It is only by the inspiration of God that so many religious errors could not only be anticipated, but also soundly defeated by the power of God’s authoritative Word. Numerous false doctrines existed in the first century that were demolished by the Gospel of Christ. With the passing of centuries new false doctrines have accumulated and continue to the present day. In preparation for my first public debate with Mr. Ballard, my moderator, the late brother J.T. Marlin gave me some good counsel. He put his arm around my shoulder and said, “brother Jess when your opponent tries to prove his proposition by going to a particular verse of the Scripture, then you look at the several verses preceding and following that verse. Most of the time God has already prepared your rebuttal for you.” That good advice proved to be so very true. My opponent argued in our discussion on baptism, that all the Philippian jailor had to do to be be saved was to believe. He beamed as he quoted: “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31). In my rebuttal to that argument all I did was to read Acts 16:31-34, pointing out that “they spake the word of the Lord unto him…” (32), “and was baptized, he and all his immediately…” (33), “and rejoiced greatly…having believed in God” (34). The Word of God not only anticipates religious error, but refutes it as well!
Look at the Calvinistic doctrine of “foreordination and predestination.” This doctrine asserts that certain ones are arbitrarily chosen to be saved or lost, and there is nothing the sinner can do to change that arbitrary decision. Acts 2:21 responds, “And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The invitation is offered to “whosoever” will.
The so-called “thousand year earthly reign of Christ” is destroyed by Peter in Acts 2:30-31, “Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne; he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ…” Therefore, Christ is not coming again to set up His throne on earth, for He is now seated on His throne at the right hand of God in heaven. His kingdom is His church (Matt 16:18-19; Col. 1:13, 18).
Consider the myriad of religious folks who teach that salvation comes by “faith only” or “grace only” or “confession only” et al. Most of these will argue that baptism is not essential to salvation. When Peter and the other apostles were asked by those on Pentecost what they must do, Peter’s answer was unmistakable. Acts 2:38, “And Peter said unto them, repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” One would need professional help to misunderstand what Peter and the apostles taught. In Acts 2:41 we learn, “They then that received his word were baptized: and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls.”
Some religious groups assert that man does not have to do anything in order to be saved, that God’s grace and love will take care of everything. That was the position defended by Mr. Ballard. He argued that “man does not contribute one whit to his salvation.” In my rebuttal I said, “Mr. Ballard, I am a Whit-lock, and I want you to hear the words of the inspired Peter who said, “…save yourselves from this crooked generation.” Yes sir, there are things that man must do in order to have eternal salvation.
There are enemies of the Bible today who deny the bodily resurrection of Christ the Lord. In Acts, chapter two, His resurrection is predicted (25-ff), His resurrection is then affirmed (29-ff), His resurrection was witnessed by the twelve (32), and following His resurrection He was exalted to the throne of God (33-ff). Three thousand souls obeyed the Gospel that day (36) and were added to the church by the Lord Jesus Christ (47).
Did you notice we demolished many false doctrines of men and never left the second chapter of Acts? Just think what would happen if we should take the New Testament chapter by chapter. This brief article would become a 500-page manuscript. How can we view the Word of the living God as being anything other than God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible message to mankind?