Monthly Archives: November 2008

Holy Spirit Presence and Supernatural Powers

By Eusebio Tanicala

The Holy Spirit is deity; the Holy Spirit is a distinct person from the Father and from Christ. Being a divine Person, the Holy Spirit, therefore, is infinite, boundary less, boundless, limitless in presence. The HS is omnipresent or present everywhere. He is inside or within the universe, within our galaxy and within our human personhood. At the same time, the HS is outside the universe, beyond the farthest stars. He is both transcendent and immanent. He is outside and yet inside.

Among Churches of Christ, the belief is that there are different levels of Holy Spirit powers which are (a) Full Measure which was present in our Lord Jesus Christ during His personal ministry on earth; (b) Baptismal Measure which was given by Christ to the apostles; (c) Miraculous Measure which was given to some groups upon whom the apostles laid their hands on; and (d) Ordinary Measure which is given to every true believer. The Ordinary Measure is also called the “indwelling” or special presence of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life as an earnest of eternal life and to assist him in godly living. See Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 3:16.

Does presence or dwelling automatically turn on miraculous and supernatural powers in the place or in the person? No. We might illustrate it this way: the presence or indwelling of a billionaire in a hotel does not automatically turn the hotel room into a magical mill that produces money. The billionaire has to will the release of his money as he sees the need and as he loves to spread out favors. The Holy Spirit dispensed miraculous gifts in the first century as He saw it fit. Churches of Christ submits 1 Cor. 11:8-11 to support the belief that the miraculous and supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit ended when the “complete” had arrived which is the revelation and full understanding of the gospel message by the universal church.

Ephesians 4:11-16; Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Cor. 12:12-31 tell us all that various levels of power and various types of gifts were distributed by the Holy Spirit in the first century. Distribution of spiritual gifts is willed by the Holy Spirit. Gifting of talents to individuals is willed by the Holy Spirit. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are also governed by the capacity and/or receptivity of the requesting individual.

The Holy Spirit is a person who wills and has the power to measure what He wants to release. If man has the power to measure the amount of electricity or light by releasing energy in 5 or 10 or 25 or 50 or 500 watts, the Holy Spirit is more powerful.

We could also think of localization and intensification of Holy Spirit power. While God is everywhere, God’s power and glory don’t explode in the same degree and same intensity in all places. Let’s cite various historical periods. During the Exodus, God was everywhere, but His power and providence was localized and intensified among the Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai. Such power and providence were not replicated in Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, China or India.
When God appeared to Moses or gave a vision to King Solomon or to Isaiah or Daniel such were not replicated in places like Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, China or India.

Our conclusion on this matter is this: Belief in the Holy Spirit’s presence or indwelling in the temple of Solomon or in a prophet of the Old Testament or in the Christian in the first century or a disciple in the 21st century doesn’t demand automatic miraculous powers manifesting in those places and persons. #

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AMY CAHULOGAN, CUM LAUDE

Amy Bernardo Cahulogan, daughter of Apolinario & Beth Cahulogan, graduated cum laude last October. She finished her Bachelor of Science in Education, major in General Science, at the Saint Louis University in Baguio City. She enjoyed full SM scholarship since her first year in college. Congratulations!

Attributes & Characteristics of Deity

By Eusebio Tanicala

(Note: This is another article that could add knowledge about the Holy Trinity which will in turn increase understanding about Tritheism and Unitarianist. Please don’t teach wrong arguments to our young preachers. These young preachers could be discouraged once they are confronted with the weakness of arguments they are initially taught. This is series #5).

Our ability to explain and demonstrate the Trinity of the Godhead is not objection-proof. But with some explanations to start with give basis for our belief. Belief in the Trinity has scriptural basis. It has logic in it.

The attributes and characteristics listed below could serve to measure persons who belong to the Godhead.

A. The true God is called God
1. Father – John 20:17; etc. Accepted fact,
2. Son – Heb. 1:8; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Isa. 9:6; 1 John 5:20; John 1:1-3; John 20:28; Matt. 4:7
3. Holy Spirit – Acts 5:3-4
B. The true God is called Yahweh. The Old Testament books applied this name to the true God only.
1. Father – Deut. 6:3; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – Isaiah 40:3 cf. Matt. 3:3 & Luke 3:4-6
3. Holy Spirit – Micah 3:8 cf. Romans 15:19; John 3:34

C. The true God is Omnipotent (Boundless power)
1. Father – 2 Cor. 6:18; Rev. 21:22; Jer. 32:18, etc. Accepted
2. Son – John 5:19; John 13:3; Matt. 28:18; Rev. 1:7-8 cf. 17-18; Isa. 9:6
3. Holy Spirit – Micah 3:8; Rom 15:19; John 3:34

D. The true God is Omniscient (Boundless knowledge)
1. Father – Job 24:1; Acts 1:7; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – John 5:19-20; Jn 8:19; Jn. 13:3; Jn 16:15,30; Jn 18:4; Jn 21:17; Col. 2:2-3; 2:25; :35; Mtt. 9:4
3. Holy Spirit –1 Cor. 2:10-11

E. The true God is Omnipresent (Boundless presence)
1. Father – Jer. 23:23-24; etc Accepted fact.
2. Son – Matt. 18:20; Matt. 26:29; Matt. 28:20; 1 Cor. 10:16-17
3. Holy Spirit – Psalm 139:7-13; 1 Cor. 6:19

F. The true God is Eternal (Self-existing)
1. Father – Psalm 90:1-2; Deut. 33:27; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – Isaiah 9:6; 48:16; John 1:1; Heb. 1:12; Micah 5:2
3. Holy Spirit – Hebrew 9:14

G. The true God is Source of Spiritual & Physical Life
1. Father – John 5:26; Genesis 2:7; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – John 1:4; Jn 5:21; Jn 10:28; Jn 11:25-26; Jn 14:6; 1 John 1:1-3;
3. Holy Spirit – Isaiah 44:34; John 3:5

H. The true God Doesn’t Change in Essence
1. Father – James 1:17; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – Hebew 13:8; Rev. 1:4, 8, 17
3. Holy Spirit – Hebrew 9:14

I. The true God Is Worthy of Worship
1. Father – John 4:21, 24; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – Matt. 2:11; John 5:23; Phil. 2:9-10
3. Holy Spirit – Romans 2:9; 7:6; 8:26; Phil. 3:3; Jude 20

J. The true God Is Creator of all Invisible & Visible Beings
1. Father – Genesis 1:1; etc. Accepted
2. Son – John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17; Heb. 1:8; 1 Cor. 8:6
3. Holy Spirit – Genesis 1:3; Job 26:13; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30

K. The true God Is Savior of Mankind from Spiritual Death
1. Father – 1 Tim 4:10; etc. Accepted fact.
2. Son – Matt. 1:21; 1 Tim. 1:15; etc.
3. Holy Spirit – Ephesiasn 1:13-14; 2 Cor. 1:22

L. The true God Existed Before the Genesis 1:1 Creation
1. Father & Holy Spirit – Accepted fact.
2. Son: Was a spirit persona before creation. See the ff: Col. 1:16-17; John 1:3; Heb. 1:8; John  1:10-11; 17:5; Psalm 102:25-27.

Christ was a spirit persona before His becoming flesh sometimes appearing in material form as proven by the following passages: Genesis 18-19 the Yahweh who appeared as man is evidently the Second Person because the Father/God in full glory could not be seen; 1 Cor. 10:4 combined with Exodus 17:6 & Num. 20:11 prove that Christ was active and became a Rock. John 1:15, 30 and John 3:31 says that Christ had been ascending to heaven before He descended to become flesh. John 3:32; 5:19-20; 6:46, 48; John 8:38; 12:44-45 and 14:31 declare that Christ saw and heard heavenly things before He came down to earth and He testified about many of these things when he was on earth. Only when we accept that He was a spirit persona before his incarnation could these things be possible.

*Christ Existed as a spirit persona before the creation of the world in Genesis 1:1. This section will prove that Christ is not a mere human being given extra ordinary powers. When we could accept that Christ had a spirit persona before his becoming man, then we should accept that He is not a mere human being. And during the period of His incarnation from 1 to 33 A.D. He had two natures in His one persona: Divine and Human.

M. Yahweh Can Become What He Wants to Become
1. Father – He can manifest Himself to mankind. Accepted fact.
2. Holy Spirit – Could you tell yourself what form the Spirit worked on the material world in Genesis 1:3? He manifested Himself in the form of a Dove when Christ was baptized; form of cloven tongues of fire when He descended on the Apostles in the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 .
3. Son – 1 Cor. 10:4; Exo. 17:6 & Num. 20:11 declare that Christ became a rock. I believe that it is more logical to say that Christ is the Yahweh that appeared as man in Gen. 18-19 than assigning this to the Father. He could be the Angel of Yahweh (if you accept that the general meaning of the term aggelos is messenger) in Judges chapters 6 and 13 there was fear of dying for having come “face to face” with the spirit being. This fear and reverence is not found when the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary in Luke 1. These manifestations were felt by the sense of seeing so it must have been physical in form.

* And if Satan the Devil could become a snake of flesh and bones when he tempted Adam and Eve, and if Satan could become an angel of light, it should be logical that Christ could become man.

In the above major attributes and characteristics, the three persons in the Godhead are united, congruent, intersecting, harmonious, same. The term applied to that perfect unity is the word “one.” If there be a higher level of unity and harmony among the three persons of Deity, I am willing to listen and consider any well documented evidence.

In the NKJV the following verses have the term “one” which the The Great Book, the New Testament in Plain English render “united.” Please check up the following: John 10:30, “united;” John 17:11, “united;” 22, “united;” 23, “united;” Acts 4:32, “shared everything;” Acts 5:12, “same purpose;” Romans 15:5, “agree with one another;” 6, “one voice, altogether;” 1 Cor. 1:10, “all of you must agree, no divisions among you;” 1 Cor. 3:8, “work together;” 1 Cor. 12:12, “body is a unit;” Ephesians 4:3, “Keep the Spirit’s unity.” #

Tolerated but not Permitted?

By Eusebio Tanicala

Some preachers use the case of divorce based on the text of Matt. 19:1-10 as parallel to the issue of instrumental music in worship. Their idea is that God wanted a “till death do couples part” marriage which was meant for Adam and Eve. But the Israelites, these preachers claim, forced Moses to insert into the Law a decree on divorce. The conclusion is “God reluctantly tolerated divorce from the days of Moses until the coming of the New Covenant.” In like manner, it is claimed by some, that there was no instrumental music from Adam to the days of King David, that King David “invented and introduced” instruments of music which God reluctantly tolerated, but in the New Covenant it is no longer allowed, the claim goes.

Presumptions on the two cases are flawed, hence the parallelism is wrong. We’ll show why.

Their line of argument about divorce based on Matt. 19:1-10 includes the following:

  1. A God-arranged or ideal marriage as in the case of Adam and Eve was a “till death do the couple part.”
  2. Moses, on his own discretion being the leader of Israel, introduced divorce due to the insistence and hardness of heart on the part of Israel.
  3. God was not pleased with the divorce decree, He didn’t permit it but merely tolerated its practice.
  4. But now in the NT, divorce is prohibited in the church.
  5. The above line of argument is carried over on to the case of instrumental music in worship as follows:
  • A God-arranged or ideal worship was one without mechanical instrument from the time of Adam and Eve.
  • King David, on his own discretion being the leader of Israel, invented and introduced instruments of music.
  • God was not pleased with instruments of music, He didn’t permit them but merely tolerated their use.
  • But now in the NT, instrument of music is prohibited in the church.

Let’s analyze the case of divorce decree found in Deuteronomy and the instruments of music of King David.

Firstly, the ideal husband-wife perfect relationship was defined by God in Genesis 2:26, but the ideal worship was not defined in Genesis.

Secondly, it is not true that it was Moses’ own private discretion that the divorce decree was inserted into the Law. All of the statutes and judgments in the book of Deuteronomy were inspired by Yahweh God. Please see Deut. 5:1; 6:1; 7:12; 8:6; 10:12; 11:1; 12:1; 28:1 & 15; 29:1. The provision on divorce is found in Deut. 22:19-29 and Deut. 24:1-4. All of Deuteronomy is God’s law. The Law of Moses is God’s Law.

Thirdly, at the time of Christ on earth, there were two views about the divorce in Deut. 24:1-4: (a) the School of Hillel which claimed that a man could divorce his wife for any cause, and (b) the School of Shammai which claimed that a man could divorce his wife only on the ground of sexual sin.

Jesus Christ repeated the interpretation of Shammai. The pronouncement of Christ in Matt. 19 means that divorce on the ground of adultery was allowed/permitted to give justice to the innocent party. NKJV on Matt. 19 uses “permitted” while other versions like RSV, Contemporary English Version, Easy-to-Read Version, English Study Bible, The Simple Enlgish Bible, Rick Berry’s Greek-Interlinear render it “allowed you to divorce your wives.”

The term “suffer” means to allow as in the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. It is different from the term “longsuffering.” So the claim that “divorce was not allowed” is not based on scriptures.

Fourthly it is not true that King David invented and introduced for the first time instruments of music. David became king of Israel in 1010 B.C. (See 2 Samuel 2), but thousands of years before David was born we read in Genesis 4:21 that Jubal and his sons made and played the harp and flute. Also Yahweh commanded the Hebrew priests, long before David was born, to make trumpets for use in religious services. Please see Num. 29:1; Lev. 23:24 & 25:9.

About a thousand years after Moses died, Yahweh commanded King David to design and manufacture instruments for the tabernacle choir. This command given to King David was coursed thro the palace prophets Gad and Nathan. Please refer to 2 Chron. 29:25. We also love to cite 2 Samuel 23:2 to prove King David’s inspired instructions for Israel. Furthermore, the word “invent” (chashab in Hebrew) in Amos 6:5 means “to think, to devise, or to design” (Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, page 519). It doesn’t mean to bring into existence and use for the first time. It is also a fact that the school of the prophets before Saul became king of Israel was using musical instruments in accompanying their prophesying. See. 1 Samuel 10:5-16. It is clear that instruments of music were used in religious activities prior to David becoming king.

While the use of instrument of music in worship was commanded in the OT on one hand, there is no authority for its use in the NT on the other hand. No command, no inference/implication, no symbolism whatsoever is given in the NT that authorizes instrumental music. The strongest argument appealed to by those who use instruments of music in the worship of God is “Silence of the NT scriptures permits freedom.” But his hermeneutical axiom is dangerous. Worship of God will be governed by the desires and devises of humans and not the instructions of a Majestic, Fearsome, Awesome God and King of the Universe.

The above comparison and contrast considered, I suggest that the issue on divorce be not viewed as a parallel to the case of musical instruments in worship. It is a weak argument. It is a wrong argument. Weak and wrong arguments encourage instrument users to continue on their unauthorized practice.

Please allow me to quote Jack P. Lewis’ advice about using Amos 6:5 in arguing against musical instrument in worship: “How to harmonize the spirit of these two passages, one in Amos and one in 2 Chronicles, perplexed me. As I studied the prophets more, I became conscious that proof-texting is not a proper way to settle the meaning of a passage of Scripture. The use we were making then of Amos 6:5 had done just that…This old proof passage should no longer be cited as a part of the argument about worship. It has no convincing power.”(The Question of Instrumental Music in Worship, TRUTH FOR TODAY, March 2008, page 4).

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New congregation launched in Bokod, Benguet; saints hold medical mission for residents

We thank the Midtown Church of Christ for sending us this wonderful report about on-going efforts to introduce the Word of God in Bokod, Benguet. This report was sent by Jun Reyes.  A slide show is also included .  Please continue to pray for the saints in that area.  Congratulations !

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Hello everybody,

Last Nov. 18 & 19, 2008, Midtown COC thru Mission Outreach Ministry (M.O.M.), Body & Soul (chaired by Dr. Sam Cariaga), WBS and Bokod local members hosted a Free Medical-Dental Mission at the Bokod Barangay Plaza. 900+, almost a thousand local residents of Bokod were treated & seen during the 2 day venture.

Volunteers came as far as Butuan City thru Dr. Sam Cariaga, local health workers, SLU nursing students, WBS & Centerpoint COC, Rabon COC in the persons of Edmund & Elaine Bacani and Solomon De Vera, Doctors and Dentists from Baguio, and Midtown family members of course, who really pushed their servant hood attitude even before the birth of Bokod COC over 2 weeks ago. Special mention to Bro. Jojo & Janet Ramos, family & relatives who has truly opened a door for the Gospel to be spread there. The Velasco compound (Jojo’s ancestral home) so far has hosted the on going young church and Saturday Gospel Meetings, not to mention the free Board and Lodging venue of members and visitors all day, all night.

The two day mission at Bokod hopefully will yield more people to know the lord. Thanks to Mayor Mauricio Makay of Bokod and the local government who were very warm in letting us hold a medical mission with free lunch, two days in a row to the residents who came near and far. A first to all missions in history where the Mayor’s office helped ease the patients’ hungry stomachs during the lunch break. By the way, Bokod residents are very kind, shy and patient, literally. Never in the entire two day mission was there any grumbling or complaining exhibited by everyone from the mayor to the humblest of the residents while they were under the heat of the sun waiting for their appointments. Makes you wish more people in the world had their character.

Continue to pray for Bokod COC to continue to grow and that members both from the local and Midtown would not wane in their service to God. Enjoy watching the pictures. God Bless!

Jun Reyes

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RBC enrolls 33 students for the second semester

Thirty three students have enrolled the second semester program at the Rabon Bible College in San Fabian, Pangasinan. The school has started offering third year subjects. Brother Solomon Devera serves as director while brother Ephraim M. de Castro is dean. Assisting them in handling 21 subjects this second semester are Mel Ducusin, Ed Bacani, Elvie Limbawan, Adolfo Braga II, Jonathan Ramos, Pablo Lachica and Eusebio Tanicala. Pablo Lachica teaches NT Greek Grammar while Eusebio Tanicala teaches Biblical Hermeneutics.