can be saved and not a part of the natural church. If you don’t make a distinction between the two, then this part can’t be understood. One thing is for sure, we all know that everyone who is a part of the natural church won’t be saved. So that indicates a distinction. The baptismal ceremony is certainly a command of obedience but there is no NT baptism in order to be saved.

      I revised my commentary as I was on my way to the Dr. when I wrote initially, Thank GOd I was approaching pneumonia and didn’t know it…By HIS grace!

  47. Mike Karoules says:

    Dear Harvey Burnet,

    I wrote somewhat of a lenghty and “thought out response” to your latest reply but lost it all because after I typed it out and went back to type in my name “in the required field;” and, in so doing, lost my entire response. I do not see an assigned block for my name to be typed in. I only see “Name” which is on top of the box that is for my “email” and so thought that all I needed was my email. So I sent back and lost my post to you.

    But I see that you responded and I thank you for you reply. I will write back, I plan and God willing in the futre some time.

    As I mentioned before (I think) this discussion was key to an issue I have been tying to come to grasp with for some time. thank you for your thoughts and kind response.

    I do not interpret Acts 2:38,39 the way you do. Just let me say that you seem to have done some lingustical “gymnastical moves” to arrive at your postion especially with the use of the word “Eis” which does not mean or denote in the caustive sense as you maintain. Or it does not USUALLY mean this in the normal sense. “Eis” means motion into or “in order to” as in order for something to be done or in order for something to be achieved. If Peter had used “Dia” in place of “Eis” it would have removed all doubt for all time. I take it you know some Greek, yes??

    [PHB~ Mike, thanks for your reflections and I see I will have to make this part of a larger post on wht the bible doesn’t teach regenerative baptism. The first thing to note is the word that is used as you correctly point out, but the next thing to note is context in which that word is used. You do half the job but offer no additional context. I made no “gymnastical move” to get to the point. In fact it is the only clear reading of the scripture or you would have synergistic salvation, or a method of salvation that one could bring to themselves by their own action. The only “action” that God requires is the action of repentance. He does not need a “pool” of baptism. So the sense in which the word is used and placed and the context in which it is given go together to make the case. ” Repent and be baptized for remission of sins” is actually spelling out “repent and be baptized because your sins have been remitted.” This is later affirmed by Peter in

    Acts 3:19~ “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of REFRESHING shall come from the presence of the Lord;” here baptism is not mention as an act of significance in either conversion or repentance.

    Further Rom. 10:8-10 “8-But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 -That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10- For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

    What we know from scripture is that repentance is part of that confession. Once again not baptism for salvation or any other combination or extra elements outside of teh heart and confession to God.

    Part of the confusion stems from what cleanses a person. In your rationalization of scripture, it stems from a ceremonial washing or ritual purification. The bible, especially the New testament does not render ceremonialisms as effective in cleansing the sin and the heart. The whole discourse of Jesus regarding the cleansing of the inside vs. the outside of the cup was among some of the greaterst teachings that external washings have very little spiritual and inward significance as it pertains to change of heart and righteousness of man toward God. (Mt. 23:25, Lk. 11:39). So your primary basis is off and lacking throughout the entire discourse.]

    And, you confused me with a statement you made: “One thing is for sure. We all know that everyone who is part of the natural Church WON’T BE SAVED.”

    [PHB~ I fail to understand what is confusing…Not everyone sitting in a church pew or on the membership roll will be saved. That’s pretty much not an argument.]

    You said this after spending some time explaining to me that Cornelius was in the spiritual Church first and then to be identified with the “natural church” he was water baptized. I think you may have left out something with that sentence you typed becaue it does not make sense. If Cornelius was saved and in the “Spiritual Church” and baptized in water to be identified with the “natural church” how can he then (after being bapitized) become unsaved.

    [PHB ~ A person always has the right of freewill. being part of the natural church in no way prohibts that. Being a part of the spiritual church in no way prohibits it. A person can walk away from salvation. I fail to understand how this is difficult unless you believe “once saved always saved” or a variation of this under reformed doctrine. Look at one of teh articles on Reformed theology for discussion on that. Not for this thread.]

    But if I am reading you correctly you believe that water baptism is an visible manifistation of a previous invisible work of Grace.

    Do you agree with that last statement.

    [PHB~ Not entirely. Baptism is an outward sign that one has confessed Christ and and identified with him openly by signifying they are not ashamed of his life, death, burial and have hope in his resurrection. tying teh spiritual aspect to it is more than I care to do although subjection to it is spiritually significant, because it is a command and acting obediently to Jesus should be embraced.]

    And so, I have lost some of my other material and thought with my last “lost post.” But you still did not answer one of my questions in my last post (in October). Do you believe that the Gift of the Holy Sp. in Acts 2 is the same term as that worded in Acts 10:45 – Gift of the Holy Sp.?? Just to be sure.

    [PHB~ I don’t fully understand what you are tryign to get to, but as stated in the article Cornelius was already saved when he met Peter. I don’t think the facts from scripture can be denied unless you want to say that the “unsaved” can have a devout and vibrant relationship with God prior to salvation. In Acts 2 the 120 were also aready saved. They all had the confession and were obedient to the word of the Lord by showing up in Jerusalem and doing what christ told them to do. In addition the blood had already been shed for remission of sins. Therefore what happened in both Acts 2 and what happened in Acts 10:44 were similar events identified by Peter as being inspired by the true and living God. Both events added to the natural church.]

    Tks for sharing Mr. Burnett. Your concept of the Church on this discussion or blog spot has caused me to revaluate my position and view of what is the Church and who is in the Church. And so I have shared a good chunk of what I previously wrote and lost.

    And,

    Tks so much for replying to me. This is helping. Take care,

    Cordially,

    Mike Karoules

    • dunamis2 says:

      Mike I wrote your response within your last commentary and as promised I have completed my study on Baptismal Regeneration which you seem to be questioning in this post. I invite all readers to read and discuss that article regardng issues over baptism and salvation etc. Please read the comptet article. There are 5 sections and it is quite lengthy. I am making that into a pamphlet to hand out in the very near future.

      Thanks and God bless.

      • Mike Karoules says:

        Dear Harvey,

        Thanks alot again, Harvey. As said before, I have a passion for these types of things lately, and really, for awhile. I have not been able to come to a solid and complete grip on this issue. But God is working and God is helping me and I praise Him for His love and Grace and understanding. I feel flattered that you have taken a chunk of your time to dialogue with me about these things and you have done so in a noncondescending way(IOW, you have been humble about it). I agree with so much what you said and there are a couple of elements that I don’t agree with you on. Maybe more soon because I have another coal or two in the fire (mentally speaking).

        I guess the big issue of contention is that you say that one can be a member of the spiritual Church and not yet a member or identified with the spiritual Church. Now I may take you to task on that because the Scriptures teach no such thing. Those who are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ (and now in the Spiritual Church as you say; and which I wholly agree with you on this) are part of and in the Church. There is no other “second church” so to speak. They are in the Church or they are not. My support for this position, in my opinion, is quite solid:

        (1) Ephesians 4:4 says, “There is One Body [or ‘one Church’. Not two. And the Body is the Church. They are one and the same thing and I know that we agree on this point.] . . . and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; v.5 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

        Ephesians 5:25,26 – “Husbands love your own wives, even as also Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it; v.26 – that He might sanctify and ”CLEANSE” it with the WASHING of water by the Word.”

        Also, Acts 20:28 – “Take heed, therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Sp. has made you overseers to feed the Church of God, which He has PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD.”

        You see, To be in Christ and washed in His blood is to be in His Church. I am not seeing what you mean by a Spiritual Church and also a “physical church.” This relates to Cornelius because you have said and reiterated that Cornelius was saved and in Christ before Peter came yet not “in the church.” Again, see above passages which refutes this. To be in Christ is to be in the Church. You can not be in Christ and and yet, not in the Church.

        [PHB~ Mike, Thanks again for commenting and I will not add any further comments that are not on this topic to this thread from you. But this issue of Cornelius and his relationship to the church is a simple one that you are making all kinds of twists and turns to confuse. Fist what you said that I said is incorrect. You said that I said:” you say that one can be a member of the spiritual Church and not yet a member or identified with the spiritual Church” I have not said that. I said that one can be a member of the spiritual church and NOT be a member of the natural church. As I state in my article what Peter did was come to admit Cornelius in the natural or physical church. This is clear. and I don’t understand the confusion other than you have a faulty assumption that one can be a member of the natural church and that automatically makes him a member of the spiritual church. This is highly incorrect. The scripture clearly speaks against even leaders that have “crept in unawares” (Jude 1:4) or those who “went out from among us because they were not of us” (1 John 2:19) Are we to say that these persons were never a part of the physical church? Then Paul would be talking a bunch of gibberish. We know that these people were a part of the PHYSICAL or NATURAL church but were not part of the SPIRITUAL church. Only the spiritual church has union with God. Any ceremony that allows one into the physical church does not necessarily do so for the spiritual church IF the heart is not right with God. The scripture speaks in this dichotomy FIRST natural THEN spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46) when contrasting Adam and Jesus and the flesh and the spiritual.

        The scriptures you quote are not applicable to the subject that is raised. The spirit and move of God is not restricted to a physical church location or membership. If that were the case noone could be saved without certain “churches” and or “organizations” and that is a “cultish” type thought. The scripture displays that Cornelius was serving God and in union with his outside of the context and confines of the natural and physical body of believers that existed in his time. When Peter came it was to acknowledge that Cornelius was a part of the physical church. Same happened with Paul at his conversion.

        Acts: 9:15-18 ~ “15-But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16-For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17-And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

        Now anyone thinking that Paul also was not saved when he surrendered and called Jesus “Lord”(Acts 9:6) while he was “trembling”, which indicates the fear of the Lord, I’m sorry but that’s is a unwarranted stretch of scripture to meet some sort of bias. Once again he was also baptized not TO BE saved but BECAUSE HE WAS saved and accepted by Jesus as a part of the SPIRITUAL church.

        So the scripture is correct, there is only 1 church, but that refers to the ONE spiritual church. Now the only way you can get around this is if you believe that all these pedophiles, adulterers, and the list goes on and on that are on somebody’s church rolls are also saved in the same way as the blood washed believer…If you believe that, you problems are well beyond this article.]

        Other commentary deleted and is not applicable to this subject

        Thanks a whole deal for you attention to these matters, Harvey.

        Cordially,

        Mike Karoules

  48. dunamis2 says:

    Now that is interesting, because the progression of one who sets forth concepts such as the ones that Mike does is that there is a particular physical location that all men should be a part of to be in the “church”.

    The International Church of Christ holds that not only is baptism a requirement for salvation but if one is not baptized by them then one is not saved, So they take two erroneous doctrines and introduce them as if they are the only church in the word that has the door to heaven and as if anyone who has passed their criteria is saved. That is apostasy and highly cultish.

    I see that sort of progression in Mikes commentary. Hopefully that’s not what he’s getting at.

  49. Mike Karoules says:

    Dear Harvey Burnett,

    I misquoted you and from that point on it probably botched up the rest of my commentary and really, made your response of no affect or a mute point. But I made a major mistake. Irk!! I am sorry about this. Please forgive me.

    Here is what I should have said:

    “You say that one can be a member of the Spiritual Church and yet not a member or identified with the NATURAL CHURCH or PHYSICAL CHURCH.”

    That is what you have stated 2 or 3 times on this discussion blog. My point is simply this: There is one Church that Christ died for and we would both agree to this. This is the Church that Jesus shed His blood for and is a Spiritual Body, and, we both agree to this.

    Now, if Cornelius is in Christ before Peter’s arrival to his house to preach the gospel to him then he(Cornelius and his household) is in the Church.

    But it seems that you say that Cornelius was in Christ but just not in his Church. And I don’t see in Scripture where there is two.

    To be in the spiritual church identifies you as also in the physical church. That is what I am trying to get at.

    Please go back and read the 3 Scriptural passages that I sited for support.

    I am sorry for the erroneos statement or the misquote by me. I hope that clarifies things. More later, God willing.

    Cordially,

    Mike Karoules

    • dunamis2 says:

      Mike,

      I understand your argument my friend, but it doesn’t hold. There is only one church, however that is an ultimate reality, not a practical one. The scriptures you apply are not describing the temporal reality that everyone in the literal physical church may not be saved or in Christ. Paul and the Apostles recognized as much and stated so as I have quoted. There were those who were a part of the natural and physical church, but who were not In Christ. What you are trying to assert is that everyone in the natural or physical church is in Christ and that’s not scriptural nor biblical. A person can be in Christ and not a part of the natural church. This is not the optimal condition. The command is the “not forsake the fellowship” (Heb. 10:25) Your literalism betrays you in this very slim point.

      Cornelius was NOT a part of the natural church. he was considered to be an outsider and out of union with the fellowship of believers. Peter was sent to eliminate that barrier, just as Annias was sent to Paul to do the same. both men were already saved and submitted to Christ. Baptism was for their identification as I state and study HERE.

      Once again, Cornelius was in fellowship with Christ, but out of fellowship with other believers. God brought him to a better state and ultimate condition by opening the doors of the church to him. At the same time this betterd the church by allowing them to be able to receive a new brother in Christ. It’s really that simple.

      That’s the end of that particular tirade.

  50. rpavich says:

    Well said…there are two churches….the visible one…and the invisible one….

    Visible: Those who fellowship
    Invisible: Those who are in Christ.

    The two aren’t the same thing.

    Haven’t you ever known someone to come to church only to drop out and go back to the world, never to return?

  51. Mike Karoules says:

    Dear Harvey Burnett,

    Please Harvey. There is no tirade on my part, at least I don’t think. But I think that we are alot closer in seeing things the same way than I/we think. I get your point. It is well taken. You do make a good case that Cornelius was in right standing with God at least before or right at the time of Peter’s arrival to Cornelius’ house. I believe the whole purpose of this episode and experience of Cornelius was to usher him into the fullness of the New Coveneant community. Saved before Peter’s arrival?? Well, you make a pretty good case for that. But in the fullness of the New Covenant sense?? Not quite there yet because it took Peter and the giving of the Promise of the Holy Spirit and his baptism to FULLY and OFFICIALLY incorporate him(Cornelius) into the New Covenant Community, I believe. I guess you can say that he was in Christ before Peter came but not in the “completeness” sense of the word or , at least, not in the “New Covenant measure ” sense of things. But now I believe you also know what I am trying to get at. Again, we are alot closer to seeing things the same than at first. It very well could be just a matter of semantics here. For sure, Cornelius DOES NOT have the wholeness of the New Covenant blessings and privileges before Peter came to his house. It would take Peter’s arrival and subsequent events to put Cornelius FULLY into the New Covenant community and bring him completely OUT of the OT way of doing things. (And just to be sure; I say this not to suggest that Cornelius was doing the same exact things that all the other Jews were doing under the OT).

    Thanks again for your time, Harvey. This will be it for today. Take care and thank you for shedding some light on this whole thing about Cornelius.

    Cordially,

    Mike Karoules
    steelcurtain40@yahoo.com

  52. rpavich says:

    To my mind, if Cornelius was “in Christ” before Peter got there then the rest is only outward symbols of his faith…not a salvation requirement.

    Would you agree?

  53. Mike Karoules says:

    Rpavich,

    Not completely. He was not “in Christ” (per se) before Peter got there in the New Covenanent sense, or at least, not in the New Covenant measure. Cornelius’ faith had to be “completed” and had to comply with the terms of the New Cov’t just like everyone else. I guess one can say that even under the Old Cov’t there were those who were “in Christ” before Jesus came in that their hope and faith were placed in the coming Messiah – YET FUTURE. Those “Christians” were awaiting for the Messiah yet to come. But with the coming of Jesus Christ and Him having done His work on the cross this way of “hope” was now old and “passed away.” The idea of “looking forward to Christ” had worn away. So, Christ, having come and done the work and SEALED the New Cov’t by His blood this old way of hope was old and wearing away (or had worn away) and was no longer pertinent or of any value. Something NEW had arrived and Cornelius no longer needed to stay in that “vehicle” any longer. The whole idea is this: What people looked forward to HAD COME. It is here now and a done deal. So, to bring to Cornelius (and the rest of the Gentile world for that matter) the reality of what he was hoping/expecting – you had the visitation of Peter and the Great subsequent events that followed. After Peter, Cornelius was “saved” finally; if you know what I mean.

    tks RPavich,

    Cordially,

    Mike

  54. rpavich says:

    Mike,
    Aren’t all saints (even Old Testament saints) saved the same way? (by the blood of Christ?)
    Abraham…he had no knowledge of Christ yet his faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness” as Paul said…

    Cornelius (as I see it) was no different than Abraham…

  55. Mike Karoules says:

    Rpavich,

    You ask a very good question. Well, are all saints saved the same way?? Yes. We see this in Galatians 3:1-6. But as Abraham was under a different covenant than we today, no?? What I mean is that we do things a little differently; don’t you think or else why does God emphasize the distinction between Old and New such as in Hebrews 8; Hebrews 10 and Luke 22 (the institution of the Lord’s Table) with the words of Jesus, “. . . I make a New Covenant with you.”

    I can not completely articulate a perfectly clear answer to your question right now other than that how things are “CARRIED OUT” has changed.

    More later, God willing.

    Mike Karoules

    One of the main themes in Hebrews is that we are under a much better Covenant than the Old.

  56. rpavich says:

    Well…I agree with you in most of what you said or how you said it…there are differences…but the underlying thing is the same…Christ’s sacrifice in their place.

    Anyway..thanks for the good conversations and questions…

    bob

  57. Mary Wallace says:

    I was very pleased to read your article. I cannot see how Cornelius was not saved; and it has confused me why bible teachers always say he was not.

    I do have one question, however. In your closing comments I did not understand your statement “but salvation as in preservation for his soul, family and household deliverance”.

    Could you explain further. Thank you.

    • dunamis2 says:

      Thanks for the commentary and encouragement. I’ll expound on your question.

      What I mean by that statement is that it seemed that the purpose of the visit was to pull Cornelus’s family into the recognized church fellowship of believers. Acts 11:14, when Peter was giving a recounting, he stated that Cornelius was told that he would find Simon who’s surname was Peter, “Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” I believe that this was a reference not to spiritual salvation, but physical inclusion within the church itself. This was, in essence, to make other believers aware of him and to make him aware of others. In that “fellowship” there would be the safety of not being alone, and also the blessing of helping and being able to help others as well as receiving the help from other Christians. I mean, if God gives a word of knowledge and wisdom, wouldn’t it be more comfortable for those to share with a fellow co-laborer and believer? In that relationship there was “salvation” for his house.

      One can also reference what Ananias thought when Paul got saved (Acts 9:13-19). He said Saul was not one he wanted anything to do with because he was a persecutor and outside of the fellowship. God told him that HE himself was taking him in and that he should be received. In that time Paul was baptized as a sign and outward recognition of that reception which also served to alleviate the fears of other Christians who knew that he was a former antagonist to the church. Although Cornelius was not an antagonist, the principle was the same.

      I believe that same principle exists as it pertains to Peter’s testimony regarding Cornelius. the meaning of salvation was a broad one, and not limited to spiritual justification of cleanliness.

  58. Eric says:

    Just found your site – but outstanding piece my brother. I believe you have nailed it as well. Cornelius was absolutely saved before Peter’s arrival, and the text only backs that up.

  59. Eric says:

    Ty sir – It’s also interesting to note that early church fathers also believed that Cornelius was the centurion in Matthew 8 as well, which gives credence to a previous encounter with Christ.

  60. Andre Cilliers says:

    Brother, I admire your patience and kindness in dealing with the nitpickers and argument mongers! Without the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit, we’re lost. I found your exposition refreshing and Scriptural accurate.

  61. facebook says:

    I savour, cause I discovered just what I used to be having a look for.
    You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day.
    Bye

  62. dunamis2 says:

    Join us at In Defense Of The Faith on Facebook. Paste: https://www.facebook.com/groups/207127842725068/

    Bless each of you, even the detractors!

  63. Ronnie Smith says:

    The one glaring omission from this thread is that God is able to carry on a conversation with anyone He wants whether they are saved or not. Look at Baalam in the book of Numbers, – and he is in hell now. The point being that the Cornelius story tells us that people have to recognize Jesus as the vehicle/mode/method of salvation in order to be saved. Cornelius it seems was praying about what he needed to do to become right with God. Perhaps he was mulling over becoming a Jew as much as was possible (circumcision etc.), and God answers him and says to send for Peter and ‘he will tell you what you must do’. The ‘doing’ was simply to recognize Jesus as the means. Cornelius and family do that while Peter is talking. The Spirit is then given to show the Jewish onlookers that God accepted their faith in the one Peter was talking about.

    • dunamis2 says:

      The problem with your retort Ronnie is that it runs afoul of the context. When we are introduced to Cornelius, he is engaged in a relationship with Christ through prayer that any of us that are saved would envy. He is praying and God is answering and people are being blessed as well as he and his household.

      It is clear from the context that Cornelius had not been publicly baptized or identified openly with the church in that particular manner. That was a matter of public identity, not a matter of private conciliation with God. To insert that Cornelius was “praying about what he needed to do to become right with God” is much more than the context of scripture, in fact I would challenge just the opposite. If he prays and God answers, and the scripture of Isaiah 59:1-2 are correct, then we have god violating HIS word by establishing an agreement in NT times with a sinner, resulting in that sinners vibrant prayer life.

      If you can sell that, do so, but I for one am not buying it for a minute.

  64. cmuertter says:

    With no doubting as to the Lord’s great faithfulness, unfathomable mercy and His very deep wisdom, I can agree that Jesus Himself has granted you this insight and understanding. And if this Cornelius is specifically mentioned in detail it is for a reason. Was there not a centurion at the foot of the cross? HE forgets no one!

  65. dunamis2 says:

    I love this thread people and thank all of you for reading. Even if you disagree, I think we all learned something….I’m blessed.

  66. Dan Vickery says:

    So let us look at another Centurion who was present at the crucifixion of Jesus at the ninth hour… when a great earthquake happened in Matthew 27:53; Mark 15:39… the man portrayed with the phrase by the actor John Wayne in the movie, The Greatest Story Ever Told… Truly this was the Son of God. This Centurion would have been in Jerusalem long enough to know the Jewish God and have heard the stories about Jesus. Could the prayers of Cornelius in Acts 10 been a longing to now more about this Jesus and what he witnessed on the cross? Would God have tried to show him who Jesus was and use him as a major player in the Gentiles being saved?

    • dunamis2 says:

      Thanks for the response.

      I think the Centurion at the cross has an observation similar to that stated in Ps. 19:1 “the heavens declare his glory” which was later paraphrased or redressed by Paul in Rom. 2:14-15. i think based on observation, he concluded that Christ was the “Son of God” (Theou Huios). Now did this phrase mean the same to this man as it would have to a monotheistic Jew or a believer in Jesus? That is arguable. Was his appellation a “praise” or a revelation similar to that of Peter’s in Matt. 16:16 that Jesus was “the Christ, the son of the living God” (Theou Huios)? Or was it a phrase based on his experience with the Greek god system in which he lived?

      I believe the distinguishing point is that what Cornelius believed caused him to act upon it both in lifestyle and worship. Cornelius was introduced as one who prayed and GOd heard and responded to his prayers. He sought GOd and set to live uprightly and with integrity. So when we see him, as I state in the article and have said otherwise, he is practicing and exercising his faith and it is a vibrant one.

      In conclusion, yes, I agree that everyone exposed to Christ ‘could” have been a major part of Gentile salvation or extending the message to the world. So who knows? The centurion “could” have done great exploits especially if he allowed the context of what he witnessed to settle in his spirit and turn to GOd for salvation as a result.

      Thanks!!!

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