All posts by Dwight Gingrich

Do you “believe into” Jesus?

(Old Facebook Post)

Do you really believe in Jesus? Do you “believe into” him? This blog post is a description of true Christian belief (faith), from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Bill Mounce. Keep reading for a good insight into John 3:16:

“Biblical belief means that you no longer believe or trust in yourself but rather have moved that trust out of yourself and “into” Jesus. Biblical belief is leaving self-sufficiency behind and embracing Christ-sufficiency. Biblical belief is throwing yourself into the merciful arms of Jesus, believing that he will catch you. Biblical belief is trusting him for everything: forgiveness, salvation, life.

To state it more theologically, biblical belief is believing that Jesus is who says he is, and that he will do what he said he will do. It is to believe that he does for you what you could not do for yourself. What did he do? He provided the means by which our sins could be forgiven and we could be brought into fellowship with God. God’s love and Jesus’ death built the gate at the cross so that by faith the door could swing open and we could walk through.

But the Bible doesn’t just say “believe in,” it says “believe into.” The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language, and one of the frustrating parts in being a translator is that certain things simply cannot be restated in English. This is one of those passages.

John wants to make a point, and to do so he breaks Greek grammar. And he doesn’t just kind of break grammar; he makes a horrible “blunder” that is so bad we have no record of anyone else in all Greek literature making the same blunder. Of course, he is doing it intentionally to make a point. John doesn’t say we should respond by “believing in” but rather “believe into.” It is the “into” with the verb “believe” that is such bad Greek grammar.

Saving faith is a trusting in the person and work of Jesus (who he is and what he has done) such that we move our self-reliant trust out of ourselves, flinging ourselves into the merciful arms of God, believing and trusting that he will catch us, care for us, provide for us, protect us, and eventually bring us home to live with him forever.

So what do you think? How is this as an explanation of “believe”?”

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Seeing the face of God

(Old Facebook Post)

Reflections on Jacob’s encounter’s with God and Esau in Genesis 32-33:

Until you experience the shock of actually surviving a solitary “face-to-face” encounter with God where you admit your true character as a heel-grasping, selfish, deceiving wretch, you may never get over your fear of facing your brother against whom you have sinned. But if you do survive such God-wrestlings, and even come out with the gift of a divine blessing, then seeing your brother’s face may feel like seeing the face of God.

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On scanning Mennonite confessions of faith

I’m scanning some Mennonite confessions of faith and booklets of instruction for new Christians, researching where we got the idea of 7 ordinances. It’s pretty frustrating. One moment you’re reading wonderful summaries of biblical truths, and the next moment you’re left wondering whether you are reading the same Bible.

Example: After quoting Rom. 12:2, we’re told “nonconformity to the world in the above passage refers primarily to the way we dress.” Hello? Did you forget to give Paul that memo? He never mentions dress in that passage… Then we get: “The church has the responsibility to design patterns of simple dress for her people, in harmony with Biblical principles. You will find this code written in the standards of the church. You ought to become acquainted with these standards and obey them willingly.” [Military salute. “Yes, SIR!!”] For some reason there is no Scripture reference given for this last paragraph. ??

Or, in another booklet, after a generally good paragraph on what “the Word teaches” about clothing, a move away from “the Word” to simply what “we believe”: “We believe that the principles of nonconformity, modesty and simplicity can best be maintained by uniformity [no evidence given, from “the Word” or otherwise], therefore, we believe uniform plain attire in the congregation is necessary” (a move from “best” to “necessary”).

Or this: “In this chapter we are going to study about the seven ordinances of the church [Pardon me? What seven ordinances? Which Bible passage lists these seven?] The word “ordinance” could mean any commandment or law [pretty close to the Bible’s use of the word, I believe], but in this chapter we will use it in a different [non-biblical?] sense.”

I’m starting to feel like I have when I’ve scanned Roman Catholic catechism books…

[Affirmation: I love my Mennonite brothers and sisters!]

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