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Our vision reaches from Cape Coral around the world. Our goal is to fulfill Col. 1:28 in seeing every member of the family built up toward spiritual maturity.
Our focus is outward — trying to make a difference here in Cape Coral, the surrounding community, and throughout the world. We believe in serving others, and we believe in a global proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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I was at a dinner meeting with several ministers of various denominations recently, when a discussion of the doctrine of “purgatory” took place. I listened attentively, and finally the question was posed to me: “Rev. Wigton, what is the view of Baptists regarding purgatory?”
I did not hesitate to answer that Baptists believe the words of the Apostle Paul, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” (II Cor. 5:8) Furthermore, I answered, the Apostle Paul says, “For me to live is Christ; to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
There is no Scriptural basis for purgatory, which makes the teaching of purgatory a false doctrine. The Christian doctrines that we believe today come from the Bible and have been articulated for some 2,000 years. The doctrine of purgatory became popular in the 12th century and became official in 1245 A.D. It is a man-made doctrine, not pretending to come from Scripture but from the authority of the “Church.”
In recent years some have tried to find vague Scriptural foundations for purgatory, but there are none. The verses cited have so little to do in establishing purgatory that it is not worth our time to refute them. There is simply no biblical basis for purgatory.
The concept of “purging” or washing away our sins is biblical – but always such purging is based upon our faith in the completed work of Christ on the Cross and the effectiveness of His blood. The Apostle John tells us, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” (I John 1:7) And if we confess our sins, He cleanses us. (I John 1:9)
To believe one must face further penance or purging of sin after death is to deny the sufficiency, authority, and completeness of Christ’s death and shed blood. John tells us Christ is the “propitiation” (or satisfaction) for our sin. (I John 2:2)
The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgement.” (Hebrews 9:27) We will be judged, John says, on whether we are in Christ. “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (I John 5:12) And there is no second chance – no purgatory. We die once – in Christ or not in Christ.
We are not in Christ through the church nor through baptism. We are in Christ by voluntarily putting our faith in Him as one’s only Savior. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power (right) to become children of God.” (John 1:12) Every sinner needs a Savior, and only Christ qualifies to cleanse away our sins and save us.
As a preacher, I have always maintained that the answers to life are found in the Bible. Our English and American judicial system is based on English common law, which is based on books of authority, especially including the Bible. You can see Judeo-Christian principles all throughout our law. If we would follow such tradition carefully, we would have an easy answer for the confusion in Washington over the accusation(s) brought against Supreme Court nominee Judge Kavanaugh.
The answer is simple. Scripture teaches that no accusation should be brought against anyone without two or three witnesses. The confusion we have in Washington is all based on “she said, he said.” How are we possibly to know whom to believe? Far too many people believe one or the other based on their prejudices coming into the issue.
But Scripture has the solution. The accusation should not have been entertained by the Senate committee, especially in public. From the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 19:15 says, “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” By following that principle, we take pressure off of everyone trying to figure out who to believe. Then the New Testament says, regarding people in positions of leadership, in I Timothy 5:19, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.”
The logic is obvious. I wrote a similar article to this years ago when the Anita Hill uncorroborated charge was brought publicly against Judge Clarence Thomas. I would apply the same test of fairness to Democrat or Republican alike. We should not receive these wild unsubstantiated charges, without multiple witnesses for corroboration.
Someone says, well, a rapist could go free — rarely are there witnesses. Police seek evidence other than witnesses all the time — including forensic evidence and circumstantial evidence, etc. It takes more than one accusation to convict someone. To our shame, in our American history we have seen young men lynched on one false accusation.
Someone says, what if it were your daughter? Well, what if it were your son? We need to go by evidence, not emotion.
My view is truly non-partisan. And far too many of us still base our view on political preference or prejudice. We should apply fairness to everyone. And we certainly see that the Bible does have the answer.
Hope is a strange thing. Even when you try to ignore it, it can pop up. When there seems to be no hope, hope whispers to us and revives.
Hope can do damage, such as the gambling addict who is spurred on by the hope of a win. On the other hand, hope can rescue someone who is on the verge of despair.
Consequently, it is important that we have hope in the right thing. We do not want to hope in vain — we want to base our hope on truth. The Psalmist says the Lord is our hope, that we are to rejoice in hope, and that we are to hope in God’s Word (or promises). The word “hope” is used no less than 143 times in the Bible.
Ultimately, our hope is in Christ. As we put our faith in Christ and come to know Him as personal Savior, hope is fulfilled in us. In fact, the Apostle Paul, in Colossians 1:27, assures us of “Christ in you — the hope of glory.”