by Mark Hunter
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,” II Timothy 3:16-17.
Christianity and the Christian life – and, in fact, basic life here on Earth – is a miracle no matter how you look at it.
God created time and the universe, the Earth and all that is in it and He made mankind in his own image. He guides history, past, present and future, and provided Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. He inspired dozens of writers to describe what He was telling us and why, in the library of 66 books we know as the Holy Bible.
The miracle of all that is taught on a regular basis, book by book, verse by verse, by the teachers of the Radio Bible Courses, Ltd.; James “Jimmy” Gill, Jr., Rev. Louis J. Hilliard, and Jack Lynch.
Jack Lynch – God’s Miracles, Genesis and You
Essentially, a miracle is an unusual manifestation of God’s power designed to accomplish a specific purpose. The creation of the universe out of absolutely nothing at all would be a good example.
If there ever was a “time” when nothing existed, what would exist now? Obviously nothing.
Therefore, the fact that we exist—the fact that anything at all exists—means that there is someone who has always existed, and who has used His power to bring us into existence. Therefore, God has always existed, and has miraculously created the universe, and us in His image.
God’s Word tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them,” Genesis 1:1, 27.
If we are told that we are the result of matter plus time plus chance, then there … is no ultimate significance to our existence.
The true flow of history starts in Genesis. There, we learn of God’s miraculous, historic space-time creation out of nothing; the creation of man in God’s image; a real, historic, in-space-and-in-time moral fall.
Because we have been made in God’s image, we are capable of great good and beauty. And because of the fall, we are capable of unspeakable evil.
The true flow of history—found only in God’s Word—allows us to understand that sin is real, and we need a Savior.
Now when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:3a-4b that, “Christ died for our sins…and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” we see the tremendous impact this miracle has upon our lives!
Louis J. Hilliard – The Bible is God-breathed
God gave us the Bible over many centuries through many different writers, according to II Tim 3:16-17.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God … The word ‘inspiration’ in Greek is ‘theopneustos’ which literally means God breathed – the very breath of God – which makes it different from any other book – from Shakespeare or Milton or anyone else.”
It is a living book – the miracle is that it comes from God and is alive.
Hebrews 4:12 says the Word is, ‘alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.’ And, II Peter 1:20 says, ‘knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation,’ it is not of man – not Shakespeare or Milton or any of those guys – it came – Peter says – ‘by holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’ – the miracle is that God got all of these writers to write the words that he desired to go into scripture at the same time allowing their personalities to go into it.
Jimmy Gill – The miracle of salvation
We’re blessed because we are living in the church period and our salvation has been accomplished. It was over with, accomplished, in human terms, when Christ died.
He came, he lived a sinless life, he offered himself as king of Israel and as was prophesied by Daniel and Isaiah, he was rejected. But that rejection led to his crucifixion and his shed blood, which paid for the sin of Adam and all sins that came from it forever. God accepted that as complete payment forever.
How can Christ’s death at that time pay for future sins? The answer is – God can – because God’s not trapped by time – He created time for us.
Miracles are the fact that God is outside of time and that in eternity past he established the full and complete plan to bring man – that he knew would sin – not only back to Him, but also back to Him not as a creature, but in His Christ.
Now he wants to show this group of people the miracle of Christ, his death, burial and resurrection, that we become joined to him as discussed in Ephesians chapters 1, 2, and 3. It is all done by God, it’s all guaranteed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and it is all free grace.
He has chosen us, in the church, to show the world his perfect grace, saving sinners while they were yet sinners, because Christ paid the price for that sin.
All we have, as the church, is one commandment and that is to, ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ And when we do that and we remember who has bought us with His blood and we choose to live His way – that’s what He wants from the church – and that is the miracle that He has planned.
The miracle of the Bible and the miracles in the Bible are studied verse by verse every Sunday morning at the Campus Bible Study, hosted by the Radio Bible Courses Ltd., at the Burden Center.
Founded by the late Nick Kalivoda (1922-2013), in 1986, the non-denominational, expository – meaning verse-by-verse – Bible study began in the Kalivoda home and soon expanded to the LSU campus. They moved the group to the Burden Center’s Visitor Information building’s main conference room four years ago.
Kalivoda produced hundreds of hours of verse-by-verse Bible study that can be heard daily on five radio stations (see sidebar list), and also on the group’s web site. He also wrote two booklets, “Grace” and “Heaven’s Password,” and most of his teachings, via a large DVD/CD/tape library, are available for free at: www.rbcword.org
Radio Bible Courses, Ltd., is, according to biblical definition, a church; a group of Christian believers who meet on a regular basis to study the Scriptures and support each other spiritually and emotionally. For IRS tax purposes, it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry, explained board President and longtime teacher James “Jimmy” Gill, Jr.
“We call the group a class intentionally because we want people to feel free to be in an atmosphere where they are comfortable and where they sit,” Gill, 79, said with a laugh, hinting at how many regular church-goers sit in their same spot week after week. The RBC group does not ask for money, but they do accept donations and financially support the Voice of the Martyrs, the Cutting Edge Foundation, which provides medical services in the African nation of Chad, and Lamb Ministries of New Orleans.
Gill and Jack Lynch rotate each month in their teaching and the Rev. Louis J. Hilliard teaches each fifth Sunday.
Average attendance is about 50, Gill said, and, like many regular churches, if everyone on the rolls all showed up at once that attendance would double. The conference room seats about 100, so Baton Rouge Christian Life readers are all invited to visit and/or join them.
The class time is set for 9:15 a.m., so members can attend their own regular church service but many of the members say the group is their church.
Eric Kalivoda is Nick Kalivoda’s second son and is secretary of the board of directors.
“We have people that come out of all denominations and backgrounds including Catholicism, [and] various Protestant denominations; people who have been turned off by organized churches so they find this as an alternative,” Kalivoda said. “For a number of the people here – this is their church – some attend other churches.”
“We are definitely non-denominational, it’s purely Bible based, verse by verse teaching,” Kalivoda said, “all it is – is a class – people come in, have coffee and study the Bible – we don’t have a choir or sing songs.”
When asked to further define their theology, Kalivoda said “we’re evangelical – we’re born-again Christian people.”
Gerry McArthur said she has been attending the class for 22 years.
“I was raised Catholic – we didn’t even have a Bible, and I thought it was all works,” McArthur said with a big, happy smile. “Nick Kalivoda inspired me and my husband that Jesus was the right way. It opened my eyes!”
She invites Christian Life readers to attend their class, and if not here – “Get the best teacher that can give you God’s word. The Bible is the best inspiration – it is not works it is by believing His word that you can have everlasting life.”
Warren Beasley drives over from Hammond to Baton Rouge every Sunday to attend the class, he said. He’s affiliated with the Church of God in Christ, and has been attending at least 4 years.
“If you are interested in the Word of God, knowing what the Bible has to say, you need to attend a good Bible teaching class and that is what this is,” Beasley said. “No politics, no talking about what’s going on, it’s strictly 100 percent good Bible teaching.”
“It’s knowledge – it’s teaching, not preaching,” Beasley said. “When you’re traveling you want to know how to get there and that is what knowledge is- that’s what the Word of God is. It’s not about whoopin’ and hollerin’ and choir or building funds or pastor celebrities – it’s about the word of God – John 1:1, says, ‘in the beginning was the word and the word was God.’”