Who Was Mark?

What Do YOU Know about Mark?

by David Lemmons

We have just begun a study into the marvelous Book of Mark, planned mostly for Sunday nights.  Our first lesson was last Sunday night.  I hope if you missed it that you will be making your plans right now to be with us for this important study each Sunday night.  That lesson was introductory in nature and we will begin to delve into the text tonight.

Our Lord Jesus, when he walked upon this earth, was a man of ACTION.  Mark’s account of His life emphasizes His actions, which would appeal to the Romans, whom most believe were Mark’s intended addressees.  As we study Mark we will necessarily notice many of Jesus’ miracles.  Maybe it would be helpful to test ourselves to see how much we know about Mark.  Following the questions below we will have a box of answers.  Please see how many you can answer before peeking.  To answer the questions, go H-E-R-E.

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Mark Pericopes

We are beginning a study together in Dublin on the New Testament Book of Mark.  We have prepared a chart which divides the book up into thought units.  You may see that chart which also gives the parallel passages in Matthew, Luke, and John by clicking H-E-R-E.

BSG 021-036

Unit1-Binder

Study of Jesus

Matthew–John

Lessons #021-036

These are usually 4-page handouts suitable for use in an Adult Bible Class.  They are tied to the passages dealt with by the Bible Study Guide for all Ages series, Unit 1.  These include outlines, commentary, puzzles, etc.  They are in the form of a PDF file and can be downloaded at my Evernote Shared Notebook by clicking H-E-R-E.  Look for Unit 1, Lessons 021-036.

bsg021…  Jesus–Genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38).
bsg022…  Jesus–Birth Announcement of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ (Luke 1:1-38).
bsg023…  Jesus–John the Baptist is Born (Luke 1:39-80).
bsg024…  Jesus–Birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-20).
bsg025…  Jesus–Purification at the Temple; Wise Men Visit (Luke 2:21-38; Matthew 2:1-12).
bsg026…  Jesus–Jesus’ Youth (Matthew 2:13-23; Luke 2:39-52).
bsg027…  Jesus–John the Baptist Preaches and Baptizes (Matthew 3:1-17).
bsg028…  Jesus–Jesus Tempted; Jesus Makes His First Disciples (Matthew 4:1-11; John 1:29-51).
bsg029…  Jesus–Jesus’ First Miracle and Cleansing the Temple (John 2).
bsg030…  Jesus–Nicodemus; John the Baptist Imprisoned (John 3; Luke 3:19-20).
bsg031…  Jesus–Jesus Meets a Samaritan Woman and Heals the Nobleman’s Son (John 4).
bsg032…  Jesus–Jesus is Rejected in His Hometown; Miraculous Catch of Fish (Luke 4:16-30; 5:1-11).
bsg033…  Jesus–Jesus Rebukes an Unclean Spirit; Heals Peter’s Mother-in-Law; Cleanses a Leper
(Mark 1:21-45).
bsg034…  Jesus–Healing a Paralytic; Matthew Called; Fasting Questioned (Mark 2:1-22).
bsg035…  Jesus–Healing at Bethesda (John 5:1-47).
bsg036…  Jesus–Miracles on the Sabbath; Calling the Twelve (Mark 2:23-28; 3:1-19).

Debate Notes


Number 0006

SOURCE: BULLETIN BRIEFS, Vol. 1, #9, 9/98

MARK 16:16

by Tracy Dugger

Jesus stated to His apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that  believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).  Surely this passage is among the clearest in all the Bible. It explicitly teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. However, many attempt to dismiss the force of Jesus’ words: “He that believeth and is baptized  hall be saved.” They teach, “He that believeth and is NOT baptized shall be saved.” One can easily see that Jesus did not so teach.

One objection leveled against God’s people when they teach from Mark 16:16 is that Jesus did not say, “He that believeth not AND IS NOT BAPTIZED shall be damned.” When Curtis Porter met Glenn Tingley on this matter in public debate, Tingley responded to Porter’s argument on Mark 16:16 by saying that it did NOT say, “he that believeth not and IS NOT baptized shall be damned.”

Brother Porter countered in the following manner:

“No. I know it did not. If it had, it would have been silly. Suppose that some of you teachers who have a class in school, would give your class this statement tomorrow: “He that eats food and digests it shall
have health.” You require the class to bring the negative of that on the following day. The next day Johnnie comes back with this: “He that eats food and digests it shall have health; but he that eats not and does NOT DIGEST IT shall starve.” I wonder what kind of grade little Johnnie would get on that? … Why that’s silly–the very idea of digesting food that you haven’t eaten.

Let me tell you, my friends, the man who has not believed can no more be scripturally baptized than a man can digest food that he has not eaten. It takes both eating the food and digesting the food to bring health; but eating no food alone will bring starvation; and you do not have to say, “And does not digest it.”

It takes both belief and baptism to bring the salvation; but unbelief alone will bring the damnation; and you do not have to say, “And is not baptized.” It takes both belief and baptism to bring salvation, but belief alone will bring condemnation.”

[PORTER-TINGLEY DEBATE, Dehoff Publications, Murfreesboro, TN, 1947, p. 269].

Porter devastated the error of Mr. Tingley by using a simple parallel.

Perspectives of Jesus

SOURCE: Gospel Advocate, January 19, 1984.

Four Perspectives of Jesus

by David Paul Smith

The first four books of the New Testament are commonly known as “the four gospels.”  Each of them set forth the record and the meaning of the life of Jesus Christ.  Though their purpose is common in that respect, each of them has a unique perspective of Jesus.  We might say that each writer portrays Jesus in a different light of emphasis.

Matthew emphasizes the “position” of Jesus.  He alone records the claim that Jesus made, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).  As if Matthew wants to emphasize this point, he makes certain that this is one of the last points he mentions.  Yet, this point was emphasized throughout the book.  Near the beginning, we find some asking, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2).  Throughout the inspired book, we find reference to “the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew portrays Jesus as the King that has come to establish his kingdom (cf., Matthew 16:18-19).

Mark underlines the “power” of Jesus.  Merrill C. Tenny wrote, “Mark gives more space to the miracles than any other Gospel; for it records eighteen out of a possible total of thirty-five” [New Testament Survey, Merrill C. Tenny, Eerdmans, 1961, page 164].  He has power over disease (Mark 1:40-45), demons (Mark 5:1-20), and death (Mark 5:35-43).  His power is not without purpose though, “the son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  Just as the miracles his apostles performed in his name confirmed the message they proclaimed (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:2-4), the miracles Jesus himself performed attested to his claims (cf., Mark 2:1-10).

Luke draws attention to the “purpose” of Jesus.  Luke records Christ’s own words concerning his purpose, “for the son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9).  This is only reasonable since Luke’s work is continued in the book of Acts, the book above all that sets forth clearly the gospel plan of salvation.  The position and power of Jesus makes this wonderful purpose possible.  Isn’t it likely that on many an occasion Luke the physician (Colossians 4:14) marveled at the “surgical ability” of Jesus that could remove a man’s sin?

The last of the four, John, boldly sets forth the “person” of Jesus.  Most of all, we see Jesus held up as God’s son.  John himself declared that this was his purpose in writing, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).  However, in this same book, we see Jesus as a man.  He was “the word” that “became flesh” (John 1:14).  As a man, he knew what it meant to be tired (John 4:6), sad (John 11:35) or thirsty (John 19:28).  Jesus, though in every way like us in nature, was also an incarnation of God in the flesh.

The first four books of the New Testament declare the position, power, purpose, and person of Jesus Christ.  It is now up to us to allow Jesus to hold the supreme position in our life.  Let us rest confident in his power to save us, his great purpose.  Since he is God’s son, we know that he can and that he knows our needs, and those first hand.  Praise God for th epositioni, power, purpose, and person of Jesus Christ.

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In Defense of Mark 16:16 (Part 3)

This article is the third of a 3-part series written by Travis Quertermous and appearing in POWER, in three consecutive issues beginning with December 2002. It gives a defense of the long ending of Mark and deals with other attacks on the true teaching of that section of Scripture. I commend it to your reading. I thought it was quite excellent.

In Defense of Mark 16:16 (Part 3)

by Travis L. Quertermous

    We want to wrap up our study of common quibbles offered by sectarian “scholars” against Mark 16:16.

THE “FAITH ONLY” ARGUMENT

    Among those deceived by the dogma of salvation by faith alone, it is common for them to argue that Mark 16:16 cannot possibly mean that baptism is essential to salvation because such would contradict verses that promise salvation at the point of faith (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom 5:1). Two points and an illustration are often debaters to make this argument:

  • (1) Passages which promise salvation at the point of faith are quoted;
  • (2) They point out that the latter part of Mark 16:16 does not say “He who does not believe and is not baptized will be condemned;”
  • (3) They conclude therefore that the believer mentioned in Mark 16:16 is saved by faith alone and is then baptized.

RIDING THE TRAIN

    This argument is often accompanied by “the train illustration.” (Glenn V. Tingley used it in his 1947 debate with brother W. Curtis Porter:

He that entereth a train and is seated shall reach Atlanta. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Now suppose a man enters a train but does not take a seat. Will he not go to Atlanta anyhow if that train goes there? The taking of the seat involves his comfort but does not involve his going to Atlanta. So baptism relates to the privileges of the Christian life and does not secure such a life. The believer has entered the gospel train and whether he takes a seat or not, he will reach heaven if the train does.

    Let us respond to each part of this erroneous argument.

IS SALVATION BY FAITH ALONE?

    First, the dogma of salvation by faith alone is simply a contradiction of James 2:24: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” That one verse completely demolishes the whole argument! But what about all those verses which teach salvation comes by faith? Note carefully that not one of them promises salvation by faith alone! Brother Guy N. Woods, in his 1946 debate with A.U. Nunnery, exposed the fallaciousness of the first premise in the above argument:

    Mr. Nunnery will likely introduce numerous passages conditioning salvation on faith. I would like to suggest to you a very common figure of speech—a characteristic of the Sacred Writers to make one of the conditions of pardon stand for all of them. Let’s note them, please: Rom. 5:1: ‘Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Obviously, it’s not faith alone, for that would exclude repentance. Here, faith is made to stand for all of the conditions of salvation. That is illustration No. 1. The second item of salvation is repentance. Acts 11:18: ‘God hath granted unto the Gentiles repentance unto life.’ While only repentance is mentioned, the other conditions are implied; repentance is made to stand for all of them. 1 John 4:2: ‘Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God.’ In this passage, confession is made to stand for the other conditions of pardon. 1 Peter 3:21: ‘The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God).’ Thus we have examples of each of the items of salvation standing for all of them. If I were to insist that 1 Peter 3:21 (which asserts that baptism saves us) teaches that baptism alone saves, I’d fall into the same error that Mr. Nunnery falls into in insisting that salvation is conditioned on faith alone.’ [Guy N. Woods and A.U. Nunnery, The Woods-Nunnery Debate on Baptism and Apostasy (Huntington, TN: Joyce Hendrix, 1947): pp., 5-6. We are grateful to learn that Hester Publications is bringing this classic debate back into print later this year. Contact Sam Hester at 165 Gibson Dr., Henderson, TN 38340 for more information.]

EATING AND DIGESTING

    It is true that the Lord did not say in Mark 16:16, “he that does not believe and is not baptized shall be condemned.” Nor did He need to say that for if He had it would have been absurd. Faith must precede scriptural baptism according to the Lord’s order of things. The unbeliever cannot be scripturally baptized! Unbelief alone is sufficient to condemn one’s soul. Tingley made this quibble with brother W. Curtis Porter. Listen carefully as he exploded it:

    But the rest of the verse says, ‘He that believeth not shall be damned.’ It did not say, ‘He that believeth not and is not baptized shall be damned.’ No. I know it did not. If it had, it would have been silly. Suppose that some of you teachers who have a class in school, would give your class this statement tomorrow: ‘He that eats food and digests it shall have health.’ Your require the class to bring the negative of that on the following day. The next day Johnnie comes back with this: ‘He that eats food and digests it shall have health; but he that eats no food and does not digest it shall starve.’ I wonder what kind of grade little Johnnie would get on that? What kind of grade would you give him, Elder Tingley? … Why, that’s silly—the very idea of digesting food that you haven’t eaten. Let me tell you, my friends, the man who has not believed can no more be baptized than a man can digest food that he has not eaten. Not any more. They are parallel. It takes both the eating the food and digesting the food to bring health, but eating no food alone will being starvation, and you do not have to say, ‘And does not digest it.’ It takes both belief and baptism to bring the salvation, but unbelief alone will bring the damnation, and you do not have to say’ And is not baptized.’ It would be silly if you did.’ [Porter and Tingley, op. cit., 118-119]

    No more was heard of this “argument” in their debate!

WRECKING THE TRAIN

    Regarding the train illustration, brother Porter completely wrecked it! He said:

Then to his train illustration: “He that enters a train and sits down shall go to Atlanta.” I want to put that on the board just here if I can in a minute. Here we have it: …Enters train—sits down—Reaches Atlanta. Believeth—Is Baptized—Shall be Saved. He makes belief equal to entering the train, and being baptized equivalent to sitting down; reaching salvation equivalent to reaching Atlanta. Since the man who ‘enters the train’ can ‘reach Atlanta’ without ‘sitting down,’ so the man who ‘believes’ can ‘reach salvation’ without ‘being baptized.’ ‘Sitting down’ is not necessary in reaching Atlanta; ‘being baptized,’ therefore, is not necessary in ‘reaching salvation.’ So we cross them out (marking ‘Sits down’ and ‘is baptized’ off the board). Entering the train is the thing necessary to reach Atlanta. My friend, did you know that I could go to Atlanta without ‘entering the train?’ Didn’t you know that I could go to Atlanta without entering a train? Why I could walk or go in an automobile. There are a dozen ways I could go to Atlanta without ‘entering a train.’ So ‘entering the train’ is not essential to going to Atlanta. We’ll cross that out (Marking off ‘Enters train’). And since faith is equivalent to it, we cross that out too (Crossing out ‘Believeth’). So we do not have to believe or be baptized to get salvation, according to this illustration. Then, we look at it from another angle. ‘He that enters the train and sits down shall reach Atlanta.’ The ‘sitting down’ is not necessary. “he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” The ‘baptism’ is not necessary. But in order for it to fit my opponent’s theory, since he says “He that believeth is already saved,’ it should say, “he that enters the train reaches Atlanta before he has time to sit down.’ (Laughter). “He that believeth is saved before he has time to be baptized.’ Is that so, Tingley? That’s your position, isn’t it? “He that believeth is saved before he has time to be baptized.’ So, ‘He that enters the train is already in Atlanta before he has time to sit down.’ (Laughter). Now, I know anybody can see that. You may not accept it, but you can see it. I’m just certain of that.’ [Porter and Tingley, op. cit., 120-121]

    Tingley evidently saw it for he never tried to ride that train again during the debate!

    Brethren, Mark 16:16 stands like the Rock of Gibraltar against all denominational quibbles in proving that baptism is essential to salvation! Therein, Jesus plainly taught that belief + baptism = salvation while forever denying the false doctrine of salvation by faith only, which teaches belief – baptism = salvation. May God help us to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3), while lovingly teaching the gospel to the lost!

 

In Defense of Mark 16:16 (Part 2)

This article is the second of a 3-part series written by Travis Quertermous and appearing in POWER, in three consecutive issues beginning with December 2002. It gives a defense of the long ending of Mark and deals with other attacks on the true teaching of that section of Scripture. I commend it to your reading. I thought it was quite excellent.

In Defense of Mark 16:16 (Part 2)

by Travis L. Quertermous

    In the last issue of POWER, we began a study of the common arguments made in a vain attempt to explain away the plain truth taught in Mark 16:16 that water baptism is essential to one’s salvation. Let us now turn our attention to three other quibbles denominational debaters have made against Mark 16:16.

HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM?

    It is common for sectarian “scholars” to contend that the baptism of Mark 16:16 is Holy Spirit baptism and not an immersion in water. Commenting on this verse, denominational writer Charles C. Ryrie of Dallas Theological Seminary said, “This may be a reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). Water baptism does not save.” [Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible, NKJV (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985): 1570]

    In the first place, 1 Corinthians 12:13 refers to a baptism “by one Spirit” and not “in the Spirit” as Ryrie evidently thinks. The Holy Spirit is represented as the administrator of baptism and not the element in which one is immersed. Thus, the passage has no reference to Holy Spirit baptism, but rather is a figurative reference to one’s obedience to the Spirit’s inspired commands to be immersed in water into Christ. It is in this metaphorical sense that we are baptized “by one Spirit” (cf., John 4:1-3; Gal 3:27; Rom 6:3-4).

    Brother C.E.W. Dorris has done a good job of refuting this quibble when he wrote of Mark 16:16: “Water baptism is a command, not a promise. Holy Spirit baptism is a promise, not a command. We obey commands and enjoy promises. Baptism in the commission is an act of obedience performed by the believer, and therefore it is a command. This being true, and since the baptism of the Holy Spirit is always a promise and never a command, therefore the baptism of the commission is not Spirit baptism.” [C.E.W. Dorris, A Commentary on the Gospel According to Mark (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Co., 1975): 387]

    In addition, we would add that only Jesus Christ is said to administer Holy Spirit baptism (Mt 3:11), while the baptism of Mark 16:16 is plainly to be administered by man (cf., Mt 28:19). Thus, it must follow that such is water baptism.

ARE WE INCONSISTENT?

    Another objection that is often thrown out is to accuse churches of Christ of being inconsistent in preaching Mark 16:16 while rejecting what the rest of the passage says about evangelism and miracles. In their 1947 debate, Glen V. Tingley asked Brother W. Curtis Porter if he believed in casting out devils, speaking in tongues, handling serpents, drinking poison, and healing the sick per Mark 16:17-18. He further charged: “And the church of Christ has the fewest missionaries and do the least missionary work; and it professes to believe only that by the preaching of the Word can men be saved; and it is the most lax in teaching the word around the world of any and all denominations in America! Let me ask my worthy opponent … to explain why he does not follow the fifteenth verse as well. He places such great emphasis on the sixteenth and forgets to remember the fifteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth.” [W. Curtis Porter and Glenn V. Tingley, Porter-Tingley Debate (Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Publications, 1947): 108]

    In responding to these accusations, brother Porter pointed out that Tingley just did not know what he was talking about with regard to missionary work. He pointed out that the Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, TX, was itself sponsoring 40 missionaries to Europe and spending $160,000 in the effort. [Porter and Tingley, op. cit., 122]. Remember that this was in 1947, right after World War II! Churches of Christ have more missionaries in the field today than ever before!

    On the charge of not believing Mark 16:17-18, brother Porter replied: “Do I accept all of Mark 16:9-20? Yes, I accept Mark 16:9-20 just as I do all the rest of the word of God. Perhaps you want to know about the performing of miracles here. Well, do you perform them, Tingley? My friend is very hoarse tonight. Looks like if he can do all these miracles, he’d have some of his brethren cure that hoarseness and lets get on.” (Laughter).

    “Certainly, if the Lord is performing through him and through his brethren all these miracles here, such as taking up serpents, and drinking deadly poison, and things of that kind, and healing the sick, even raising the dead, why they could cure a little hoarseness in a man’s throat. Certainly, that could be done, and the fact that my friend goes along through this debate with hoarseness is going to prove that he doesn’t, and his brethren do not, possess the miraculous powers that’s mentioned here, or he would not allow it to continue. Incidentally, while he is at it, he might just relieve my blood malady, and I won’t have to take any more atomic energy.” (Laughter).

    “But I believe, according to 1 Cor 13:8-10, that the time was coming when those miraculous powers would be discontinued; and that time has come, and, therefore, I’m not trying to handle snakes and drink deadly poison.” [Porter and Tingley, op. cit.,198-199]

“SHALL BE SAVED” …In Heaven?

    There is one more common objection to Mark 16:16 and that is to suggest that the passage refers to eternal salvation in heaven and not salvation from sin. Baptist debater Ben M. Bogard put it this way: “To what time does damnation look? Evidently to the future. To what time does salvation look? To the future, and not to the immediate remission of sins. And so, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved—in heaven! He that believeth not shall be damned—in hell. Undoubtedly one points toward heaven and the other toward hell. You might as well insist damnation here on earth immediately as to insist salvation here on earth as a result of what’s done.” [N.B. Hardeman and Ben M. Bogard, Hardeman-Bogard Debate (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Co., 1938): 137]

    Such a view left him with affirming that one must be baptized to go to heaven while denying it was essential to salvation! As usual, Bogard was all wrong here. The salvation and condemnation mentioned in Mark 16:16 refer to one’s salvation from his alien sins or being lost in them presently. This is seen from paralleling Mark’s account of the Great Commission with Luke’s. Brother Thomas B. Warren said: “Now, of course, Luke 24:46-47 says, ‘repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations beginning from Jerusalem,’ and the ‘salvation’ of Mark 16:16 … is analogous and parallel with ‘the remission of sins’ in Luke 24:46-47.” [Thomas B. Warren and L.S. Ballard, The Warren-Ballard Debate on the Plan of Salvation, Third Printing (Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, 1979): 123]

    We will conclude this study next issue, the Lord willing by refuting an argument against Mark 16:16 based on the false doctrine of salvation by faith alone.