The Fork in the Road: The Perfectibility of the Intellect

There are many unstated assumptions that divide the progressive and conservative camps in the Churches of Christ. One of these is the conservative assumption that while our moral nature is fallen and so not capable of perfection, our intellect is not fallen and so is capable of perfection. Let me explain.

When it comes to the ordinary moral sins, the conservative writers will generally explain that grace continuously forgives our sins.

For example, Wayne Jackson writes in the Christian Courier,

While many Bible students are aware of the fact that the blood of Jesus is applied to their souls in their initial obedience to the gospel, which occurs at the point of baptism (Acts 22:16), some do not realize that the Lord’s cleansing blood continues to function on their behalf as they struggle with sin in their Christian lives.

John speaks to this very point. He says “if we walk in the light. . . the blood of Jesus. . . cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

There are several important notes that you can make in connection with this passage. First, the promise of the passage is conditional. Circle the term “if” and note that point. Second, the verb “walk” is a present tense form, denoting a consistent pattern of life. It represents the activity of one who is sincerely striving, on a sustained basis, to serve God. It does not suggest that he is perfect, but that he is trying diligently.

Amen.

Similarly, Phil Sanders writes regarding 1 John 1:7,

I am a fallible sinner saved by the grace of God, dependent upon His mercy for salvation. I understand what it means to be saved, since I cannot save myself. But in all my weakness, I do not suppose that I can presume upon the grace and never need repentance.

The blood of Jesus can certainly cleanse those who walk in the light. Walking in the light is not sinlessness, because no one is capable of sinless perfection.

Again, amen.

Both men interpret the passage well. The test is not whether we’ve defeated sin but whether we “struggle with sin” and are “sincerely striving” and “trying diligently.” We all sin and we are all saved solely by God’s mercy, but he expects us to strive to do right. Amen.

However, both men immediately limit God’s grace when it comes to theological matters. Jackson continues,

Third, the “walking” must be “in the light,” i.e., in harmony with the revealed will of God, the New Testament. Fourth, if this habitual walking in the light is devoutly pursued, the Lord’s blood will keep on cleansing (present tense – sustained activity) the child of God. Implied in all of this, of course, is the fact that the erring Christian must repent of, and confess, his transgressions.

(emphasis added). Ponder this carefully. Our sins are forgiven only while we walk “in harmony with the … New Testament.” In other words, if we get any doctrine wrong, we are not in the light.

Sanders also immediately adds language limiting the grace described in 1 John 1:7 to non-doctrinal matters —

But people can fool themselves, thinking they are in the light, when they are not (1 John 1:6). Sand theology does not yield the same results as rock theology (Matt. 7:21-27). Sand theology is when people build where they want rather than heed the words of Jesus. Self-made religion and innovations are sand theology. Those who plant their own plants will find themselves uprooted (Matt. 15:14).

Sanders declares that bad theology is outside 1 John 1:7, which includes “self-made religion” (which we covered in this earlier post).

It seems rather odd that If we get the doctrine right and violate it — such as through greed or anger or lust — that’s continuously forgiven, even though we know better! But if we err regarding the pattern of worship, we are damned even though we are truly striving to obey God.

You see, Sanders and Jackson, who are quite typical of conservative Churches of Christ, assume that we need grace for moral sin, because we all struggle in this area. No one gets moral sin perfect. But doctrine, well, we can get doctrine right.

The implicit assumption — unstated and likely unrealized — is that our moral natures fell in Eden when Adam and Eve sinned and so can only be redeemed through grace, but our intellects are not fallen at all. If we sincerely study God’s word with common sense and an open mind, we can all reach the identical conclusions and be truly united.

Sanders believes we would all agree on doctrine if we truly all loved God —

In all ages God has shown displeasure with presumptuous innovation. Those who love God will not consider innovation as one option among many. They will keep themselves abiding in the word and so prove themselves to be true disciples (Jn 8:31).

Jackson sees it as a matter of truly revering God’s will, rather than being rebellious and frail —

When one speaks of a “restoration” plea, several things are implied. First, there is the suggestion that there is a divine pattern for human conduct. Second, God expects conformity to that pattern. Third, in the nature of things, rebellious and frail men will digress from that heavenly way. Fourth, it is the responsibility of those who revere the Lord’s will to restore the primitive order and call their fellows back to the “old paths” (cf. Jeremiah 6:16).

But there are plenty of good, devout, God-fearing people who just plain disagree. Everyone is fallen — and not just their moral natures. Our intellects are imperfect as well, and we all make mistakes when it comes to interpreting the scriptures.

Of course, if you study the writings of the conservative Churches of Christ carefully, you find they disagree among themselves over all sorts of issues, too. But if the intellect is perfectible, and if we get the “pattern” wrong only due to rebellion or a lack of love, well, we ought to get it all right, right?

The intellect is fallen as well as our moral nature. Indeed, to argue otherwise is dualistic, even Gnostic. Our minds are far from perfect, we all make mistakes of the intellect, and if God doesn’t have grace for those of us who have imperfect intellects, he has no grace for anyone.

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171 Responses

  1. Amen, Jay.

    I find it interesting that Jackson, and others, would say the Old Testament is not binding today but the only place they can go to prove this supposed need for “restoration” of the Church is the Old Testament. Funny that the New Testament writers never felt a need to warn us we would need to “restore” the Church some day.

  2. (1Jn 1:8-9) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

    You see, Sanders and Jackson, who are quite typical of conservative Churches of Christ, assume that we need grace for moral sin, because we all struggle in this area. No one gets moral sin perfect. But doctrine, well, we can get doctrine right.

    An logical observer might well conclude that conservatives confess their moral sin but claim to be without doctrinal sin. If so, they still deceive themselves, and fail to meet the conditions for forgiveness.

  3. Just how many sins had I or you committed over 2,000 years ago when Christ died “for our sins”? He in fact paid the price for ALL sins.

    The idea that when a person repents and comes to faith in Christ that only “past” sins are forgiven leads to only one place, a works based salvation.

    The righteousness which is by faith is a gift, a declared righteousness based on the obedience of Jesus. My sins, past, present, and future are on Jesus.

    Jesus made one offering for sin, for everyone, forever. If ALL sins were not forgiven, were not put on Christ, each of us would be lost because we cannot live perfectly obedient lives with no sin.

    Both conservatives and progressives believe they stay saved based in part upon a good performance. The only difference is how much is required to stay saved. Both sides fail to understand what Christ accomplished for sinners.

    A person is either depending on Christ alone for eternal life and the promised benefits, or he is trusting Christ and himself.

    Royce

  4. Royce,
    One of the amazing things about recognizing ALL my sin was forgiven is that it causes me to want to be more pleasing to Jesus in light of his great love for us. The notion that a person might want to sin more since there no longer is punishment is just not true to any that I know that have this assurance. I don’t understand how a person could look at it that way if they had really been born from above and were a new creation in Jesus.
    Peace,
    Randall

  5. The view that the intellect can grasp every detail of doctrine is hinged on the assumption that the Bible, in particular the New Testement, is a constitution of law. Though I have not been a member of the Church of Christ for years I do believe I see progressives, in order to have common ground with legalist, concede that the Bible is a constitution of…sorts.

    However, when you consider that the writers of scripture were seekers, as well as interpreters, the idea of the New Testement being a body of laws loses muscle. Matthew and Luke, in their own search, interpreted Mark and other writings for their own audience. John interpreted the life of Jesus to give his readers who felt the rejection of the Jews the encouragement to continue. And while Paul told the Galation christians that “in Christ there is neither male nor female”, I don’t think that would be something he would say to the Corinthians with their own set of problems.

    Even those who use the NT as a book of law are prone use word order, not actual context for proof of argument. I can remember back in the 70’s when one of the champions of conservatives in his defense of the “word only” position regarding the indwelling of the Holy Spirit used Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians, “Is Christ divided?”. Of course, the answer is NO. So the debater’s conclusion was if Christ is not divided then the Holy Spirit is not divided among believers. What a stretch.

    Peter Gomes has written, and I am paraphrasing, that the Bible has to be a LIVING context if it wants to serve a living church. Meaning that context is not limited or set in stone of the first century. It must speak to the NOW. He also stressed that the question today should not be “What would Jesus do?” But, “What would Jesus have me do…now?’

  6. However, when you consider that the writers of scripture were seekers, as well as interpreters…

    John, either the Scriptures are the word of God, or not. If they are the wandering thoughts of some fallible person, then we have no way to know anything for certain about God, and what God expects from us (if anything), and what God may or may not have promised to us. It’s just one person’s opinion against another.

    The Holy Spirit is not a “seeker”. If the Holy Spirit delivered the scriptures (as the scriptures themselves claim) then we had better deal with what the scriptures say. That doesn’t mean they constitute a law. But whatever they do say, counts — if the Holy Spirit did indeed deliver them.

  7. I am absolutely convinced that my opinions are the best opinions possible.

    One reason for this is that when you convince me you have a better opinion, I adopt it!

    Thus, my opinions are constantly evolving – not because I am unprincipled, but because I am principled. Any opinion I hold right now is subject to change as I learn more and grow in grace and knowledge.

    Is my intellect fallen? Of course it is! Thank you, Jay, for a good post.

    Jerry S.

  8. The only kind of fork being used by Phil Sanders and Wayne Jackson is a tuning fork because they seek to harmonize the N.T. with our walk in our Christ. They in no way separate the ability to keep doctrine from the fallibility of man. They do not claim perfection, but they do encourage us to press on to the goal of reaching heaven as Paul taught in Phil. 3.

    You have done nothing but invented these ideas that they some how hold moral sin and the sin of worshipping in the wrong way as separate matters, but they do not. When Jesus died on the cross and we obeyed God’s plan of salvation and were cleansed from sin we have been given power over sin by God’s grace. Does this mean that we can no longer sin or fall from grace? No. Gal. 5:4

    Jay you’re the one that has created a fork in the road because you want God’s grace to cover all sins without doctrine playing a role in our salvation. In fact, it seems that you are trying to say that once we obey God’s plan of salvation then we have ticket punched to heaven because all our sins will continue to be cleansed no matter what we do. If that is not what are teaching, then what are saying specifically?

    However, 1Jn. 1:7 says we must walk in the light, and further down it also says that our sins will be forgiven when they are confessed to God.

    Do you think we can have forgiveness of a willful sin that we commit without repentance?

    Do you think the N.T. is a pattern/law that we are to follow? If so, if we break that law/pattern do think that means sin?

  9. Jay wrote:

    “Our intellects are imperfect as well, and we all make mistakes when it comes to interpreting the scriptures.”

    I agree, but that does not mean that there are no limits/boundaries insofar as what Bible teachings (doctrines) we can misinterpret and still be saved. (Or, are there no limits when it comes to “interpreting the scriptures?)

    Also, I don’t know of anybody who has ever taught that one must understand (correctly interpret) the entire word of God to be saved. I do not think that Mr. Jackson believes (or ever wrote?) that a person can only be saved if and when he corretly interprets EVERY teaching correctly. Rather, I think he believes that CERTAIN teachings must be correctly understood (and practiced) correctly to be saved.

    As do I.

    Yet, we likely disagree (or are not exactly sure) as far as which ones exactly…

  10. Hi Jay

    This is John Brown. My hat and beard picture should come up if it’s me. There are two “John’s”.

    Doctrine certainly matters, as I am sure you believe. Your understanding of just what grace will cover is a doctrine. It just seems to me that the gist of what you write could easily lead to a disregard for doctrine, which is certainly not taught in the NT (especially in the epistles).

    I will return to my suggestion that the greatest posible emphasis in my life on doctrine/morals, is equivalent to the greatest possible emphasis on loving God as He wants me to love Him. My humble feeling is that we need more emphasis on God’s commands in order to love Him more perfectly.

  11. Here is the teaching that seemingly we all have ignored. Here is our doctrine:

    13For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

    Walk by the Spirit

    16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    19Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Grace and peace, Clay

  12. Cougan,

    Please re-read my post. I gave two hearty “amens” to statements by both Sanders and Jackson — and these statements required that we diligently try to obey God. For example, I agreed with —

    It represents the activity of one who is sincerely striving, on a sustained basis, to serve God. It does not suggest that he is perfect, but that he is trying diligently.

    My point is that Sanders and Jackson are being inconsistent, selectively applying 1 John 1:7 when it suits them and not when it suits them. I think 1 John 1:7 applies to Christians all the time. If a Christian walks in the light, he is continuously forgiven.

  13. Hank,

    Sanders says any doctrinal error has the potential to damn. See http://graceconversation.com/2009/07/01/mac%E2%80%99s-response-to-todd%E2%80%99s-and-jay%E2%80%99s-answers-part-3/ referring to http://graceconversation.com/2009/05/30/where-things-stand/.

    If Jackson limits his views to only certain doctrines, I can’t find the limitation in his writings. Maybe he does, but he sure writes in very expansive terms.

    You and I agree that some doctrinal error necessarily damns. For example, you must accept Jesus as the Messiah and as Lord to be and remain saved.

    We evidently agree that not all doctrinal error damns.

    So how do you distinguish error that damns and error that does not?

  14. Jay are you saying that a Christain is continually forgiven even if they do not repent?

    Would you not consider repentance being part of walking the light?

  15. Jay, I’ve had it on my heart for some time now to write you a simple post of thanks and encouragement. I used to be a newspaper reporter in my younger years–and I understand keenly the hardship you face in trying to author spiritual bridges only to have the jots and tittles heaped back at your feet sometimes. Yours is a tough calling. Most of us don’t have our gifts weighed and measured and served back to us in print complete with a “studio audience.” I’m sure your site visitor counts remind you that you have far more readers than commentators. And it behooves those of us in the quiet reading room to raise our hand now and then and say “Be not weary in well doing.” I personally gain as much from the dialog in the posts as I do from your original blog. I realize often that for every one line you write, I read two lines on between–knowing that if all the sky were a scroll and all the sea of ink–dear brother Jay has not the breath or daylight to write every single word that could be or even perhaps should be in every single blog to ensure that every single reader gets every single point without a single misunderstanding : )

    Most of us out here in the quiet majority are soaking it all in and finding little ways in little days to build bridges to the brethren we may have disagreed with–or maybe the brethren we haven’t understood.

    I appreciate your courage, time, tenacity, and teaching. Even when your bloggers disagree with you or miss your point–I gain insight from the dialog that helps guide my prayers. Unity is not only found in full agreement–I think you are creating unity through a growing pool of brethren who wish to participate in honorable dialog. There will always be gnats to swat but I find fewer and fewer who easily swallow camels–and that’s due I great part to work such as yours–and those who pray for it’s success. May God continue to bless you in the administration of the work you have clearly been called to tend.

  16. Cougan,

    How much of Jay’s writing have you read? You could not have been following him for long and ask the question you asked. Repeatedly Jay has emphasized that penitent believers are the ones who are safe – that when we cease believing in Jesus as Messiah and Savior or quit following Him as Lord, we fall.

    In this post, he has postulated people who follow Jesus as Lord, but imperfectly understand what the Lord’s will for them is in doctrinal matters. His main point is that progressives and traditionalists differ over how God treats doctrinal misunderstandings. I have seen nothing in Jay’s writings – here, at Grace Conversation, or on other posts to even hint that he believes God will save someone who is impenitent.

    I hope you will look at Jay’s writings more closely and see if you can see what I am talking about.

    Respectfully,

    Jerry S.

  17. Jerry,

    I have not read any of Jay’s writings. This is the first article I have seen. The reason I ask my questions is because I wanted clarity on what he trying to say. When I read it what he has said in this article, it sounds like he is saying (at least in part) that once you become a Christian that no one has to repent because our sins are continually cleansed.

    I did not come on here to attack Jay, but to find out what he means by his statements. I do not know anything about Jay except for this one article. I want people in here to understand that 1 Jn. 1:7 is saying there is a condition for having the forgiveness of sins and it is walking in the light. Many stop at that verse and do continue reading what is said next:

    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

    John continues on to show us that part of walking in the light, which allows us to have forgiveness of sin includes confessing our sins to God. Many time we are also guilty of forgetting that the chapter and verse numbers were added by men and we tend break the thought of a letter up by chapter, but when you consider the context, which includes the next chapter we learn the following:

    1 John 2:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

    Walking in the light not only includes repenting of our sins it also includes keeping the commandments/doctrine. If we do not keep the commandments/doctrine (which goes far beyond just not believing in Christ) then we have sinned and not walked in the way Jesus walked. We will be required to repent or confess those transgression of the commandments/doctrine in order to walk in the light and be forgiven of that sin or sins.

    One of the problems that progressives have that I have had discussion with is that they do not want to see ends of the argument. For example, I have had some say there is pattern/law in the N.T. If that is true, then there is no way we can sin, that is ends of such an argument.

    So, I hope Jay be specific in what he is saying, so I can fully understand what he is trying to say. Of course, it is his right not answer me, but I hope that he will.

  18. At the CFTF Lectures -http://www.churchesofchrist.com/lectures2010.php- in the Open Forum on Wednesday March 3 (3:30) a man from the audience had the audacity to take the lecturn and argue that Cecil Hook was quoted out of context during the session reviewing his book FREE IN CHRIST. It speaks to exactly what you are talking about in this post.

  19. It is about 20 – 25 minutes in to the session.

  20. Jay,

    This is unrelated to this post, but would you give me a good definition of “missional”?

  21. John are wanting to know how Jay defines it? If not here is a link the defines that word.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/missional

  22. Terri,

    Your encouraging note couldn’t have come at a better time. May God bless you in every way. (And thanks to the delightful Pat for referring you to the blog!)

    Give me a call the next time you’re in West Alabama. I’ll buy you some barbecue.

  23. John,

    I sometimes forget that I have new readers. I’ve covered it many times.

    It’s a fluid term. To me, it means —

    * Using missionary methods in the domestic churches, such as learning and adapting methods to the local culture

    * Participating in the fullness God’s redemptive mission (mission dei, the theologians like to say). This means working with God to redeem individuals, the Creation, relationships, communities, even the culture. This means that benevolence and evangelism are not seen as competing programs but as synergistic aspects of one mission that we each participate in and that the church participates in — congregationally and cooperatively. We are all the church together.

    If you visit a missional church, you’ll notice that the bulletin is filled with encouragements to serve many different ways, not just through evangelism but never apart from evangelism.

    A missional church will make an impact on the community in many ways, all to the glory of Jesus.

  24. Jay,

    I am guessing your are choosing to ignore me. It is your right, but I would not ignore you if you asked me questions about what I believe.

    Do you agree or disagree with what I wrote about walking in the light? If you disagree, please show from Scripture where I got it wrong.

    Since I do not know you or what you have taught would mind sharing with me if you think there is pattern/law in N.T. that we are to follow?

  25. Jay,

    I decided to poke around your website and my jaw just about hit the floor with what many are on here are calling bold and commending you on the views you are teaching. In one your comments you say you are not a patternist. So that answer my question that you do not believe there is a pattern/law for us to following in the N.T.

    I have a question, how you come to the conclusion that women can be elders in the church, that practically any marriage resolved for any reason allows the both parties to remarry with out living in sin, that adultery has nothing to do with sexual sin but means we are breaking a covenant with God, that one can be saved without submitting to water baptism, etc if there is not pattern/law to follow?

    If there is no pattern/law in the N.T. then there is no sin. If God’s grace excludes law/pattern/doctrine, then we are all saved not matter what we do or don’t do. There is no other logical conclusion that can be made.

    As part of trying to justify women elders you play the culture card. Well, if you want to say that a women being an elder should be allowed today because it is acceptable with our culture though it was not acceptable in the 1st century, where are going to draw the line? There are a lot things that accepted in our culture that was not accepted in their culture. Are you going to start justifying anything and everything our culture says is ok, that the N.T. says is not ok. Gay marriage has become acceptable by many in our culture and in other countries cultures, so are going to say that is ok now?

    I could compile a huge list of things that we would need to change to fit our culture. You may say, no I would not take it that far. My question is why not? If you can make alright to have women elders today, then using your same culture argument, we can change up just about anything we want to if it ok with our culture. This is your line of thinking has gone astray. You have not considered the ends of your arguments.

    While you may a sinner feel good about themselves by twisting the Scriptures with culture and by other means, you are giving them a false hope. I doubt you will deal with anything I have said, but I my plea is for you to get back to Bible and stop being bold and courageous in teaching error. Love God and keep His commandments. Take an honest look at what can of worms your doctrine will open up.

  26. As part of trying to justify women elders you play the culture card.

    Cougan, Jay has written an entire book, entitled Buried Talents, where he lays out the vast majority of his thought on women in the church. Suggesting that his whole argument rests on “the culture card” is insulting.

    practically any marriage resolved for any reason allows the both parties to remarry with out living in sin

    Try reading But If You Do Marry… by Jay, or Divorce and Remarriage: A Redemptive Theology by Rubel Shelly

    If there is no pattern/law in the N.T. then there is no sin. If God’s grace excludes law/pattern/doctrine, then we are all saved not matter what we do or don’t do. There is no other logical conclusion that can be made.

    in the above quote, I’ve italicized three phrases.

    In the 1st, you assert something that has never been asserted in anything I’ve read on this blog, and I’m going to risk going out on a limb by saying that Jay has never written or thought such a thing. Rather, I agree with Jay that THE pattern – the clearly stated and ONLY pattern for imitation in the NT – is Jesus Christ.

    In the 2nd, you create a straw man. Then you proceed to whale away on it, all the while pretending that you’re actually attacking Jay’s words. Obedience to God matters. God’s law matters. God’s pattern matters. Man’s law, based on inferences drawn from inferences, is irrelevant to salvation. Man’s pattern, based upon rearranging verses into a delightful array that preaches very well in BEHOLD THE PATTERN sermons, is irrelevant. Obedience to the traditions of men avails for nothing except receiving the applause of men.

    In the 3rd, you create a false dilemma. Even if your straw man were valid (and it isn’t), your either-or conclusion would be invalid. Even if God’s grace excluded those things (which it doesn’t, although many people who believe in the absolute sovereignty of God over every atom and molecule in the cosmos would disagree with me), Scripture is equally clear that many will not be saved. Even if no human response were possible, it simply does not follow that all must be saved.

    Please do a little more than “poke around” – the answers you seek have already been written.

  27. Nick,

    Thank you for your response. The first thing I want to point out is that have nothing against Jay as a person. He is a precious soul to God. My problem is with his teaching because it does not match up with what the Scriptures teach. My plea to those reading this is not to take Jay’s or my words at face value. We are both human and no matter how good our intentions are, we could both make mistakes. All, I ask, is that you compare what Jay and I have written to the Scriptures. Both of us cannot be right, but the Scriptures are always right.

    By the way if believe that you can find the truth out by being a Berean, then that means there is a pattern/law in the N.T. that we can rely on and trust just as Paul told Timothy:

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    It is that pattern/law of the N.T. that Paul told Timothy:

    2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

    I would love it if Jay was correct in what he is teaching. His teaching makes things easier for the Christian. It take that difficult road that leads to the narrow gate of heaven that only a few will travel (Mt. 7:13-14) and turns it into a road that has been reworked with new asphalt. The bumps and potholes have been taken care of and the gate has been widen and it puts more people on that road. As much as I would like this to be true, it is not. We have stop relying on what we want God do and making His Word fit our way of life. Instead, we need to humble ourselves before God and respect His wisdom and the commandments He gives us to follow. Yes, it get hard when we our loved ones get involved with sin. When we cannot get them to change, sometimes we try to find a way to make their sin not a sin.

    Nick I did not say that whole argument of having women elders rest on the culture card. However, culture is one the arguments he used for his position. So, my argument still stands. You need to open you eyes to all the possibilities that playing a culture card can open.

    MDR is one of the toughest teachings in the N.T. that and loving one’s enemy. Again, we are going to respect God and His Word, we must be willing to put Him first. The reason Jay and people like Rubel come up with all these different exceptions is to appeal breaking hearts of those involved in these type of sinful remarriages. Like Saul in O.T. they are listening to their own heart to the heart of the people instead of what God’s Word plainly teaches on the matter. With a divorce rate of 50% or higher, I wish I could teach the same thing, but I cannot because no matter how hard it is, God’s Word must be upheld. Even in the O.T. we can see that the Jews had to make the hard decision to separate themselves from the foreign wives they took along with the children they had with them because they had broken the commandments of God Ezra 9 and 10. Some resisted this idea because it was hard, but the majority submitted to the will of God. So must we. We must stop trying to redefine words such adultery by saying there is no sex involved in that word, when it is easy to prove that is does. What you will notice, is that Jay only focus on how this word is used in symbolic sense of people playing the harlot by cheating on Him if you will by serving other God’s. He is completely silent on the multitude of passages that show that adultery is having sex with someone that is not your husband or wife. Just to give one example that show that the 1st century people understood what adultery meant notice the following:

    John 8:3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 “Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

    For more information on this topic please see my tracts on this at http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/Exposing%20THE%20PAULINE%20PRIVILEGE.htm and http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/WILL%20BAPTISM%20PURIFY%20AN%20UNHOLY%20MARRIAGE.htm

  28. Nick, here is a good question. What does it mean that Christ is our pattern? I keep seeing this come up and do not disagree with it because we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. How do we do that?

    The Bible gives us the answer.

    Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

    Jesus kept the will/commandments of God and He will give us eternal salvation when we also obey the will/commandments of God. If Christ is your pattern, then the N.T. is your pattern. Jesus said:

    John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

    Matthew 7:21 ” Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 24 ¶ ” Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

    As we follow the pattern of Christ, and we understand that Jesus has been given the authority that we must go by (Mt. 28:18), we must follow the law/pattern of the N.T. In fact Jesus says:

    Matthew 28:20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

    As the apostles and other went about confirming the words they were speaking were coming from God, which we have in the N.T., we better pay attention to what it says because this it what in required in make Jesus your pattern. If you can show where I am wrong on this I would be happy to see it because as far I can see you cannot separate the pattern of Christ and the pattern/law of the N.T. because they go hand and hand. Do you disagree with my earlier post about 1 john 1 and 2 that shows that walking in the light includes repentance and keeping the commandments of God?

    Jay calling my argument a straw man does not prove anything. You can huff and puff all day long, but you cannot blow my house down unless you show where I have invented my own teaching that is not found in Scripture. Since you say obedience to God law/pattern matters sounds like to me that you are agreeing with me that the N.T. is God’s law/pattern. If that is the case, then let us go by what the N.T. says instead of playing the culture card and trying twist the Scriptures to teach things that are not there.

    Again you to show where I am trying to get the applause of men by creating my own tradition. Everything I have written comes from God’s Word not myself. As I said, If I wanted to do things my way, I would paint a picture that says that everyone is saved no matter what, which exactly what Jay’s teaching will do if you take it to its logical end. The only reason his teaching has not went that far yet is because he has drawn a line that he will not cross even though principles he uses to arrive at his conclusion will can easily be used to teach that everyone is saved no matter what.

    I agree with your third point in that the Scriptures make it clear that not all be saved, but how do we determine that? We determine from the pattern/law of the N.T. We have no right change the meanings of words or the simply truth proclaimed in the Scripture.

    Once again, thank you for your response Nick because I doubt Jay will respond. He will just right me off as one of the traditionally guys who does not know what he is talking about. Again all ask is the following:

    Proverbs 3: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.

  29. Once again, thank you for your response Nick because I doubt Jay will respond. He will just right me off as one of the traditionally guys who does not know what he is talking about.

    Cougan,

    The only thing Jay might say that you “don’t know what you’re talking about” has to do with what Jay believes. Jay has repeatedly stated, in several different venues, that he does not believe everyone shall be saved. Rather he believes one must believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, repent – treat Him as Lord, and rely on nothing else but Christ for salvation.

    I’ve responded to several of your questions, so I hope you won’t be offended if I ask you one. How are the elders selected at the congregation where you worship?

  30. And Cougan, the other reason I know you aren’t reading Jay’s material very much is that if you were reading very much, you would have noticed that Jay’s an elder at a very large and busy church and a practicing lawyer who also produces this prolific amount of writing. So please stop playing the “he’s ignoring me” card. Frankly, the man hardly has time to repeat himself – that’s why his material is so thoroughly indexed in the Pages section in the left-hand column.

  31. Nick, I have not said that Jay teaches that everyone will be saved. I said, he has drawn line that he will not cross, but the only thing keeping him from crossing that line is himself because the principle he has used to draw his conclusion from on women elders, baptism, MDR, etc when applied to their bitter end will allow the idea that everyone is saved.

    You have responded to several of my questions, but you have not really answered any of them. Since you seem to know a lot about Jay’s writings since he will not answer for himself, perhaps you can anticipate how he would answer questions from the Bible.

    I however will not shy from any questions that anybody asks. Why would it offend me for you to ask a question?

    I do not know specifically how our elders were selected because they appointed elders a long time ago. I have been at our congregation for 14 years and we have not installed any new elders. However, I can tell what Bible teaches about it.

    First there is not doubt that elders are to be appointed to a congregation (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). However, we are not told the specifics of how that is done. We know that Paul and Barnabas did it (Acts 14:23) and Titus was told do it (Titus 1:5). Again, the how is not there. It is kind of the command to go into all the world. We are to go, but the how is left up to us.

    Whatever method we choose to select our elders whether members put names forward to be selected or a minister or the elders put a man name forward is not all that important. However, the important part about appointing an elder is that he must be qualified by the detailed list give by Paul in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1. Since these qualifications must be meet it would be wise for a man’s name to be put out there before he is appointed an elder so that if anyone has a valid reason he is not qualified that it can looked out. The last thing we need is a unqualified elder overseeing the flock.

    So, the how of appointing is left up to us, but the appointing must take place and the men selected must be qualified.

  32. Nick,

    he had time to answer a post that happend after mine. He has had plenty of time to come on here and say, “I am tied up right now Cougan, but I will answer your questions, but it will take a week or two”

    I know all about being busy my friend. I am a minister and I write all the time myself, but I ALWAYS make time to deal with serious matter such as being discussed in this thread. If you want evidence of how much I write go to my website http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/index.html

  33. So, the how of appointing is left up to us, but the appointing must take place and the men selected must be qualified.

    The HOW is left up to us? That’s the pattern you see in Scripture?

    The clear pattern in Scripture is that the evangelist is commanded to appoint the elders. THAT is the “how.” There is no evidence that is ever done any other way in the NT.

    You know this as well as I do. The fact is that we’ve made accommodations to fit our culture.

    The fact that you don’t see our democratic means of elder selection as a cultural modification of the scriptural examples says a lot about what you mean when you say, “I can tell you what Bible teaches about it.” It shows that you are reading those texts through our tradition. Only Tradition says that “the how of appointing is left up to us”.

  34. I know all about being busy my friend. I am a minister and I write all the time myself, but I ALWAYS make time to deal with serious matter such as being discussed in this thread

    See, my friend, you and Jay have differing definitions of what is important. You believe you have the right to call someone on the carpet and interrogate them and demand answers from them without doing more than the barest cursory reading of what they’ve written. You believe your inquisition into Jay’s teaching is important, and your judgment of him should be of great importance to him.

    It seems his priorities are a little different.

    But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. (1 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV)

  35. Nick there is nothing to indicate that the appointing of elders of rest squarely on the evangelist. I already showed you how Paul and Barnabas did it as well as Titus. Again, the emphasis is appointing these men an elders based on the qualifications. I am assuming that Paul nor Titus just walked into congregation and pointed their finger a some men and said you are the elders. No, we can presume that some time was spent teaching the qualifications of elders and then seeking out those who were qualified. This was the process used in Acts 6 to find 7 men to take care of problems they were have at that church:

    Acts 6:2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 “Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business;

    The people in the church that know each other are going to know who would make a good elder based on the qualifications. Some believe this passage in Acts either refers to the first deacons or the first elders picked for a congregation. I will not say either way because the text does not tells us, but the principle is a good one because they know whom would be the best selection.

    Again, I stand behind what I said, how they are appointed is up to us, but they MUST have the qualification of 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1. Based on the principle found is Scripture the evangelist or some other man such as elder with knowledge of Scriptures should teach the congregation what the qualifications are and play active role in testing the men that are being chosen to make sure they are qualified. Since the how is not specified, it would be wise to seek names from the congregation and also give the congregation time voice any objections to qualifications of any man that will serve as one of the elders.

    By following the pattern, one that is able to teach the qualifications and make sure the men are qualified would be the one that helps appoint these men, but the specifics of how it is done is up to us. Saying this in no way is making me conform to our culture. If I were conforming to our culture, I would say that we could appoint women elders and even gay elders.

    What you need to find is where the Bible says that the appointing of elders is to be done by the evangelist. The fact that Paul, who considered Titus as son in the faith, gave him that special task in Create does not in anyway limit the appointing of elders to evangelist only.

  36. Nick,

    As I said a busy man as well. I do not have time to go read every single thing Jay has written to find my answers. He took the time to write the article and put in place where comments and questions could be made. So, it is my right as a Christian to have him clarify what he is teaching when what he is teaching is false.

    I feel sorry for you Nick if you do not think discussing God’s Word is not important enough for Jay or for you to deal with. I for one think is very important. As I have already said I am judging Jay as a person, but I can make a righteous judgment about his teaching (Jn. 7:24; 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

    Now that I have spent a great deal of my time giving you a complete answer with book, chapter and verse, will you extend me the same courtesy and answer some my questions with book, chapter, and verse? You will stand out among your peers if you do because my experience is that people like yourself will state their opinion with no Scripture to back it up, or they will start calling me names, ignore me, or keep asking more questions while never answering mine.

    I can always hope that SOMEONE or ANYONE will actually show me where I have it wrong in my previous post about the N.T. (or could even say Christ) being our pattern to follow. I would like someone to tell me if I got it wrong on what it means to walk in the light.

  37. I think Jay offered up his understanding of walking in the light in post #4 of this series. You may want to read through the entire series starting from the beginning. It has been very good.

  38. Cougan,

    Do you have anywhere on your website where you have written the entirety of the NT pattern? Plain, simple bullet-points would be the most effective in my opinion…because if there is a SPECIFIC pattern we need to be following, we ALL need to see it.

    You said there is a pattern/law that Paul told Timothy–please copy/paste it so we can see it. The pattern, which must be beheld, MUST be in writing somewhere (no, “read the bible” isn’t an answer. A simple copy/paste will do).

  39. The notion that one is doctrinal/theological error places one beyond the boundaries of God’s grace is so problematic that one is hard pressed deciding where to begin trying to offer a rebuttal.

    I will simply say this that if person X believes well-intended but mistaken theological/doctrinal error causes eternal damnation then person X must hold fast to perfect doctrine/theology, for if they ever are found in error then by the claims of their own belief regarding doctrinal/theological error they are lost because they have claimed that one cannot stand in the grace of God and be in doctrinal/theological error and they themselves have been found to be in such error. Of course, that leaves person X with one option…to claim doctrinal/theological perfections and such a claim itself is based upon intellectual and spiritual arrogance and therefore it is by nature doctrinal/theological error.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  40. Nancy what are you talking about? Do you mean post 4 in this thread or something else. I guessing you means something else becasue post 4 is not by Jay in this thread. Would you mind pointing me to the post you are talking about.

  41. Cougan,

    Keep in mind, many of us (if not most) were brought up in extremely conservative churches. For me personally, there are just so many theological dead-ends to much of the conservative dogma. Most of that comes from the basis of the CENI hermeneutic. Lastly, so much of the conservative dogma just doesn’t mesh with the picture I get of God’s heart from scripture. That is the basis of my belief/theology: does this wash with the God I read about in scripture?

    Hey man, read the book, “Facing Our Failures: The Fellowship Dilemma in the Conservative Churches Of Christ” by Todd Deaver. He champions no liberalism in the book; rather, he simply shows the logical problems with the conservative dogma. A guy like you that is smart and conservative–though not a rabid legalist–will get a ton out of this book. Certainly you won’t agree with all, but I assure you it will challenge you in a good way.

    I know what preachers get paid, so if you’d be willing to read this book, let me know and I’ll be happy to shoot you a copy over free of charge.

    Jon

  42. JMF,

    I do not think I have preached every nook and corner of the N.T. yet. I really do not think there is room for me paste the entire N.T. in here or compile a bullet list of each command from the N.T.

    Open up your N.T. and begin to read. Look at the context and determine is this just information or is it a specfic command or generic command. Look at what the N.T. has to say about any given topic from all the books and you will have complete picture.

    Just take a look at Col. 3 for an example chapter that is full of commands we are to follow. I take from your comment that you do not believe that we have a pattern/law to follow in the N.T. If that is true, how can we sin and what is the purpose of grace because if there is no commands/laws to follow their is no way can sin.

  43. Cougan said:

    “I do not think I have preached every nook and corner of the N.T. yet. I really do not think there is room for me paste the entire N.T. in here or compile a bullet list of each command from the N.T.”

    End Cougan,

    Then maybe you are missing some of the pattern!! What if that is the case? What if you are wrong in some of your doctrinal pattern? What if you never learn any different before you die?

    Are you following the pattern set forth to “take this CUP”, or are you a heretic that doesn’t respect the scriptures and has found it expedient to use multi cups?

    Man, it’s not you. We come from a heritage that puts logic ahead of relationship. We think that if we study reeeaal hard and really polish our Greek, we can learn the perfect pattern. Instead, let’s let the scriptures point to Christ, and then let’s listen to him.

    Cougan says:

    “….is it a specific command or a generic command.”

    End Cougan,

    Who decides? Cougan? What happened to just “commands?” Oh yeah, we get trapped on the whole “kiss each other” business. So now we have generic and specific commands. Hmm. Well, I don’t recall this distinction in scripture. So I have to assume that fallible man has created this distinction. Now what do we do when your generic is MY specific? Perhaps I feel scripturally-compelled to kiss you if I meet you some day! And I’ll use my own “inference” to decide just how long to hold that kiss!! 🙂

    This is the slippery pattern slope that we go down.

    I’ll respond another of your points in another post.

  44. Cougan,

    I often post replies via email. I posted a reply to you last night at 9:34, but for some reason, it didn’t get posted by the software. Here’s what I wrote:

    Cougan,

    I thought I’d answered your question. Sorry.

    To be plain, repentance is essential to remaining saved. But I don’t mean by “repentance” the three-step “confess, repent, ask for forgiveness and you’ll be forgiven” teaching. I mean we must remain in a continuously penitent state — that is, we must submit to Jesus as Lord and remain committed.

    That’s doesn’t mean we never sin or misunderstand our Master’s will. We do, but we are submissive so long as we are attempting to be good and faithful servants. Then we walk in the light.

    Those who teach that we are only forgiven when we repent of that particular sin effectively teach that we aren’t saved except occasionally — because we all are guilty of sins of commission and of omission. If we’d repented of them all, we’d be sinless.

    Rather, we are continuously forgiven if we are in the light — and in him there is no darkness at all. We can’t be in Jesus and walk in darkness.

    You are right to have quoted the first part of 1 John 2 where “walking in the light” is defined. However, you stopped too soon.

    (1 John 2:3-10) We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

    7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.

    John says we must obey his commands, and then he tells us what that command is: love your brother. To avoid all doubt, he then says that those believers who love cannot stumble.

    Compare —

    (1 John 3:21-23) Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

    Again, John tells us to obey his “commands” and then explains that this is but one command: believe and love — which sure sounds like two commands.

    But it’s really the same command (but this comment has gotten too long already, so I’ll save that for another day).

    I lay my views out on these questions several places, but I suggest you read the book I’ve now posted online for free: The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace. http://oneinjesus.info/books-by-jay-guin/the-holy-spirit-and-revolutionary-grace/ It’s not long and it’s an easy read. It deals very particularly with the questions you ask.

  45. COUGAN SAID:

    Just take a look at Col. 3 for an example chapter that is full of commands we are to follow. I take from your comment that you do not believe that we have a pattern/law to follow in the N.T. If that is true, how can we sin and what is the purpose of grace because if there is no commands/laws to follow their is no way can sin.

    END COUGAN

    Cougan, it would be silly of me to think that I could answer a query like this in one short post—after all, Jay has been blogging like a cyborg for three years and still addresses this sort of thing on a weekly basis. Your paragraph basically is a good summary of the crevasse between the conservative and progressive sides of the COC.

    Being said, I’m going to do my darned’est to answer your question in less than 100 words (even though you didn’t provide me a pattern:)). We can call this the JMF Theology, and if you use it against me, be sure to date the info, because it is subject to change upon further learning. 🙂

    What one must do to be saved:

    1) Faith in Jesus, living God’s son.
    2) Repent and accept Jesus as Savior.
    3) Maybe get baptized. (Hung up on this. Can make both cases. Very sacramental, seems Old Testement’y. Everything involving Christ comes from heart, this is a symbolic action that doesn’t “love neighbor” in any way. Being said, I think all of that is great. Just not dead-set on using it as a measure for whom is my bro or not.)
    4) Love one-another (all commands are wrapped up in this).

    That is my list for whom I consider to be a brother.

    What does it take to lose God’s grace? I’ll defer to Todd and Jay on that point. Below, I’ll paste the answer that they gave in Grace Conversation. Cougan–you’d really enjoy reading that. It is a written debate between Jay/Todd Deaver vs. Phil Sanders/Mac Deaver. GOOD stuff. http://www.graceconversation.com

    QUOTE FROM JAY/TODD:

    A Christian falls away when he no longer has faith. “Faith” means faith in Jesus.

    A Christian falls away when he is no longer penitent. Equivalently, a Christian falls away when he no longer submits to Jesus as Lord. Equivalently, a Christian falls away when he willfully continues to sin.

    A Christian falls away when he seeks to be justified other than by faith in Jesus.

    END JAY/TODD

    That’s all I’ve got for you, bro. I’m not a preacher, church leader, anything like that. I didn’t major in bible or get an Mdiv. I don’t know Greek. I’m just a plain ole’ Christian that wants to serve my Lord the best way I possibly can. I’m sure you can proof-text some things to poke holes in what I’ve said, but at this point, this is where I’m at. If someone loves God and Jesus, I’m extending my arms. Right now, I’ve spent the first 33yrs of my life searching for law…no longer. Now I only want to search for Jesus and follow him wherever he leads me, and help as many people as i can along the way.

    That is the summary of my theology.

  46. Cougan,

    Let’s start with the “culture card.” Every Church of Christ I know anything about plays “the culture card.” Which Church of Christ greets one another with the Holy Kiss? Has an order of widows per 1 Tim 5? Requires women to have their head covered while praying or prophesying? Washes feet? Has the speaker sit in front of the audience (which is why the scriptures speak of the learners sitting at the speaker’s feet)?

    I have a copy of Thomas Warren’s When Is an Example Binding? — and he plays the culture card plenty of times.

    It’s way, way overbroad to declare the use of culture to distinguish NT commands impermissible. It’s unquestionably permissible. The hard question is: how do we decide when it’s permissible and when it’s not? And I’ve yet to see a conservative author answer that question. (I’m sure someone has done so. But I’ve never seen it.) The ones I’ve read just use culture to distinguish practices they object to and protest when others do the same thing for practices they want to insist on. Otherwise, they’d routinely explain why culture distinguishes this and not that. And they don’t.

    I’ve actually suggested a hermeneutic that helps us make that distinction based on God’s word. It goes like this —

    (Gal 5:6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

    or just as well —

    (1 John 3:21-24) Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

    Where I differ from my conservative cohorts is that I think these passages really mean what they say. And, yes, I’ve considered the ends of arguments at great length.

    Notice that I’m not arguing from today’s culture. I argue from scripture. And some conclusions cohere with today’s culture and some do not. But that’s always been true and always will.

    (By the way, you’ll find a series re my views on homosexuality in the Letter to a Gay Man in the Churches of Christ series. http://oneinjesus.info/index-under-construction/theology-church-of-christ-issues/letter-to-a-gay-man-in-the-churches-of-christ/)

    Are there rules and boundaries? Of course. We must submit to Jesus as Lord, and that means we must strive to obey him. It’s just that we have to also know him, and knowing him means understanding what he came to accomplish.

    You see, Christ came as redeemer, and we are to join in his redemptive purposes — his mission. And that’s the ends of the arguments.

    Christ didn’t come to replace one legal system with another. He came to add us to his body, empowered by the Spirit to work as a community of believers to join God in his mission on earth. .

  47. Cougan, you can read the whole “Fork in the Road” series beginning here:

    http://oneinjesus.info/index-under-construction/churches-of-christ-2/fork-in-the-road-the-conservative-v-progressive-pov/

    When I referred to post #4, I was referring to part 4 of this series.

  48. Thanks Nancy, Jay, and JMF. I do not have time to read all the external information, but I will take a look as much of it as I can, then I will begin make my responses.

    While I digest these things, I would like a simple answer to the following 3 part question.

    Do you think the N.T. is a law/pattern that we are to follow and if we break that law/pattern is it a sin? If you do not think the N.T. is as law/pattern for us to follow, then what is it?

    Thanks.

  49. JMF I missed one of your posts. The 7:17 p.m. one. I know that most of the progressives grew up in the traditional COC. What I have found is they felt too restricted and felt like they were being taught the keeping the commandments were more important than loving God. (By the way one cannot separate loving Jesus and keeping Him commands because they go hand and hand).

    So, when they break away from the traditional COC its almost like a rebellious child who get out from underneath their parents rule, so they go do everything they want no matter how extreme it might be.

    I have seen varying degrees of people is progressive side, from the conservative progressive who still believes in that we need to follow the N.T. at least in part. Usually, this group will allow MI to be used, but will stand firm on God’s plan of salvation with baptism being part of that plan.

    However the other extreme of the progressive will say there is no pattern/law in N.T. for us to follow, which makes anything and every permissible. I keep seeing people like yourself sum up the COC ways of interpreting Scriptures as CENI. CENI certainly plays a part in interpreting Scripture, but it is not the all in all. One must also examine the context, when it written and who written to. We must see if the command that is given is a specific command such do not lie or a generic command such go into all the world. We must also respect what God’s Word says and not try add to it take away from it or bind things or loose that are not there. While this is not an exhaustive list, it show that more the just CENI is involved is determining what is binding and what is not.

    If you want to send me his book, I will read it. I loved being challenged because it keep life interesting and helps me grow. Just send me an email at lgchurchofchrist@cableone.net and I will send you my mailing address.

  50. JMF (8:10 response)

    I do not claim that one must have perfect knowledge of the entire N.T. because I do not know of anyone that does, but I do claim that we must continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord (2 Pet. 3:8). When we see that we are not worshipping God in accordance to His will or we are doing things that we realize are wrong from Scripture, then we must repent and line ourselves up with what God’s Word says.

    Babes in Christ have a lot to learn about what they can do and cannot do. That knowledge does happen over night. Apollos is a good example of this. He was preaching John’s baptism, but after he received instruction from Aquila and Pricilla, he began preaching what he was instructed (Acts 18).

    As we grow as Christians and study God’s Word more and more, we are going to find ourselves have to repent and change various things in our lives. The honest student of the Bible who loves God will always be doing their best study God’s Word and to change their life accordingly. As we grow, learn, and hear God’s truth proclaimed, we must humble ourselves to God’s commands.

    I want to make it clear that I am not your judge. I can make a righteous judgment and tell you what you should be doing, but God is the one with the final say. God’s Word clearly states over and over again in just about every book that we must adhere to pattern/law of Christ. It is obvious that if we do not keep God’s law/pattern then we sin. Sometimes we sin out of ignorance and sometimes we sin willfully, but we have power over our sins because we confess those things we know have done wrong to God and they will be forgiven. We can also ask God to forgives of the sins we are not aware of as well.

    As far as the one cup goes, you can go to my website on my sermon page and look down on right toward the bottom and see a discussion I had with an one-cupper to see how point out that the emphasis in on the content and not the cup itself.

    As far as the holy kiss goes. The emphasis is not on the kiss, but on the greeting. Other methods of greeting one another are mentioned in Scripture as well. Some places do greet each other with kiss, others shake hands. The main idea is to great one another.

  51. JMF,

    I only have enough time to deal with part of your post from 8:41.

    I find your method for counting someone a brother rather odd. You have faith and repentance in place, which is good, but you completely left out confessing Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; Mt. 10:32-33). Surely you just missed confession because without one cannot be saved.

    Then you say baptism might be part of what is needed to be saved. Yet the Bible makes it clear that baptism is necessary for salvation. Jesus commanded it and said it saves (Mt. 28:19ff; Mk. 16:16). Starting in Acts 2 the apostles followed Jesus’ command and taught:

    Acts 2:38 “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Peter also says that baptism saves us in 1 Pet. 3:21.

    How can we be saved if we are still in our sins? Peter makes it clear that at the point of baptism our sins are forgiven. Paul puts it this way:

    Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

    Notice, we can know that our sins are being forgiven and we are being united with Christ at our baptism by our faith in the working of God. Saul conversion in Acts 9, 22, 26 clearly show that one is still a sinner after they believe, repent, and confess Jesus as Lord because Saul was still in his sins until obeyed the instruction given to him in:

    Acts 22:16 ‘And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

    When you consider that every conversion of in the book of Acts that gives much detail mentions that they were baptized along with these other verses I mentions prove beyond doubt that baptism is necessary for salvation and one cannot be consider your brother in Christ until they are put into Christ at the point of baptism Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3.

    One last thing you did not list is that we must remain faithful until our death Rev. 2:10.

    I will deal with the last part of your post, when I start answering Jay’s posts, which I may do tomorrow if times permits.

  52. Jay,

    I have been away for a bit but have re-read your article and feel you have been unfair in your treatment of Mr. Jackson.

    Unless I have totally missed it, it seems as though you accuse him (and others) of believing and teaching that while God forgives moral imperfections…that God does not forgive imperfections in “doctrine,” or “theological matters,” or “the pattern.” But, you are saying more than they have actually said. For example, Jackson said:

    “Third, the “walking” must be “in the light,” i.e., in harmony with the revealed will of God, the New Testament. Fourth, if this habitual walking in the light is devoutly pursued, the Lord’s blood will keep on cleansing (present tense – sustained activity) the child of God. Implied in all of this, of course, is the fact that the erring Christian must repent of, and confess, his transgressions.”

    You then (Jay) conclude thusly:

    “Ponder this carefully. Our sins are forgiven only while we walk “in harmony with the … New Testament.” In other words, if we get any doctrine wrong, we are not in the light.”

    See that? They said that we must walk “in harmony with the… New Testament.” What’s wrong about saying that we must walk “in harmony” with the revealed will of God Jay? I agree with that statement and believe you actually do as well? I mean, would you consider the one who is NOT walking “in harmony” (in agreement with) the NT to be in the light?

    But Jay, you put this spin on what Jackson actually said:

    “In other words, if we get any doctrine wrong, we are not in the light.”

    That is what was/is not fair Jay. Your “other words” are words (conclusions) that he never stated. Think about it….

    Does keeping “in harmony” with the NT mean the same thing as not getting “any doctrine” wrong?

    Too, we all need to remember that the word “doctrine” merely means “teaching” or “instruction.” Mr. Jackson knows that and would never suggest that a person must understand and practice every “teaching” of the Bible correct to be saved.

    But we all believe there are certain doctrines (Bible teachings) that we must adhere to correctly to be saved. However, we all disagree as far as which ones.

  53. Cougan,

    I’d like to make a suggestion or two. It’s too much to argue MDR, CENI, the role of women, the nature of “law” in the NT, etc. all at once. And, inevitably, if we were to take up, say, MDR, we’d soon be tussling over the nature of law in the NT, for example. And so I suggest that we work through the issues one at a time in a logical order. Pick a foundational issue, state your position, and we can talk.

  54. Jay,

    You wrote:

    “Sanders says any doctrinal error has the potential to damn.”

    What’s wrong with saying that? “Potential” being the operative word. Still, it’s different than what you said they said.

    You write (and ask):

    “You and I agree that some doctrinal error necessarily damns. For example, you must accept Jesus as the Messiah and as Lord to be and remain saved.

    We evidently agree that not all doctrinal error damns.

    So how do you distinguish error that damns and error that does not?”

    That’s tough to answer Jay…..I do not know. I believe the answer to that might even vary between people in different situations and /or levels of maturity.

    You know that I have said all along that I do not know precisely where “the line” is for every person in every situation. I believe that is why we must all do our very best in trying to stay on the saved side.

    I know you gave three guidlines for determining whether or not an error will (potentially) damn….but, we both know that they (your guidlines), are quite subjective. In other words, you can’t take every possible error, run it through your three guidlines, and then know for sure if one can continue in said error and still be saved.

  55. Hank,

    You said “I believe that is why we must all do our very best in trying to stay on the saved side.” I think Wayne Jackson and other so called “conservatives would agree with you completely. The only problem with that statement is that its false.

    A person does not stay saved because of his goodness, personal righteousness, believing the right doctrine, or being in the right church. We stay saved because of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises.

    If you saved yourself (you likely believe you at least had a part in saving yourself…) then you are definitely in control and God isn’t. If God saved you then you are not in control.

    The teaching that what God gives a repentant sinner who trusts Christ is only a new chance to keep a new set of laws is anti-Christ and unbiblical. Those who believe such nonsense not only believe it themselves but then try to bind their flawed thinking on everyone else or they declare them unsaved.

    Christ came to reconcile sinners to God he didn’t need any help from the Pharisees and he still doesn’t.

    Royce

  56. Cougan writes:

    Now that I have spent a great deal of my time giving you a complete answer with book, chapter and verse, will you extend me the same courtesy and answer some my questions with book, chapter, and verse? You will stand out among your peers if you do because my experience is that people like yourself will state their opinion with no Scripture to back it up, or they will start calling me names, ignore me, or keep asking more questions while never answering mine. I can always hope that SOMEONE or ANYONE will actually show me where I have it wrong in my previous post about the N.T. (or could even say Christ) being our pattern to follow.

    Nick wrote, several comments EARLIER:

    Obedience to God matters. God’s law matters. God’s pattern matters.

    If I need BCV to assert those things, this conversation is hopeless already.

    Cougan writes:

    What you need to find is where the Bible says that the appointing of elders is to be done by the evangelist. The fact that Paul, who considered Titus as son in the faith, gave him that special task in Create does not in anyway limit the appointing of elders to evangelist only.

    Nick here: Sorry, brother: conservative hermeneutics doesn’t (don’t?) work that way. We have a specific command to Titus: “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you” (Tit 1:5 ESV, emphasis mine) Notice that Paul did not say oversee the elder appointment process or anything along those lines. He specifically commanded the evangelist Titus to appoint elders in every town in Crete. Silence forbids anyone else but Titus to do so, right? Next, we have to see whether this was a special situation as you assert, or whether this was a specific command as part of a general pattern. As you’ve said, for that, we must go to Luke’s accounts in Acts.

    Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. (Acts 6:3 ESV)

    And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23 ESV)

    The question remains: who gives the men their authority? The congregation in Acts 6 is commanded only to LOOK OUT FOR men with certain qualifications and inform the apostles of their findings. In each case, fully in harmony with what Paul specifically commands Titus, it is the evangelist who has the final say over whether or not those men are appointed to the position. Further, the Acts 6 passage says nothing about elders – notice that James, the best-known elder of the Jerusalem church, is not among the men so noticed and appointed. There is nothing in any of the elder passages that suggests that the congregation has any role whatsoever in their selection.

    There you have it:
    — A specific command to a non-apostolic evangelist (Titus 1:5), confirmed by:

    — An apostolic example (Acts 14:23), lacking:

    –Any suggestion of options or cultural influence – thus making it a binding example according to Ascertaining Biblical Authority or When Is An Example Binding?.

    The case for the Lord’s Supper being a Sunday-only practice is made on far weaker evidence. You, Brother Collins, may assert as long as you like that the how is left up to us. I don’t believe that, according to your own theology (The Regulative Principle and the Forbidding Authority of Silence), you can prove that the how is left up to us, when Luke and Paul give us such a clear command and example.

    This inconsistency is important, and I pray you consider it well.

  57. Hank wrote:

    You know that I have said all along that I do not know precisely where “the line” is for every person in every situation. I believe that is why we must all do our very best in trying to stay on the saved side.

    Hank, I assert that you’ve shown us pretty clearly that you don’t precisely know where the line is for you, right now. Thus, I have two questions:

    1) Am I wrong? That is, do you know precisely where the line is for you, right now?

    2) What sort of God demands that you stay on the safe side of a line you can’t see?

    In the Army, we called such lines tripwires, and we used them to lay traps to kill our enemies.

    Hank also wrote:

    In other words, you can’t take every possible error, run it through [Jay’s] three guidelines, and then know for sure if one can continue in said error and still be saved.

    I think that is precisely what Jay’s guidelines provide. If it were possible to plot out every possible error (which conservative theology requires (remember, ignorance is NO EXCUSE) but cannot produce – Al Maxey has been challenging conservative writers to produce this list for over 30 years, and no one has taken him up on the challenge yet), I believe Jay’s guidelines will clearly assess the truth of the matter in each case.

    Is the error a denial of Jesus Christ as Savior?

    Is the error a rebellion?

    Is the error a conscious addition to Christ’s requirements for salvation?

    Todd’s book blatantly exposes the conservative theology’s utter inability (despite exhaustive Scripture quoting and reorganization) to see the line, describe the line, or even agree on the line.

    In contrast to that, Jay’s simple Biblical tests are far more appealing to me.

    PS – I think you’re right on the Jackson question – I think Jay did overstate his case there. I’ve read and communicated with Sanders several times, though, enough to confidently assert that Jay depicted Phil’s position warmly and accurately. Jay does NOT believe (and I don’t think you do either) that ANY doctrinal error potentially damns. I actually don’t think Phil believes it, either – how could a person believe that and ever stop studying for a single moment? Conservative practice says far more about conservative belief than conservative profession does. What they profess [that ANY error can potentially damn], they cannot consistently live out – therefore what they are professing cannot be the true doctrine of God.

  58. Jay that sounds good. I will begin with the women being allowed to be elders first because you say culture allows it. Before I start dealing with, would please answer my 3 part question from an earlier post becuase it will be helpful.

    Do you think the N.T. is a law/pattern that we are to follow and if we break that law/pattern is it a sin? If you do not think the N.T. is as law/pattern for us to follow, then what is it?

  59. Nick you quoted:

    Obedience to God matters. God’s law matters. God’s pattern matters

    This quote does not tells us anything of consequence because I can say a lot things matter, but saying things matter does not mean they are necessary. I could say that baptism matters, but that does not say whether I think it necessary for salvation or not.

    Regarding appointing elders your not understanding what I am saying so I will try to make it clearer. The N.T. does not give us a command on how the elders are appointed. We have the example of who did it, Paul and Barnabas, and then Titus, but how the did it not given. We are simply told they were appointed.

    While we do not have the details of how they were appointed, we do have all the details of what qualifications they must have to be appointed.

    As far as selecting the men to be appointed to that office based on the principle in Acts 6 (which I did not say was referring to deacons or elders, but that some say that it might be) the members of the church are going to know which men would make good elders.

    Nick even I agreed with you that it was left up to the evangelist to appoint the elder, you would only have the who and not the how. Again, I cannot stress it enough the emphasis is on the qualifications and not how the appointing of elders is done.

  60. Jay, I do think there are some culture issues that we must consider in the N.T. but the role of the women is not one them because the role of women has been established since creation.

    In my estimation if you can play the culture card with women and make them elders, then there is nothing we cannot play the culture card on including making gay marriage acceptable today.

    Many of the things you listed in March 5th 9:26 p.m. are culture related some of which are still practiced today. I have already explained about the holy kiss. The chapter about the head covering Paul clearly says:

    1 Corinthians 11:13 Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him? 15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God.

    Washing feet was certainly something done during Bible time that was associated with being a good host and Jesus used it as example to teach His disciples a spiritual lesson. We are not commanded to wash peoples feet.

    One of their customs was to preach while sitting down, but when they read the Scriptures they stood up. This however, was not always done and we can see in the N.T. where some times they sat and sometimes they stood. There was not official way this took, nor should their be.

    I just wanted to briefly touch on some of these things you mentioned that are customs and they do not change what God has specifically stated about the role of women. To see my argument of about the role of women, I point you to the tract that I wrote it:

    http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/Embracing%20Your%20God%20Given%20Role.htm

    Please do not forget to answer my 3-part question from previous post before you respond to what I have said about the role of women

  61. Royce are you serious when you say:

    A person does not stay saved because of his goodness, personal righteousness, believing the right doctrine, or being in the right church. We stay saved because of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises

    If this is true, then everyone is saved no matter what they do because God never waivers on His promises. However, a simple reading of the Bible shows that God’s promises are ALWAYS conditional. We must have obedient faith in order to be saved and remain saved and to accept God’s promises.

    Royce do really believe that we were are not given a new covenant that contains law that we are follow? Where in the world to you get that idea. If there is no law for us to follow, then we cannot sin, which brings us right back to the same conclusion that everyone is saved no matter what they do.

    I offer the following information that you might find helpful:

    The authority of the law/covenant was nailed to the cross in the first century. However, there is nothing wrong with saying that we (that is humanity) are no longer under the authority of the Law of Moses, but we are under the law of Christ. That in no way says that you and I today have ever been under the authority the O.T.

    However, there are some that try to go back to the O.T. and live by it. If a Christain tries to do that they can fall from God’s grace (Gal. 5:4) just like the Christian Jews could during the first century.

    Law (Christ’s Law) and grace work in perfect harmony. Grace was God’s part and obedient faith is our part. The book of Romans can be used to show that one must have an obedient faith to the law of Christ as found in the N.T.

    Romans 1:5 Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,

    How did they receive grace and their apostleship? by obedience to the faith (the system of faith as found in the N.T.)

    Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

    Again, we see something had to be obeyed to be set free from sin? What was it? It was the form of doctrine they were delivered. If grace excludes law and you are saved by grace alone, then nothing would need to be obeyed on our part. Yet Paul clearly say we must obey that form of doctrine.

    I will go by what Paul says, and realize that I must obey the law of Christ as found in the N.T. to be set free from sin.

    Romans 2:8- but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

    If you do not obey the truth (N.T. law) you will face the wrath of God.

    How do we learn have faith?

    Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Without the law of Christ we cannot have faith or be pleasing to God Heb. 11:6.

    Romans 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient — 19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

    What was Paul doing? Making the the Gentiles obedient. To what? The law of Christ.

    The book of Romans begins and ends with the need to obedient to the faith.

    Romans 16:26 but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith — 27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.

  62. I never said one should not be obedient did I? What I believe is that we are not counted righteous because of what we do. We are counted righteous on the basis of what Jesus has done.

    Why did Jesus die? To take away our sins, to save us from our sins, or to give us another chance at keeping a new set of laws. If so, must you keep them perfectly? If not which ones can be left off? Do you do everything the New Testament says a man ought to do? Do you have every doctrine right? If not you might be lost huh?

    Royce

  63. Here is a question I received some time ago and answered on my blog here.

    Do you believe that the average person is intellectually well grounded to recognize the truth in their own views and what is true or not true in other views? If not, why not and how can this be rectified? If yes, what persuades you of this, or does it matter?

    The answer depends on how you answer Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” The answer to that question is at the root of what is being discussed on this thread. Until we can agree on an answer to this question, all of the discussion in the world is likely to be just talking past each other.

    I invite you to consider my answer, which I believe is the Biblical answer.

  64. Jerry you answer is correct. Unless we agree that N.T. is the pattern/law we go by then anything goes, which is why I have asked Jay to answer that 3-part question of mine.

  65. Royce this is what you said:

    A person does not stay saved because of his goodness, personal righteousness, believing the right doctrine, or being in the right church. We stay saved because of God’s faithfulness to keep his promises

    In saying this you excluding anything we can do on our part to be saved. No one COC person that I know of would ever say that we can earn our salvation or that we some how our works earn our way into heaven, but without our good work, without keeping the commandments of God, we choose to throw God’s grace to the corner. I think the best description of what a Christian should do is described by Jesus in:

    Luke 17:7 “And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 “But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 “Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

    Jesus has made it possible for us to be righteous, but once we are saved we must begin the good fight of faith to remain righteous.

    Why did Jesus die? To take away our sins, to save us from our sins, or to give us another chance at keeping a new set of laws. If so, must you keep them perfectly? If not which ones can be left off? Do you do everything the New Testament says a man ought to do? Do you have every doctrine right? If not you might be lost huh?
    Royce
    Jesus died to give us power over our sins and He gave us instructions on how to live righteous lives by following the pattern/law in the N.T. (Mt. 28:20). His death brought forth a new covenant, which consist of new laws. Some of the laws are not new ones because some of the laws from the O.T. have been reinstated.

    Our goal is to keep all of God’s commands, but it is a growth process as I have already explained. I do everything I can to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, but when I fall and do from time to time, I know that I can repent of my wrongdoings and be made right with God once again.

    When it comes to doctrine, we should all be striving to learn what it says and live by it, but we should not do is try to make elaborate arguments to open up doors to more error based on whether doctrine can be kept perfectly or not.

    What I mean by this is what the progressive have done. They do not like the idea that we have a pattern/law to follow in the N.T. They view it as too hard to follow, so they make the argument from the extreme and say well if you do not know doctrine perfectly then you are in sin, or if you do not say and everything perfectly then are in sin. Instead of emphasizing the importance of striving for perfection and doing your best to know the doctrine and keep the doctrine, they do a 180 and say since we cannot be perfect at doctrine or the commands then this must mean there is no doctrine/pattern to follow. So, lets all just love Jesus and deemphasize law keeping and teach that we can add and take away from Scripture freely as long as we do it for a good purpose.

  66. Cougan, is it your understanding that Jesus death, burial and resurrection just sorta gives us a leg up so to speak (kinda like somebody might open a door for you in business or something), but then really it’s up to us to do the rest and if we don’t understand something perfectly we’ll be tossed out of the Kingdom.

    I’ve never heard a true believer advocate disobedience. True followers of our Lord take obedience very seriously. My personal experience has been that following the conventional CofC doctrine was easy. Dying to self and being transformed to the likeness of Christ is HARD.

    (where are the emoticons when you need one?)

  67. Cougan,

    I’m not sure, you understood my point. My point was that it is easy to know the pattern if we understand that Jesus Himself is Truth and that He is the pattern.

    I do not believe the “pattern” is a puzzle we must figure out through inferences and connecting up scattered texts or phrases. If Jesus is the pattern, it is easy to discern.

    If the pattern is discovered in inferences and scattered texts, it is difficult to nigh impossible to know what the pattern is, which is the reason you and others who are asked to identify the pattern simply say “Read the New Testament.”

    We do read the New Testament – and honest, intelligent people still disagree.

    Something has to be wrong with the approach to the New Covenant as if it is simply an updated Law of Moses.

    Jerry

  68. Cougan,

    The OT law was impossible to keep perfectly. Does God require less of the NT law (pattern)? Before you answer, let me remind you that it is even a higher standard than the OT law. Remember Jesus saying of the Law “….but I say unto you…” Hating a brother was not a crime but now is murder. Lust was not a crime but not is adultery.

    If you are thinking that you will keep all of the laws perfectly you are in for a rude awakening. Jesus came to “save ” them from their sins. You don’t get rid of your sins by putting in a fine performance. Only Christ Jesus takes away sins.

    If you plan to live according to the “pattern” then I’m sure you know what it is. Will you tell us what the “pattern” is? Don’t just reply ‘the Bible”. That is not a good answer. Which parts of the Bible must a person follow exactly to make it to heaven? Or, does God grade coC people on the curve?

    Royce

  69. Nancy on the contrary, I do not think Jesus sort gives us a leg up, He is our all in all. Without Him, we have no access to heaven. He is the propitiation of our sins 1 John 2:2. God has is part and yes we have our part, which is why we are told:

    Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

    Why Paul went around preaching:

    Acts 26:20 “but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

    Nancy I have never said nor will ever say that you are or anyone else must have perfect understanding of the Scriptures to keep from being kicked out of the kingdom.

    In my opinion Jay is not only practicing disobedience, but leading other to do the same. When we can say that there can be women elders because of culture for example you are disobeying what God’s Word plainly teaches. It one thing to have a misunderstanding about a difficult text or one that is not clear, but to rewrite that which is clearly stated is disobedience and disrespect for the will of God. Perhaps when Jay gets the chance he will be able to explain how he could arrive a such a conclusion with perverting the doctrine of the N.T.

    I agree with you, Dying to self and being transformed to the likeness of Christ is HARD. Doing this includes being obedient to the N.T. Scriptures. Jesus being perfect example was able perfectly keep the Law of Moses and it should be our goal to strive for perfection in keeping the commandments of the N.T. Not as some check list, as some advocate, but as an expression of our deep love for our Savior and what He has done for us.

    Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,

  70. Then can you provide us with the complete list of N.T. commandments as you understand them.

  71. Jerry, this is a popular teaching among the progressive and so far to the best I my memory I have never seen anyone explain what they mean when the say Christ is the pattern. Again, I do not have a problem with that because to me if Christ is the pattern, we know that He did everything in His power to keep the commandments perfectly and He and only He did it. Everything He did was to please the Father and He obeyed all the commands including being baptized by John even though He had not sin. He did it fulfill all righteousness.

    If Jesus is our pattern, then we too must do everything in our power to obey the pattern/law in the N.T. We already know that we fail to be perfect, but Jesus had made it possible for us goof up, learn from our mistake and continue to move forward. Our goal should not be to redefine Words and play culture cards, but take the Scriptures at face value. The commands of Jesus are not burdensome, but we make them difficult. While some of the Scriptures are hard understand, they are not impossible to understand.

    The new covenant is not just update of the Law of Moses it far more than that. It is called the new better covenant. It has taken most of the physical ways of worship and moved them to a spiritual way of worship. This great new covenant gives Jews and Gentiles the ability to be God’s people. Jerry do no cheapen the new covenant we have that was put in place by the blood of Savior by calling it an updated Law of Moses. Yes the N.T. has laws that we are to obey, just as the O.T. did, but the new covenant is far better.

  72. Cougan, Jay wrote a book about his conclusions regarding the role of women. You can find it here:

    http://oneinjesus.info/books-by-jay-guin/buried-talents/

    You can even download it and print it out so that you don’t have to read it on your computer.

  73. Nancy I scanned it through it already, which I is why I know that Jay says that women can be elders today because of culture. It is up to him to defend that postion. I have given him my information. I have no doubt that he will deal with it because he said he would. It may not be today or tommorow, but optimistic that it will be soon.

    I would like to see how he can play the culture card on this issue and prove it from Scripture.

  74. Cougan,

    Two questions:

    1) When you quoted Philippians 2:12, why did you not also include verse 13? There Paul goes on to say, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Yes, we “work out our salvation” – but we are able to do so ONLY because God is working in us both to want to obey Him and to be able to obey Him. Of course, we can resist the Spirit of God within us and refuse to work out what God works in us – and if we do this repeatedly, we quench the Spirit and we fall away.

    2) You said to Nancy, “Dying to self and being transformed to the likeness of Christ is HARD.” Why did you say this when Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden light;” in contrast, Peter said that the Law was a burden which neither we nor our fathers could bear.

    A response to your question:

    Jesus is the pattern. He invites us to take up our cross and follow Him, denying self. When we follow Him, we follow the pattern. He gave us two specific commandments: Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as you love yourself. He said that everything hangs on these two. I believe He meant it. He showed us in life what it means to love God and love neighbor.

    When He described the judgment scene, the division between the sheep and the goats was based on acts of love – not on the correct performance of the ritual of worship – or correct identification of the meaning of the mark of the beast – or having the right opinion about Calvinism. Is there more involved in judgment that what is described in Matthew 25? I’m sure there will be. But if you fail to love, you fail. Period.

    As I read the epistles, I see two things repeatedly: a strong emphasis on what God has done for us in Christ and what it means for us to love God and neighbor. If you take those two things out, there is very little left in the epistles.

    Jesus did not come to give us a new and better law. He came to give us Himself. When I open the door to Him (and Revelation 3:20 where He stands at the door and knocks is addressed to the luke-warm church of Laodicea), I open my heart to the new life that He brings – a life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

    It is interesting that in the next chapter after Philippians 2:12, Paul wrote that his desire was to be found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (v. 9) Why don’t you talking about the righteousness that is by faith, that is by trust in the one who has promised?

    Your talk about “God’s part” and “our part” is just another way of trying to put God under obligation to you. “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5). Every act of obedience we offer is nothing but a response of trusting love when we are following Jesus – and everything that we may do is a joy, not a burden that is hard.

    Brother, open your eyes to the freedom that is in Christ Jesus! Jesus set you free. Now be free – but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh (Galatians 5:1, 13; see also verses 19-21 for a description of “the flesh”).

    Respectfully yours,

    Jerry Starling

  75. Jerry, I was the one that wrote dying to self and becoming a disciple was hard in response to Cougan’s assertion that progressives think following a N.T. pattern is too hard. My personal spiritual journey has been that following “rules” is much easier than actually dying to self and becoming the person that God intended for me to be. I agree completely that it is the Holy Spirit (God) that does the transforming. I personally find the refining to be uncomfortable at times, sometimes difficult.

    I hope that’s clear.

  76. Royce wrote:

    “If you saved yourself (you likely believe you at least had a part in saving yourself…) then you are definitely in control and God isn’t. If God saved you then you are not in control.”

    However, on the Day of Pentecost, the inspired apostle Peter, “…warned them and pleaded with them saying SAVE YOURSELVES….”

    What do you think Peter had in mind exactly Royce? When he told them to “save yourselves”?

  77. Nick wrote:

    “I believe Jay’s guidelines will clearly assess the truth of the matter in each case.

    Is the error a denial of Jesus Christ as Savior?

    Is the error a rebellion?

    Is the error a conscious addition to Christ’s requirements for salvation?”

    Nick, let’s suppose that a certain church is not guilty of any great error at all, but merely being “lukewarm.” (Strong’s #5513 chliaros) — Would that be a denial of Jesus? Would it be rebellion? Would it be an addition to Christ’s requirement for salvation?

    In fact, can you say (with absolute certainty) that you (your children, etc.) have never been guilty of being lukewarm?

    Does Jay’s 3 point guideline tell a person precisely when and where the Lord considers one to be a “lukewarm” Christian?

    Nick wrote:

    “Hank, I assert that you’ve shown us pretty clearly that you don’t precisely know where the line is for you, right now. Thus, I have two questions:

    1) Am I wrong? That is, do you know precisely where the line is for you, right now?

    2) What sort of God demands that you stay on the safe side of a line you can’t see?

    In the Army, we called such lines tripwires, and we used them to lay traps to kill our enemies.”

    I know that the line is sometimes called “lukewarmness.” But, I do NOT know precisely who, when, nor at what point God considers a believer to be “lukewarm.” Do you Nick?

    If you, like everybody else I know, are not exactly sure of precisely who, when, and at what point God considers a believer to “lukewarm,” then perhaps you ought to be a little slower in accusing God of laying traps and asking what kind of God would that be?

    PS, I am glad you can see that Mr. Wayne Jackson was misrepresented above. The article wasn’t fair.

  78. Hank,

    I’ve been reviewing Jackson’s web site (not for the first time) to see whether I’ve been unfair to him. He has written —

    # The primitive Christians were warned repeatedly about “falling away” from “the faith” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1ff; 2 Timothy 4:1ff). The expression “the faith” has to do with a body of doctrinal truth. If there is no doctrinal pattern, how could one ever “fall away” from the faith? Note also that identifying marks of apostasy went beyond so-called “core” matters, such as the deity of Christ. They concerned things like the forbidding of marriage and prohibiting of certain foods (1 Timothy 4:1ff).
    # Paul spoke of the “pattern of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13) which the early Christians were being taught and in which they were to “abide” (3:14). These truths were to be passed on to others (2:2), and men were to be charged not to teach a “different doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3). How in the name of common sense can men read these passages and not know that there is a body of sacred truth with which we must not tamper?
    # The writer of Hebrews affirmed that Moses, in constructing the tabernacle, was warned by God that he must “make all things according to the pattern,” which was shown to him at Horeb (8:5). Do we, as recipients of the “better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22; 8:6), sustain a lesser responsibility as we minister to God in his church—of which the tabernacle was but an inferior type? (cf. 9:1-10). It is unbelievable that anyone would dare to argue such.
    # John unequivocally states that those who go beyond the “teaching of Christ” have no fellowship with God (2 John 9).

    http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/113-the-restoration-of-first-century-christianity. That sure reads like any doctrinal error makes one an apostate to me.

    However, in an article called “The Controversy Regarding Fellowship,” Jackson says that those who teach error that leads to sin should suffer “restricted fellowship.” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/893-the-controversy-regarding-christian-fellowship. He advocates restricted fellowship for those who teach error as to adultery (likely referring to MDR disputes), error as to the pattern of worship, and some other issues. This restricted fellowship means that pulpits and periodicals are closed to such men and the churches are warned against them. However, he says that the apostate should suffer discipline as well — so he doesn’t make a distinction between being apostate and being disciplined. Rather, his distinction seems to be between whether the teaching is dangerous — and he includes a broad variety of teachings in that category.

    But then, he writes elsewhere, “The silence principle is quite valid, and a repudiation of it leads to abject apostasy.” http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/128-the-silence-of-the-scriptures-permissive-or-prohibitive

    And speaking of Carroll Osburn, whom he declares as guilty of violating 2 John 9 (“does not have God”) —

    The professor makes it clear that, in his judgment, the threshold for Christian fellowship is merely the conviction “that Christ is the Son of God” (p. 90). Such matters as observing weekly communion, the use of instrumental music in worship, the dogma of premillennialism, or, for that matter, whether baptism is “for,” or “because of,” the remission of sins, are issues of no serious consequence to him. He would throw wide open the doors of Christian fellowship to those who subscribe to any of these notions. And he is a teacher of our youth!

    Obviously, Jackson disagrees and would not fellowship those who disagree on these issues — as they do not have God.

    And so, to be fair, Jackson does not damn over some issues. But he includes the boundary marker issues — worship, MDR, etc. — in the “doctrine of Christ” in 2 John 9 so that those who are in error on these issues do not have God.

    When brethren hold opposite viewpoints on various points of Bible interpretation, quite obviously someone is in error. But the question may be: Is that error of such serious consequence as to be a threat to the eternal welfare of others? Let us consider several matters.

    At the point of the death of a Christian, does his spirit enter into paradise, or go directly to heaven? Good and respectable brethren have differed over this question, and someone is wrong about the matter. But surely it is not an area where a refusal of fellowship must be involved.

    http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/893-the-controversy-regarding-christian-fellowship

    Therefore, while not all doctrinal error damns, the test of what error damns is circular (we should limit fellowship if the error threatens to damn others) and I truly have trouble finding any boundaries on how broadly 2 John 9 can be interpreted. He objects to limiting the verse to the incarnation and seems to include nearly every kind of doctrinal error within its sweep.

    I have trouble finding a distinction between “apostate” and “subject to discipline,” and I suspect this is due to have a theology that causes one to fall away for every sin until repented of. Therefore, we don’t entirely exclude those who’ve fallen away from our fellowship as they may soon repent and return. Falling away thus becomes a disciplinary issue.

    You see, if you’ve sinned, you’re not saved again until you confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/870-1-john-1-7-the-cleansing-fountain and http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/832-gods-plan-of-salvation-for-his-lost-children This kind of theology means that all sin damns until repented of — and a continuing doctrinal error is sin.

    I’m trying to be fair and not editorialize. But it strikes me that Br Jackson’s takes 1 John 1:7 as offering continuous forgiveness only if we repent, confess, and ask forgiveness. And for doctrinal error (other than error that occasions no sin), this means no longer being guilty of that error.

  79. Jay,

    Whether or not you find what you are looking for regarding the teachings of brother Jackson, you still have him saying what he never actually said in the above article. “In harmony with” the will of God does not HAVE to mean doctrinal perfection. Even if the man did clearly teach that somewhere else…he did not in the quotes you have above. And we ought to be extremely careful when speaking for others.Perhaps we should simply ask him whatever it is he believes and teaches? I’m sure he would welcome the inquiry.

    Also, when you get a chance, I wonder what you believe concerning “lukewarmness”? Do you know precisely when and at which point God considers a believer to be guilty of such? Do you know if you have ever been? If there are any in the church over which you currently shepherd? How can we tell for sure whether or not God considers one to be lukewarm?

    Thanks..

  80. Hank,

    In one of the Faith Lesson DVDs by Ray Vander Laan, he shows video of two cities in the area of Laodicea. Some of the notes are on his website.

    Hierapolis was famous for its hot springs, which people would visit for healing. http://www.followtherabbi.com/Brix?pageID=5552

    Colosse was famous for its cold water from the nearby mountains, considered as highly invigorating. http://www.followtherabbi.com/Brix?pageID=5553

    Laodicea, however, had foul water that made people sick. http://www.followtherabbi.com/Brix?pageID=5554

    Vander Laan concludes that Jesus’ complaint with those in Laodicea wasn’t so much a tepid passion as a failure to be of any value. They didn’t refresh and they didn’t heal. They weren’t good for anything.

    (Rev 3:17) You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

    The irony is that they were self-satisfied, saying they need nothing, when people of wealth should be providing for the needs of others, rather than bragging about the self-sufficiency.

    As John wrote,

    (1 John 3:16-20) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

    A failure to love is evidenced by a failure to serve others. There are many ways to serve, but those who brag that don’t need to be served but fail to serve others are far from the heart of Jesus.

    That being said, I don’t know “precisely when” someone falls away. Rather, the scriptures speak in terms of having a “sure” election and confidence, which is evidenced by growing in the Lord. Those who are saved but aren’t assured are at risk of stumbling and falling. But it’s not easy for a mere mortal to judge their hearts to know precisely when their hearts are so hard that they’ve grieved and then quenched the Spirit. Only God can make that judgment.

    From a pastoral standpoint, therefore, we shouldn’t give up on those who have weak faith easily.

  81. Hank,

    You have repeatedly asked for a definition of “precisely when” someone is lukewarm. As Jay said the post above, “It’s not easy for a mere mortal to judge their hearts to know precisely when their hearts are so hard that they’ve grieved and then quenched the Spirit. Only God can make that judgment.”

    When we try to make that judgment, we try to take the place of God, knowing good and evil. It seems to me that I remember someone else who tried to do this – with disastrous consequences. I cannot help but think of James 4:11-12 in this connection:

    Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Our task is to be humble servants of God, not to make ourselves judges over others with slanderous pronouncements about them “not having God.”

    Jerry Starling

  82. Jerry,
    First I will answer you first 2 questions:
    [When you quoted Philippians 2:12, why did you not also include verse 13?]
    Simple answer because I only quoted verse 12. I did not leave out verse 13 on purpose, but I agree that it would have been good to have included since both verses show that salvation is a cooperative effort between God and man. God provides salvation for us, but we must accept it by having an obedient faith. Of course without God salvation good not be obtained. Nothing in these verses take away the from the fact that we must obey that which God has provided for us. Even faith in the work of God, but man must do the believing (Jn. 6:28-29).
    Jerry I am glad to see that you think we can fall away if we do not do the works of God, which would be things taught in the N.T.
    [You said to Nancy, “Dying to self and being transformed to the likeness of Christ is HARD.” Why did you say this when Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden light;” in contrast, Peter said that the Law was a burden which neither we nor our fathers could bear.]
    God commands are not burdensome 1 Jn. 5:3 and the yoke that Jesus offered is easy in the sense that is a pleasant joyful thing to have the yoke of Christ because we know the benefits that comes from Jesus yoke. With Jesus’ yoke and all it brings, we can also know that we can bear all the burdens of this life when choose to put on the yoke of Christ. When we love God, and consider the commands He has given us to follow, we follow the gladly because we want to, which is why they are not burdensome.
    However, living the Christian life and transforming yourself to be like Christ is a process that is difficult because we are at war with the sinful things around us. Becoming a Christians is easy, but keeping the faith is not that easy and always doing the right thing is not easy.
    Luke writes:
    Luke 13:23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
    Matthew 7:13 ” Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
    Jerry, does Jesus sound like He is saying living the Christian life and being able to make it to heaven is easy.
    If living the Christian life was so easy then why did Paul say:
    1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
    Why do the Scriptures warn us over and over again about keeping the faith, testing ourselves, and abiding in the doctrine if living the Christian live is so easy.
    With all the problems we will face as we continue to grow as Christians as we make our journey up that difficult road that lead to heaven, the ONLY thing that will make it possible for us to make there is by taking on the yoke of Christ and embracing the power that it gives.
    Jerry said:
    [Jesus is the pattern. He invites us to take up our cross and follow Him, denying self. When we follow Him, we follow the pattern. He gave us two specific commandments: Love God with all your being and love your neighbor as you love yourself. He said that everything hangs on these two. I believe He meant it. He showed us in life what it means to love God and love neighbor. ]
    Jerry, these two commands were actually in reference to the O.T. However, this same principle applies to the N.T. as well because nothing we do will be of any importance if it is not motivated by love 1 Cor. 13. Love must be foundation of everything we do because without it we are nothing and the works we do are empty. As Paul said:
    Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
    The question what does it mean to love God? What does that involve? Answer:
    John 14:15 ” If you love Me, keep My commandments.
    John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
    John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
    1 John 2:4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
    1 John 5:2-By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
    How about Jerry are ready to obey the commandments/pattern/law of the N.T. so that you can be pleasing to God. If you want follow pattern of Jesus, then you must be willing. You have done nothing but confirm that making Jesus as you pattern is the same as making the N.T. as our pattern. As I have already shown, Jesus was obedient to the will of Father so if He is our pattern then we must be obedient to the pattern He has left us in the N.T.
    I will answer your other comments in my next post.

  83. Jerry said:
    [When He described the judgment scene, the division between the sheep and the goats was based on acts of love – not on the correct performance of the ritual of worship – or correct identification of the meaning of the mark of the beast – or having the right opinion about Calvinism. Is there more involved in judgment that what is described in Matthew 25? I’m sure there will be. But if you fail to love, you fail. Period.
    As I read the epistles, I see two things repeatedly: a strong emphasis on what God has done for us in Christ and what it means for us to love God and neighbor. If you take those two things out, there is very little left in the epistles.]

    Jerry I do not disagree that if we do not have love as our foundation then we will not make it to heaven, but I showed from my last post that love is shown by keeping God’s commands. Even in Mt. 25 you have the parable of the talents, which shows if you are idle and you do not serve God, then you will not make it into heaven. When you love God you are going to have an active faith. Yes, there are many more passages that deal with what will happen on the judgment day. Just to show a few:
    John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

    Matthew 12:36 “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

    2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

    Rev. 20:12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    If doctrine is not going to play a role in the judgment scene then why are we being judged by the doctrine of the N.T?

    Jerry wrote:
    [Jesus did not come to give us a new and better law. He came to give us Himself. When I open the door to Him (and Revelation 3:20 where He stands at the door and knocks is addressed to the luke-warm church of Laodicea), I open my heart to the new life that He brings – a life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).]

    Jerry you need reread my earlier post where I clearly showed that we are under a new law and that law came because of Jesus. How do know that Jesus is standing at the door waiting? Answer, by reading and understand the pattern in the N.T. Part of Jesus giving Himself including the new covenant (Heb. 9:15). How do you know how to enjoy a life of righteousness, peace and joy? Again, it is by living your life accordance to the pattern/law of the N.T. I challenge you to show otherwise.

    Jerry wrote:
    [It is interesting that in the next chapter after Philippians 2:12, Paul wrote that his desire was to be found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (v. 9) Why don’t you talking about the righteousness that is by faith, that is by trust in the one who has promised? ]

    Jerry you are making this way too easy for me. Of course the law Paul refers to is the law of Moses, but the key idea here is faith in Christ. A faith that is pleasing to God is NEVER faith alone, it ALWAYS an active faith. It does not matter if you look at the O.T. or N.T. an active faith is required. How do we have faith? It comes from the hearing of God’s Word Rom. 10:17, Without God’s Word/pattern we cannot have faith or be pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6). We can talk about faith all day long, but comes back to fact that we must abide by the N.T. pattern.

    Jerry wrote:
    [Your talk about “God’s part” and “our part” is just another way of trying to put God under obligation to you. “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5). Every act of obedience we offer is nothing but a response of trusting love when we are following Jesus – and everything that we may do is a joy, not a burden that is hard.]

    Jerry, I am in know way saying that God owes me anything. I could become the best person at keeping God commands, and the best person at loving my neighbor. My works could exceed all the apostles combined, yet I would still not earn or deserve anything from God.

    However the Bible is clear that we must have works of obedience that is what is God created us for (Eph. 2:10). God has given us His grace through His Son, but we must accept that grace by having an obedient faith. Surely not even you think that God is the only one that has part in our salvation because if that is true, then it does not matter what we do, we will be saved. You seem to have a misunderstanding of the difference between works of merit and works of obedience. Perhaps my sermon law versus grace will be helpful to you:
    http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/Law%20verse%20Gracerev.htm

    Jerry wrote:
    [Brother, open your eyes to the freedom that is in Christ Jesus! Jesus set you free. Now be free – but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh (Galatians 5:1, 13; see also verses 19-21 for a description of “the flesh”).]

    My eyes have been open for a long time to the freedom that is found in Christ. Jesus truth that is pattern/law of the N.T. has set me free. Everything I need to know about loving God, living a life that is pleasing to God, resisting the temptation of the flesh are found in that N.T. Pattern. My hope is that you will open your eyes and begin to see that if Jesus is your pattern then so is the N.T. pattern.

  84. Nancy said:

    [Then can you provide us with the complete list of N.T. commandments as you understand them]

    Nancy this has become the sugar stick question of the progressives. They want someone to provide this complete list of commands from the N.T. This is a silly request because the commands we are to follow are spread throughout the N.T.

    The progressives have this idea that we can worship God however we want to as we have love in our heart, but I want you to notice the following verse:

    Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

    Nancy how do you suppose we can learn how to offer God acceptable worship? My answer is from the N.T. pattern. It is how we learn to worship God in spirit and in truth Jn. 4:24.

    I already showed in my previous post how important the totality of Scripture is because faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10:17) without faith we can please God (Rom. 11:6). Without God’s Word there is no faith or pleasing God. This is simple argument, but a very powerful one.

    I tell you Nancy I will do this much for you. First and foremost, we must become a child of God and save ourselves from a perverse generation (Acts 2:40). We must hear the word of God (Rom. 10:17), believe Jesus is the Son of God (Jn. 3:16) repent (Lk. 13:3) confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10) and we must be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).

    If we do obey these commands we CANNOT become a Christian because all these commands are necessary to have your sins forgiven and to be added to the church by God (Acts 2:47).

    The above is the easy part. The difficult part is remaining faithful until death (Rev. 2:10). As Paul describes it is the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). We learn how to fight that battle by going to God’s Word (Eph. 6:11ff). Peter gives us the pattern that will make us be victorious in the end:

    2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    Nancy, what do you think? Is the N.T. our pattern that we should live by? If not, how do you determine what is wrong and right? How do can know that you have salvation (1 Jn. 5:13)?

    Why don’t you show me what commands you think are binding.

  85. Ok I think I am all caught up now. If missed anything let me know.

    I guess I will just have to wait on Jay to see if he will ever answer 3-part question and then deal with the women elder discussion. In the mean time you can read my sermon on the divine pattern:

    http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/THE%20DIVINE%20PATTERN.htm

  86. Cougan wrote: “Why don’t you show me what commands you think are binding.”

    Binding for what?

  87. Cougan, you may have missed Jay’s response to your questions here:

    http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/07/dialogue-with-cougan-answers-to-questions/

  88. Jay wrote:

    “That being said, I don’t know “precisely when” someone falls away.”

    And, I agree.

    I never said we should seek to judge and or give up on our brethren. My only point has been (and still is), that since none of us knows “precisely when someone falls away,” (is considered lukwarm by God), then we ought to do our very best in making sure we are not that.

    And we cant run through any 3 point formula to learn whether one is or is not.

    Finally, if we don’t know precisely who and at what point God considers a beiever to be “lukewarm” then we are all in the same boat in terms of “doing our best” in making sure we don’t cross that line between being saved and being lost. And encouraging others to be very careful about any error — whether morally or doctrinally.

  89. Hank,

    That (“knowing precisely when someone falls away”) is not what the guidelines are for, as you yourself mentioned earlier.

    In other words, you can’t take every possible error, run it through [Jay’s] three guidelines, and then know for sure if one can continue in said error and still be saved.

    (emphasis mine)

    The 3 guidelines are a simple test to discover whether a particular error is damnable. Lukewarmness is clearly rebellion against God’s command to love Him with all our hearts and to love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s all the guidelines provide. They don’t exist to say how much damnable sin God will tolerate. They solely exist to point out the difference between non-essentials and essentials.

    Hank, if you TRULY believed ANY error carried potential damnation, you would not be wasting your time talking on this blog – you’d have your head buried in Scripture and you’d never get off your knees or out of your house. That’s my major point – that those who teach that any error potentially damns don’t act like any error potentially damns, because it would be impossible to live as if any error potentially damns and live out the mission of God.

    It is the pernicious doctrine that “any error potentially damns” that turns the gracious God of Jesus Christ into a god of claymores and tripwires. I know that that is not how my God operates.

  90. Nick,

    The philosophy Hank is espousing is similar to that of those who built a hedge of oral tradition around the Law of Moses to prevent anyone from even coming close to violating that Law.

    Unfortunately, they did not realize that violation of the Law is in the heart that is careless more than in careless action. Even in the widely proclaimed (in CoC pulpits, not in the NT) case of Uzzah, the fault lay primarily in the heart. See my comments on this notorious incident here.

    Jerry

  91. Is there an indication in scripture that the “lukewarm” group at Laodicea was ever anything other than lukewarm? I.E. did they fall away from being hot or were they just always lukewarm?

  92. Cougan,

    I hate to sound like a broken record, but you still insist on justifying your violation of this clearly established part of the NT pattern: that evangelists appoint elders. You wrote:

    Nick even I agreed with you that it was left up to the evangelist to appoint the elder, you would only have the who and not the how. Again, I cannot stress it enough the emphasis is on the qualifications and not how the appointing of elders is done.

    I know you’re smart enough to recognize the simple fact that appointment IS the how.

    Why was there such a blowup surrounding Gerald Ford becoming president? Because, in the minds of many, he did not become president according to the pattern. He was APPOINTED vice-president, and when President Nixon resigned, Ford became President.

    But let’s look at some other Scriptural appearances of the word “appoint”:

    “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. (Matthew 24:45-47 ESV)

    His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ (Matthew 25:21-23 ESV)

    But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” (Luke 12:14 ESV)

    “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. (Acts 7:9-10 ESV)

    “This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’–this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. (Acts 7:35 ESV)

    You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, (Hebrews 2:7 ESV)

    For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. (Hebrews 8:3 ESV)

    Cougan, it is clear from these verses that the idea of appointment to a post in the ancient world included no idea of a selection process where the people had the authority to select their leaders. In the NT, appointment to a post included one person, by their own authority, placing others in positions of authority.

    If that is the NT pattern, why do you not follow it? If the whole NT is a pattern that must be obeyed on threat of damnation, why do you both reject this teaching and justify your rejection by adding to the clear Scriptural mandate of elder appointment by evangelists?

  93. Cougan,

    You wrote:

    Again, I cannot stress it enough the emphasis is on the qualifications and not how the appointing of elders is done.

    This also sounds suspiciously like you, who believes that the entire NT is a pattern to be obeyed, are saying that one part of the pattern is more important than another part.

    I would be thrilled if you believed that, because you’d be a step closer to understanding how the NT exerts authority without being a pattern or a law code.

    In a pattern (I think of the connect-the-dots pictures I loved as a kid), if the slightest corner of the pattern is not done, you don’t get what the pattern-maker willed.

    In a law code, if you miss a single line of the law for any reason, you’re a law-breaker.

    I submit that if the New Testament is a law code pattern, then we are all doomed to hell because we will all die with unconfessed doctrinal error in our lives.

  94. There are some comments here that remind me of DAISY and “if saved, barely saved.” If I don’t know the precise point at which I am regarded by God as “lukewarm” then I had better be working just as hard as I can all the time trying to be good enough, but it justs seems I can never do enough. My nature seems to prevent me from giving Him 100% all the time. Yet I know I should, so I guess if someone asks me if I am saved I’ll have to answer “Well, I hope so.” Oh, if God only loved me the way he told Hosea to love Gomer. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

    I was in Texas yesterday and heard Chuck Swindoll preach on legalism. How I wish every person I know in the cofC had heard that message.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  95. Randall if you are willing to shell out the bucks, you can BUY the sermon for the the low price of $20 and then send it to your COC friends.

    http://www.stonebriar.org/worship/sermons.html

    This shows the difference between most traditional COC and the rest because most traditional COC do not sell their sermons they offer them for free or they make them available online. I know there are exceptions to this rule, but 20 dollars for a monthly sending of sermons preached from the pulpit rubs me the wrong way.

    However, it is their right to do so, just not the way I would do it.

    I would challenge anyone in this thread to find the term legalist in the Bible. Those who call people like myself legalist and compare me to a Pharisee have it all wrong. Jesus NEVER rebuked the Pharisees for teaching or upholding the Law of Moses. What he rebuked them for was holding their man made traditions above the Law of Moses.

    So when I say that we need hold fast the pattern of the N.T. that does not make me a legalist because I am only upholding the commands of God, but the progressive that start saying that you can women elders, baptism is not necessary, adding musical instruments, etc… that is going beyond what is written and therefore the progressives are the ones that are more like the Pharisees because you upholding your manmade traditions about God law in the N.T.

    Randall, you can know if you are saved are not. If you pressing forward and growing day by day then you should be confident in your salvation. If you mess up and sin one day, repent of it, learn from your mistake and press forward. This is what Paul teaches us over and over again. Even Paul struggled with doing the right thing every time, but overall he know that he had fought the good fight of faith. As he says:

    2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

    To me lukewarm means that you are going through the motions of Christianity. Yes you may assembly with the saints, sing, partake of the Lord’s Supper, but you are not growing or I could moving forward. Your flame is still lit, but it is burning so low that nothing is really happening. When you find yourself losing your zeal to serve God, yet you are going through motions you have become lukewarm.

  96. Cougan,

    How do you know if you have followed the pattern closely enough? There might be components of the pattern that you are not aware of. You have added no musical instruments as part of the pattern, how do you know there are not other things the Bible doesn’t address that are part of the pattern?

    What about sins you aren’t aware of? How do you confess and repent of those? You really can’t have assurance can you?

  97. Nancy,

    I am asking you what do think is binding in the N.T. In other words, what commands if any do you think we must follow in the N.T.

    Thanks for the link Nancy. I had no idea a new thread was started by Jay for me. I would have been nice if someone told me about it before now. How was I supposed to know a new thread was started considering this thread is where the conversastion began. Oh well, at least I know now.

  98. Cougan, I think true believers will be obedient to all our Lord’s commands. Do you agree?

    How are you using the term “binding”? I bind my dog with a leash to keep her from running in the street.

  99. Hi Royce, earlier you wrote:

    “If you saved yourself (you likely believe you at least had a part in saving yourself…) then you are definitely in control and God isn’t. If God saved you then you are not in control.”

    However, on the Day of Pentecost, the inspired apostle Peter, “…warned them and pleaded with them saying SAVE YOURSELVES….”

    What do you think Peter had in mind exactly Royce? When he told them to “save yourselves”?

    Very curious of your answer…

  100. Nick sometimes broken records need some help to get them to move on. First of all, why are so intent on arguing for a pattern to follow, when you think there is none?

    Just because I do not my conclusion, does not mean that conclusion is wrong. I still say that you do not have the how, at best you have the who. When I say that you do not have the how, I am saying you cannot find how Titus appointed these elders therefore it the how is generic command of how it is done. Like in Acts 6 he could have had each congregation put forward men they thought were qualified. Since things were wanting in these churches it is safe a assumption that Titus spent a great deal of time teaching them the things they were lacking and teaching them what the qualification of elders were.

    So how Titus went about this is not given, which is why I say at best you have the who. Again, even if I were to agree that the evangelist was the one to do the appointing, there is no way can tell me how he did the appointing. The only thing we can say for sure, is that the men selected to appointed to that office had to have the qualifications given.

    Why was Titus chosen? Paul knew that Titus would carry out His instruction and make sure that the men being appointed would meet the qualifications and that is exactly what we must do today. We can use what method we want to put forth the name of the men to be selected for elders and then we can test their qualifications. If they are qualified then they can appointed to the position by the evangelist or the current elders as far I can tell, but exactly how that is done is not given.

    When it comes to following the pattern of the N.T. we should have the same attitude as Paul.

    Philippians 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

  101. When I say that you do not have the how, I am saying you cannot find how Titus appointed these elders therefore it the how is generic command of how it is done.

    What generic command? Titus is specifically commanded to appoint elders. I’ve shown several Scriptural examples where the word appoint is used, and none of them are in any way vague. Appoint is not a generic term like GO, where several means can be employed. Appoint denotes a specific act: a speech-act whereby one man is placed in a particular post or office by the command/authority of another.

    If the NT is a law/pattern as you’ve described, appointment is how a man becomes an elder. There is no example of it being done by election. There is no other command except appointment by an apostle or evangelist. “Appoint elders” is as specific a command as “Be baptized” – yet you only adhere to one of them.

    First of all, why are so intent on arguing for a pattern to follow, when you think there is none?

    That’s not my intent: my intent is to illuminate a blind spot in your pattern theology – a place where culture and tradition have obfuscated and overruled what should be a clear teaching of Scripture according to your method of interpretation. This passage is, in fact, the first one to start chinking away at my old lawcode method of interpretation. Since it is where I started to escape, I tend to go back to it when offering freedom to others in my old situation.

  102. Nick,

    I like your approach. Go back to what helped you to see the light.

    For me, it was also in Titus – but 2:11-12. There, the grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching them to say “No” to ungodliness and instead to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the here and now.

    That broke down my fear that without a specific law or pattern to follow, we would lose all restraint.

    Law commands; Grace teaches. What does Grace teach? For the most part (at least morally), the same things Law had commanded.

    Doctrinally, it gives us a firmer basis for what it teaches than what every parent (and many elders) sometimes falls back on: “Do it because I am in charge.” The basis for the teaching of Grace is the mighty work of God in Christ at the Cross and His continuing work in us by the Spirit.

    In short, we do what Grace teaches because God has poured His love into our hearts by His Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). (I footnote the comment so that Cougan can find the source – wouldn’t want him to think I’m just hatching things up out of thin air, would I?) When we love God, we can do as we please – because it will please us to please Him – though some people have a hard time understanding how that can be if we are not following a Law.

    I comment on this here to show how Paul says teaching grace actually makes people eager to do good.

  103. Nick,

    Here is what I meant to say in my last post, Just because you do not agree with my conclusion does not make me wrong.

    I do not think it will be profitable for me to go beyond this post about the appointment of elders unless you introduce something new. You and I are not agree on this issue, so we can allow those that read the post to make up their own mind.

    Since you are making your argument from a method you do not even use, it would be interesting to find out what actually believe on the matter. Do you think the qualifications that are given should be used to determine who is qualified to be appointed? If not why not.

    Back to what you said, I do agree that elders are to be appointed in every church. Not just one, but more than one. However, the command to appoint is just like the command to go because we are not given the specifics of how these men are selected or what is involved in the ordaining/appointing of them. The only specific thing we have is the qualifications they must meet to be appointed.

    Since there are no specifics of how these men are selected or the exact procedure of the ordaining them, the like the command go, it is up to our judgment on how to do this. As I said from Acts 6, the people in the church could seek out those qualified and bring them before the church and allow the preacher/evangelist to review those men to see if they are qualified. I believe that Titus would have done something similar to this in the churches in Crete, but since there is not information to go on I cannot know for sure. Since he had to set things in order, that tells me he spend time teaching them and he would have taken time in the appointing process of the elders because appointing elders is something that is done lightly.

    As far as who is to do the ordaining/appointing, we only have two examples. Paul an apostles and Barnabas, who was a fellow messenger, appointing elders (Acts 14:23) we have Titus (Tit. 1:5). These churches were new ones that had no elders. As far as I know we have no examples of elders being appointed in a church that already had elders or how they did it. Since all we have is the two examples above and NO DETAILS are given of HOW they appointed them, but the ONLY thing we can say for sure is that the men appointed HOWEVER IT WAS DONE they had to be qualified, which seems to be emphasis and not who ordained them.

    However, if you want to press the issue I have no problem with the evangelist being the one to appoint the elders, but I still have nothing in Scripture that tells HOW it is done exactly. Even if we rest the final appointing of an elder on the evangelist, he cannot appoint someone that does not meet the qualifications of an elder.

    You say you used to have a lawcode method, but now you do not. What exactly does that mean? If you are saying there is no law in the N.T. for us to follow, then there is no way we can sin. If not why not?

    I am still looking forward to seeing how you think elders should be selected if you do not think we should use the qualifications of 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 as our guide.

  104. Thanks Cougan. That was informative.
    Peace,
    Randall

  105. Hank,

    You asked ” However, on the Day of Pentecost, the inspired apostle Peter, “…warned them and pleaded with them saying SAVE YOURSELVES….”
    What do you think Peter had in mind exactly Royce? When he told them to “save yourselves”?
    Very curious of your answer…

    My answer is read the text! What does the text say they are being saved from? It is not from sin but from a perverse generation. A good rendering would be “Separate yourselves from this perverse generation.”

    Peter never hinted that one could save themselves. When people repented and openly claimed Jesus as Lord by confession and baptism they were marked out from the community at large. There became “separate” from them.

    No matter how much you and others try to put man in control of salvation and teach you can save yourself the Bible teaches the opposite. One thing that might help is to read it and study the Bible in context.

    Royce

  106. Royce, who is doing the saving in Romans 11:14? 1 Cor 7:16? 1 Cor 9:22?

    And what manuscript suggests that Peter said Hagiazo in Acts 2:40 rather than Sozo?

  107. Well Nick, everyone knows that the Apostle Paul, or a husband or a wife can save a soul…. Good grief!

    You can’t be serious? If a husband can save his wife from her sins who needs Jesus? Why did Jesus die for our sins, be buried and then rise again? So we could save ourselves?

  108. Oh, I think I finally get it! The reason coC conservatives proudly call themselves “gospel preachers” and seldom preach the gospel is because they believe teaching about the church of Christ is the gospel. They might mention the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus but it isn’t as important to them as baptism or a capella singing. If it was as important they would talk about Jesus and his work for sinners far more than they do.

    If one believes he can save himself by complying with the elusive “pattern”, to him that is gospel! No it makes sense why a fellow calls himself a gospel preacher, preaches gospel meetings and yet seldom if ever preaches what the Bible describes as the gospel.

    Interestingly, the recent meetings called “Profiles in Apostasy” were focused on those who had supposedly betrayed the church of Christ, not Christ himself. In the sessions I heard what was glaringly missing was the story of what God accomplished in the life and work of Jesus for sinners.

    Hell’s mouth is open wide for those who depend on their own goodness for salvation at the expense of the sacrifice of Jesus.

  109. Why did Jesus die for our sins, be buried and then rise again? So we could save ourselves

    Nope – he died primarily to defeat death, to free creation (including, but not limited to, us) from slavery to sin and death so that the mission of God could continue, the mission that began in Eden when the One True God chose to partner with humanity to reflect His iage throughout creation; the mission that continued when that God called Avram of Ur into covenant partnership with Him to begin saving the world; the mission that continued when that God called Moses and Israel into intimate covenant partnership with Him in order to make His glory known throughout the world; the partnership that came to full fruition when the man Jesus Christ, the representative Israelite, did what Israel had consistently failed to do. The mission of God has always been a partnership between humanity and YHWH.

    Actually, I just wanted to point out how limited your view of the NT concept of salvation is when compared to the diverse and robust use of salvation language in the text.

  110. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

    Jerry how in the world would these verses help you see that that we have no specific laws or patterns to follow? I know that is not exactly what you said verbatim, but it is what you are saying.

    Notice Paul is talking about when Jesus was born to this earth because He truly is the grace of God. What does grace teach us, it teaches us through the pattern/commands of the N.T. of what we must do to accept the grace of God and it teaches us how deal with ungodliness, worldly lust and how we live soberly and righteously. Why do we want grace to teach us the need for us to obey the pattern/commands of God because when we embrace God’s grace and have an obedient faith we know with all confidence that when Jesus comes again that we will be with Him.

    As verse 14 says He gave Himself for us that we could be freed from every lawless deed in other words He makes it possible for us conquer sin, but we must first God plan of salvation before we can become His own special people. Once we become a Christian and we accept the grace of God then we are going to zealous for good works.

    Jerry there is nothing in these verses that shows God’s grace frees us from keeping commands/patterns instead grace teaches us to do the very thing you are trying to avoid.

    Even you admit that grace teaches the same thing as law does, so why can you not see that need for us follow the pattern/commands of the N.T.?

    I have agreed with you already that love motivates us to do the commandments of God or as you have said allow God’s grace to teach us. However I do agree with your last statement:

    When we love God, we can do as we please – because it will please us to please Him – though some people have a hard time understanding how that can be if we are not following a Law

    While it is true that we can love God and then do as we please it does not mean everything we do will be pleasing to God. However if we love God and keep His commandments then we will be pleasing to Him. Saul loved God and thought he was doing God’s work when he was trying to destroy Christianity, but it did not make him right. Once he was instructed with the truth, he was converted and he started his fight of faith.

  111. Well, I guess you and Hank put me in my place.

    Over 50 years of Bible study out the proverbial window. All this time I thought God saved sinners. Man, what you can learn reading comments on a blog!

    Royce

  112. Oh! Now I see!

    Hey everybody! Put down your Bibles and follow Rabbi Royce! He’s studied the Bible SO MUCH that we are just wasting our time and probably even desecrating the holy pages.

    Don’t study for yourself – just kiss Pope Royce’s ring and let him tell you what Scripture means.

  113. Good night Nick. You obviously need some sleep.

    Love you bro’

    Royce

  114. Love you too, brother!

    Just wish you could take hyperbole as well as you can dish out special pleading.

  115. Royce to think anybody is going to believe that gospel preachers do not preach the gospel? Gospel preachers if they are doing their jobs are preaching all of God’s Word. No gospel preacher I know is going to say that baptism, singing without instruments is more important than Jesus death, burial and resurrection, but they will emphasize baptism many times because so many in religious world think that baptism is not necessary. Though baptism is emphasized, no gospel preacher I know of would have every say baptism is more important than faith, repentance, or confessing Jesus as Lord because they are all necessary and one will not work without the other.

    Royce if we play no part in our salvation then it stands that all people are saved. If not why not?

    Royce do you believe that you have to believe in Jesus to be saved? If you do, then you believe that we play a part in our salvation because believing is something we do that God does not do for us.

  116. http://oneinjesus.info/2007/03/25/do-we-teach-another-gospel-2/

    I highly recommend this study.

    cougan, to answer your question, I believe that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. I believe that God grants repentance. I believe that sinners are dead in their trespasses and sins and that God makes them alive, thus we are saved by grace. I believe that we are not saved by works of righteousness which we have done but according to God’s mercy. I believe we are not saved by works so there can be no boasting. I believe God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. I believe Christ himself purged us from our sins and sat down, finished once for all people and once for all time. Those who trust him in obedient faith are safe. Those who reject his love and trust themselves are not safe but lost.

    Good night, It is time for old people to be asleep.

    Royce

  117. Royce I looked at the link, but it did not have much on it. Maybe you gave me the wrong link.

    Nothing you said in your post directly deal with what I said below:

    Royce if we play no part in our salvation then it stands that all people are saved. If not why not?

    Royce do you believe that you have to believe in Jesus to be saved? If you do, then you believe that we play a part in our salvation because believing is something we do that God does not do for us

    Even in your statement above you at least said we have to trust him in with an obedient faith. If you have to trust him with an obedient faith to be safe then that means you play a part in your own salvation.

    This is no different than what I am teaching. I know that I cannot be saved without God and His grace. My works I do cannot save me, but I have to have an obedient faith by following the pattern in the N.T. to accept God’s saving grace.

    Perhaps after you wake up and lather on your Bengay (you called yourself old) you will be able to respond to my questions and statements.

  118. Royce, to suggest that Peter was NOT pleading with them to be saved from sin (by repenting and being babtized), but to be saved from their generation is wierd. Where did you get that idea? And what does it mean?

    If, as you believe, Peter wanted them to repent and be baptized NOT to be saved from sin BUT only from there generation (whatever that means)….then why did he tell them that in “saving themselves” their sins would be forgiven?

    What do you mean that they were to save themselves from their crooked generation by repenting and being baptized (and having their sins forgiven), if it wsn’t be having their sins forgiven?

    But, cougan is right in saying that man “plays a part” in his salvation. Otherwise, the grace of God that brings salvation to all men would have EVERY man being saved. The difference is that most people don’t really want any part of it.

    And remember, Jesus called belief in God “a work.”

  119. Regarding Acts 2, Peter was telling them to change their mind, to turn away from who they believed Jesus to be. His entire sermon in Acts 2 is about Jesus, the prophecied Messiah. He even summed up his speech in vs. 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of the: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” He was trying to convince them that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Then he tells them to repent of their sin of unbelief. This corresponds to many other passages that confirm that unbelief condemns and trusting belief in Jesus saves.

    I think we read “repent of your individual sins and shortcomings” into Acts 2, rather than the higher calling of believing and trusting in Jesus as the Messiah.

  120. Nick,

    Good point regarding the saving in Romans 11:14; 1 Cor 7:16; and 1 Cor 9:22.

    The reason we are supposed to preach to every creature is so that we can save souls. Paul saved many people.

    We “save ourselves” (and others) by believing and doing whatever is God has ordained for sinners to do in order FOR HIM (God) to forgive us.

    I know you know that already. But, Royce has to know that it makes no sense at all to say that the ones on Pentecost were told to save themselves from their generation but not from sin.

    He (Royce), has these people separated from their generation by being baptized for forgiveness… but not saved??? In what way then are they separated? I would love to hear him explain his position but if I know Royce…he’ll probably rather opt to eject himself from this discussion now.

  121. Hank, from what sin(s) was Peter telling the crowd to repent?

  122. Nancy, I agree with your Christological assessment of Acts 2:38, et al. Biblical repentance is not about a 12-step-program sort of thing, where you list all the people you’ve wronged and the things you’ve done wrong. How could anyone ever finish that list??? Yet it is taught over and over that in order to remain saved, we have to recognize, confess, and repent of every single sin in our lives.

    No – the language of repentance is defection language. When Josephus told the Jewish rebels to “repent and believe in me” he wasn’t telling them to catalog their sins and make a statement of faith. He was telling them to defect from their rebellion and place their active trust in his way of living. To say that, he uses exactly the same language as Jesus does in Mark 1:15.

    “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

  123. Hank, Just read the passage and see what it says. An elementary truth is that English words have different meanings given the context in which they are used.

    Yes, of course when the people repented and put their trust in Jesus they were saved from their sins. The only sense in which they saved themselves was that by their confession and baptism they were marked out, set apart from the sinful population at large. This might be too complicated for you to grasp….

    Cougan, the reason everyone is not saved is because most reject Christ. Some reject him outright because they love their sinful lifestyles. Others choose to use his name but go about trying to establish their own righteousness and they are impostors.

    If you read the discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus any honest person should see how simple the gospel is and the results of either taking God at his word or rejecting his gracious offer.

    Trying to talk theology and doctrine to some of you guys is like trying to talk to a pig about astronomy. It makes me think that some just want to be disagreeable and are not really interested in truth.

    I suggest that you read Jay’s study, “Do we preach another gospel?”. The answer is YES, some in the church of Christ do and they will be lost unless they repent and trust Christ alone. Read the book of Galatians and where it says “circumcision” insert “a capella singing”, or “church of Christ name only”, or any of the other things legalist hypocrites have made salvation issues and you can easily see a large segment of our so called “brotherhood” are severed from Christ.

    We need more preaching and teaching about the Christ of the church and less about the church of Christ. No matter what anyone says, no person will be accepted by God except upon the merit and obedience of Jesus and his sacrifice,

    If God should ask you “Why should I let you into my heaven?” what would your answer be? I have been baptized and I have been a faithful member of a church of Christ and I despised Baptists, and I refused to fellowship with those who used instruments in worship, etc, etc, etc. Or will you answer, I am trusting Christ alone who died in my place for my sins and was raised from the dead for my justification. He paid for my sins and offered me eternal life if I would trust Him. My only hope of heaven is His sacrificial blood shed for my sins.

    Hell will be populated with religious people who tried to get into the sheep fold in a variety of ways rather than through the door who is Jesus. Please, put your whole trust in Jesus, don’t trust your church, your goodness, your correct doctrine, your family history, trust Christ alone. Only he can save sinners from their sins.

  124. I believe that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.

    author is a TERRIBLE translation of archegos which is a compound of the words for ruler and leader.
    finisher is accurate in the sense that Jesus is the one who will bring our faith to its consummation when He appears. Neither of these words suggests that there is no human participation — especially since they come as the therefore to Hebrews 11! Am I to read Hebrews 11 and think that none of those men and women participated in the saving work of God?

    Grace is opposed to earning, not effort.

  125. I believe that God grants repentance.

    So do I (Acts 5:31, 11:18, 2 Tim 2:25). You, however, seem to believe that that granting of repentance is something in which the recipient has no role – which seems to contradict the preaching of Paul:

    “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. (Acts 26:19-20, cf Rom 2:4, 2 Cor 7:8-10)

    and the teaching of Peter:

    But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 ESV)

    and the teaching of the Hebrew writer:

    Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. (Hebrews 6:1-6 ESV)

    Now, this is a strange god that is the sole enactor of repentance, that commands men to repent, that wills that all should come to repentance, that grants repentance to whomever he wills, but A) has not granted repentance to all, and B) cannot grant repentance to some.

  126. NIck, You used the word “seem” or “seems” and you conclusions “seem” to be incorrect. In fact both concepts are true, they are not mutually exclusive.

    “Repent” means simply to change one’s mind. The evidence of true repentance is a changed lifestyle. A sinner (lost person) is not seeking God, is dead (spiritually) and cannot come to God unless he is “drawn” to God. You can take it to the bank, if a sinner turns to God by trusting the claims of the gospel God, not man, initiated the process.

    Jesus went after the disciples just as he went after Saul of Tarsus. God is the seeker, God is the one who pricks the heart of a sinner,

    Any theology or doctrine of salvation that puts man with his unrestrained ego in the drivers seat is false.

    Our salvation was complete long before we showed up. When Jesus cried “It is finished” from the cross the payment had been made in full. The last enemy, death was finally defeated when a few days later Jesus came out of the grave alive in a body that was fit for both heaven and earth.

    God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The way we get to participate is that God has chose to make his appeal through us. The good news (gospel) is the story of what Christ has accomplished for sinners. The gospel is not the church of Christ and it’s distinctive beliefs, or that if you keep certain rules God will judge you worth of heaven based on your performance. By the obedience of one man (Jesus) many will be “made righteous”. The righteousness God accepts is Jesus righteousness which is credited to the repentant and trusting sinner. Self righteousness is worthless and an offence to God.

    Those who have actually been “made righteous” will do good works, they were created for them to do them, and God is in them both to “will” and “to do” his good pleasure. Those who are not obedient, who are not walking in the light are lost.

    Christ is the end of righteousness to those who believe. Preaching salvation by the works of men is an offense to a Holy God who gave everything to save sinners from their sins.

  127. Royce,

    I’m not preaching the marks of the true church, brother. That is the externalism of the Pharisees and Judaizers.

    I’m simply saying that God’s call is not irresistible.

    Yes, God is the seeker.
    Yes, if a sinner turns to God by trusting the claims of the gospel, God initiated the process.
    No, a sinner cannot come to God unless he is drawn to God.

    None of that bears any relevance to the discussion you and I are having, for when he was raised up, Jesus drew ALL PEOPLE to himself, and God desires that ALL PEOPLE repent.

    If those things are true, and I know you believe they are, why do only some men respond?

    I submit that when the Christ died-and-was-raised, a spiritual tsunami swept over all of creation – the gospel that death was defeated by the One True Creator God was announced in power and began to bear fruit everywhere (Col 1:6, 23). Now, wherever that Gospel is preached, Christ draws all hearers to Himself and God grants them repentance.

    Whether they accept it has nothing to do with earning or merit. The Hebrew Scriptures never say that Israel earned anything when they entered into covenant relationship with YHWH. Yet, while the covenant itself was COMPLETELY and TOTALLY by the grace of the One True God, their entrance into it, participation in it, and/or withdrawal from it was based on their decision.

    The choice to enter into covenant with the One True God is not a meritorious act! As Mark Moore puts it:

    “From one wounded warrior to another: stand in the grace we have come to cling to, no longer out of theological commitment, but raw necessity. Look, I’m not OK and neither are you. We serve our king, not because we have earned the right, not because we have lived right, not because it is right, but because we have expended all our other resources and run out of options. As Peter said, “To whom shall we go??? YOU have the words of eternal life!” Lord, all we can offer you is broken lives and wounded hearts, inflamed with the passion of one indiscriminately loved.”

    In the end, Royce, you have to come to terms with the fact that humanity was saved by a human. When Paul says that salvation is by grace through faith, that is just as true for the man Jesus Christ as it is for the man Nick Gill. Jesus didn’t earn anything for himself or anyone else – God doesn’t pay wages. Sin pays wages; God gives the douron of charis – the gifts of grace. His perfect obedience to the law did not justify him before God, because “NO MAN can be justified by works of law.” His perfection did not place the Father in debt to Him – his perfection equipped him to defeat sin. By faith, he became sin for us, and by grace God raised him from the dead.

    Until you address the serious implications of the Incarnation for your doctrine that humanity cannot participate in salvation, we will continue to chase each other’s tails. I dunno about you, but I’m getting dizzy.

  128. Royce,

    I am still waiting for you to directly answer the following from last post:

    Royce if we play no part in our salvation then it stands that all people are saved. If not why not?
    [quote] Royce do you believe that you have to believe in Jesus to be saved? If you do, then you believe that we play a part in our salvation because believing is something we do that God does not do for us
    Even in your statement above you at least said we have to trust him in with an obedient faith. If you have to trust him with an obedient faith to be safe then that means you play a part in your own salvation.
    This is no different than what I am teaching. I know that I cannot be saved without God and His grace. My works I do cannot save me, but I have to have an obedient faith by following the pattern in the N.T. to accept God’s saving grace. [/quote]
    Remember Royce you are trying to prove that man play no part in his salvation. Yet you said:
    Cougan, the reason everyone is not saved is because most reject Christ. Some reject him outright because they love their sinful lifestyles. Others choose to use his name but go about trying to establish their own righteousness and they are impostors.
    In this statement disprove what you are trying to prove because you have just said that man has the ability reject Christ and not be saved. In other words man has the ability to be saved or not to be saved by what they do or do not do, which means that a man play his part in being saved or not being saved.
    Again you say:
    If you read the discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus any honest person should see how simple the gospel is and the results of either taking God at his word or rejecting his gracious offer
    Did Jesus say in this discourse that man had to do something to enter the kingdom of God? The answer is yes, we me be born of water and the spirit. We have to choose to this and if we do not submit to it then we are not saved. Therefore, proving once again that man plays his part in his salvation. He can choose to accept with obedient faith our he can reject it.

    You disprove your own teaching further by saying that we must repent. Again, this action on our part, that is something we must do to have salvation. So, you destroy your own argument from your own words.
    You want us to preach more about Christ, but less about His church. To me this sounds like you saying that we should focus on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John but for the most part ignore the rest of the N.T. One should preach the whole counsel of God. The last time I checked preaching about the church that Jesus purchased with His blood is something that needs to be preached about. While Christ needs to preached so does that rest of N.T. If you neglect the totality of Scripture, you are not rightly handling the Word of God.
    You speak of trusting in Jesus, but what does that mean? To me it means that trust in the promises that have been made to me in Scripture, and when I trust in Jesus, I am going to trust in His word and the pattern He has left me to follow in the N.T. When I trust in Jesus, I am going to do my best follow in His footsteps and treat others as He treated them.

  129. Would someone tell me how to make the yellow background behind a quote. Thanks

  130. Cougan, you do it by placing the word blockquote in before the text you want to quote, and the word /blockquote in after the quote.

    The forward-slash is intentional – it tells the page to end the quote there. In the following example, imagine that the word “blockquote” is in .

    blockquote
    For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
    /blockquote
    becomes

    For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

    You do not have to have the blockquote tags on different lines – they may be (should be, prolly) right at the beginning and end of the quoted text.

  131. okay, that makes no sense because the symbols disappeared. Place the word blockquote inside the less-than and greater-than symbols.

  132. or just go here for a slightly more technical explanation.

  133. Thanks Nick.

  134. Questions that liberals will not and cannot answer who say there is no pattern for us to follow in the N.T.

    Paul says:

    2 Thessalonians 3:4 And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you. 5 Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. 6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you;

    2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

    If there is no pattern/law for us to follow, how can we obey the command to withdraw or to note/mark a person?

    If we choose to obey that command, how do we know when to withdraw or note/mark a person? If there is no pattern/law what principle can you possibly use to withdraw from someone?

    What in the world is Paul talking about when he says that someone can walk disorderly and what tradition is Paul talking about? How can he tell us to follow them if there is no pattern/law for us follow?

    We know this tradition he is talking about is not the traditions of their fathers or man made traditions (Mt. 15:2ff; Col. 2:8). The Bible does tells what tradition they are talking about:

    2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

    1 Corinthians 11:1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.2 Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.

    Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

    Jude 1:3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

    Philippians 3:15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. 17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.

    Philippians 4:9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

    1 Thessalonians 2:10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14 For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,

    How can we walk worth of God with out a pattern/law to go by? What was the word that Apostles taught? It was the truth the Word of God.

    Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

    If there is no pattern/law for worshipping/serving then how can we know how to offer God acceptable worship?

    Jesus clearly states:

    John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    What is truth?

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

    How could Paul tells Timothy:

    2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

    How can he hold fast to anything if there is no pattern/law?

    James says:

    James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

    How can James tells us to be doers of the Word if there is no pattern/law to follow. Why does James call the Word of God the perfect law of liberty and say we must continue in it?

    Law is defined: anything established, anything received by usage, a custom, a law, a command.

    How can James say there is law (as defined above) yet there not be a law according to the liberal?

    James also says:

    James 2:12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.

    What is law of liberty? Whatever it is, James said we would be judged by it, just like Jesus said:

    John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

    Since we will be judged by the law of liberty in the N.T. no wonder Jesus said:

    Matthew 28:20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

    If you want to be right with God and be liberated from sin and know that you will have home in heaven, then we MUST follow the commands of God in the N.T. and not add things that it does not command us such as musical instruments, women elders/preachers, joining in fellowship with those who do love God enough to keep His commandments.

    All these questions are very important, but my prediction is that none of these questions will be answered because to answer them would show the fallacy of the liberal interpretation of Scripture. If they refute anything I have said they would have to show a pattern for doing so, and thus contradict their no pattern agenda.

  135. If there is no pattern/law for us to follow, how can we obey the command to withdraw or to note/mark a person?

    Since there is a pattern (Jesus Christ), and no one has asserted otherwise, we can examine the Scriptures to see how this word of God to the church in Thessalonike applies to us today.

    If we choose to obey that command, how do we know when to withdraw or note/mark a person? If there is no pattern/law what principle can you possibly use to withdraw from someone?

    Most simply, when they rebel against a direct command. Paul gave a direct command from the Lord: work quietly and earn your own living. If a believer rebelled against that command, they were to be shunned. Rebellion requires warning, and then shunning. That’s the Jesus Way.

    What in the world is Paul talking about when he says that someone can walk disorderly and what tradition is Paul talking about? How can he tell us to follow them if there is no pattern/law for us follow?

    Jesus is the pattern.

    How can we walk worth of God with out a pattern/law to go by? What was the word that Apostles taught? It was the truth the Word of God.

    Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the Word of God.

    If there is no pattern/law for worshipping/serving then how can we know how to offer God acceptable worship?

    Since you quote John 4:24, I think it would behoove you to do a study of the key words in that verse – particularly how John uses them in that book and the rest of the Johannine literature. “In Spirit and Truth” does not mean with a reverent attitude and according to the pattern. Pneuma in John NEVER means attitude. Aletheia in John is clearly defined by John (1:17, 8:32, 14:6). Truth in John IS Jesus Christ the Word of God.

    Why does James call the Word of God the perfect law of liberty and say we must continue in it?

    James does NOT call the Word of God “the perfect law of liberty.” The perfect law – the law of liberty – the royal law – all these are referring to the exact same thing, and James gives it to us in 2:8. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    There you go – I’m sure glad you’re neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, because your ability to tell the future is pretty shabby. It only took me about 15 minutes – I guess I’m not a real liberal. Go find some of them and beat your straw men in their direction.

  136. Come Nick, I was not to far off because you did not answer all my questions and the ones you answered confirmed what I said there is a pattern for us to follow.

    Since there is a pattern (Jesus Christ), and no one has asserted otherwise, we can examine the Scriptures to see how this word of God to the church in Thessalonike applies to us today.

    Nick I am glad to see that you agree that following the pattern of Jesus is to follow the pattern in the N.T. Perhaps the others in here recognize that simple truth.

    Most simply, when they rebel against a direct command. Paul gave a direct command from the Lord: work quietly and earn your own living. If a believer rebelled against that command, they were to be shunned. Rebellion requires warning, and then shunning. That’s the Jesus Way

    Jesus is the pattern

    Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the Word of God

    Again, I say thanks for agreeing with me that the N.T. is our pattern we must go by.

    Since you quote John 4:24, I think it would behoove you to do a study of the key words in that verse – particularly how John uses them in that book and the rest of the Johannine literature. “In Spirit and Truth” does not mean with a reverent attitude and according to the pattern. Pneuma in John NEVER means attitude. Aletheia in John is clearly defined by John (1:17, 8:32, 14:6). Truth in John IS Jesus Christ the Word of God

    I made no commentary on this verse, but I did show what truth meant from John 17:17.

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

    Simply put, we must worship God according to truth that the words we read in our N.T. that tell us how to worship God. As far having the right attitude in worship you completely left out what else I said:

    Hebrews 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
    If there is no pattern/law for worshipping/serving then how can we know how to offer God acceptable worship?

    Finally you said:

    James does NOT call the Word of God “the perfect law of liberty.” The perfect law – the law of liberty – the royal law – all these are referring to the exact same thing, and James gives it to us in 2:8. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Really! Let’s put that to the test:

    James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty (loving your neighbor as yourself) and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

    James 2:12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty (loving your neighbor as yourself).

    Do you still think your definition makes sense? It doesn’t to me. However, if we change it to the pattern or the law of Christ it does make sense. Again, just as Jesus said:

    John 12:48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.

    Nick, thanks for proving that we are to follow the N.T. pattern!

  137. Royce wrote:

    “Hank, Just read the passage and see what it says. An elementary truth is that English words have different meanings given the context in which they are used.

    Yes, of course when the people repented and put their trust in Jesus they were saved from their sins. The only sense in which they saved themselves was that by their confession and baptism they were marked out, set apart from the sinful population at large. This might be too complicated for you to grasp….”

    Royce, I grasp it indeed. And I believe it.

    You however, seem all over the place. At one time you say that man has no role to play in his salvation… and then you later say that “by their confession and baptism they were marked out, set apart from the sinful population at large.”

    So, who do you believe decides whether a man actually repents and is baptized?………God, or man?

  138. Hank,

    Royce has himself trapped in a corner by his own argument. If he does not realize that I feel sorry for him. Checkmate.

  139. Checkmate? Is this a game for you? Do you consider theological discussions to be a game that you win like a debate or something?

  140. No Nancy, I do not consider this a game. I just like to make a small atempt at humor every once and awhile. Sorry, I am not very good at it, which is why I am a preacher and and not comedian. I will refrain from using any more game terms.

  141. Cougan, I have found most posters here to be honest disciples desiring a deeper understanding of scripture and a closer relationship with God. I do not agree with everything that I read on this site from posters and sometimes I even disagree with Jay. But, I am educated enough and secure enough as a child of God to consider differing points of view. I have personally been blessed by Jay’s work here and have grown spiritually by having my conventional wisdom challenged.

    The Lord himself told us that from the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. (Or in the case of internet communications, the fingers type and hit the submit button). You can take this comment or leave it, but it appears that at least three of us here are reading your comments as arrogant and obtuse. I cannot imagine that a preacher of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would desire such a reputation.

  142. Nancy I am sorry you feel that way. You and other are certainly entitled to your opinions. The only person I joked around with is Royce. The only reason I have joked around with Royce is because I noticed him cracking jokes first. When I see someone that does that I just joke back with a little because I can tell the appreciate such.

    The only way I can see from what I have written in these post so far that might come across as arrogant is when I made my post that stated out with this statement:

    Questions that liberals will not and cannot answer who say there is no pattern for us to follow in the N.T.

    This question was nor anything in that post was intended to be arrogant, I said the way I did to challenge the liberal to respond. Yes, I could have done it in another way, but this is the way I choose to do it.

    Nancy I cannot worry about what every person thinks, because someone is always going to think the worst of a person no matter what they say. You and others can attack my integrity, call me names, and make false accusation against me, but it will not change the arguments I making from Scripture. As Paul said:

    Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

    Nancy if I accused you of something would it make it true? No, it would not. So, to accuse me does not make it true. I have already explained the checkmate comment was an attempt at humor. The reason I used it is because when checkmate occurs there are no moves the game is over. In a similar way the argument that Royce was making not only proved to be false by me and others, even Royce proved his own argument false. Hence, he nothing more he can say or add that will change that fact.

    Nancy instead of trying to attack a few comments you do not agree with that has nothing to do with Scripture, why not focus on the arguments from the Scriptures I have made. I
    am not accusing you of this, but I have seen this type of behavior from progressives many times. Instead of dealing with arguments made from Scripture, they attack anything every thing else they can. They continue to express their opinions and nit pick on certain words.

    Nancy you can form whatever opinion you want about and say whatever you want about me, but I know that I am sincere student of the Bible. I also know that I am not here to merely win argument, but I am here for truth to prevail and for people to decide whose arguments line up with Scripture. I am doing my best to present what the Bible teaches and not what I teach. I can promise you, if it were up to me and my own opinions, I would make Jay look like an ultra conservative, but I have choose to let God’s Word and the wisdom found therein to be my guide. If I find that I have been wrong on something when it is clear from Scripture, I change my ways.

    Instead of judging my intentions, my plea is for you to open your Bible and compare what I teach to what Jay is teaching. That is all ask.

  143. We agree on much of what the Bible says.

    We disagree on much of what the Bible means.

    This disagreement comes from our disagreement on what kind of book the Bible is.

    When I was younger, I was doing some detail work at my dad’s car wash. I was using a claw hammer to try and open a solvent container, and when the claw slipped off the lip of the can, it hit a customer’s car and put a BIG gouge and cracks in their paint job. Dad became really upset with me. It took me a long time to understand why.

    Mostly, he wasn’t angry that I damaged the customer’s car. Cars get messed up at car washes sometimes – that’s why we had insurance. Nothing lasts this side of eternity.

    He was angry with me because the entire problem occurred because I wasn’t using the hammer for its intended purpose. The car wasn’t damaged because of an old paint job or a broken piece of car wash equipment, but because I foolishly used a tool in a way it was not intended to be used. Specific tools are made to be used in specific ways. Hammers are not meant to open cans.

    Likewise, as long as we disagree on the nature of Scripture, we will continue to disagree on its meaning. The Bible is not a law book. The Bible contains laws, but it is not, itself, a law book. It is a narrative – it exerts its authority in ways quite different from the US Legal Code, Revised.

    Until we agree on what Scripture is, we will struggle to agree on what Scripture says, and hardly ever agree on what Scripture means.

  144. The Pharisees excelled at condemning others. They looked down on others which made them feel superior. The Pharisees loved arguing the law as they were blind to the gospel. As the Pharisees there are people who quibble every letter of the law while virtually ignoring the heart of Jesus’ mission. A relationship with God is stifled when people reduce it to a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Christianity is not institutionalized religion, Jesus taught that the presence of God is known outside of institutionalized religion. People who have a holier-than-thou attitude and despise others, they have very little if no room to be loving, forgiving and understanding to others, instead they’re always criticizing, judging and condemning others. They focus on verses of law to try to claim their power and authority. They leave out the gospel as they use selected verses making themselves feel powerful. This shows lack of love in many people having to use power and control of law rather than the greater level of love which Jesus taught.

    Galatians 6:12-14 “As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

    Those who reject that Jesus died for all of their sin spit on Jesus’ face while He is on the cross. No sin can go unpunished, no one who’ sins aren’t removed can go to heaven. Therefore someone rejecting Jesus died for all their sins, when they are unloving, unmerciful, unforgiving, proud, gossiping, untrustworthy, covetous, envious, quarrelsome, or has a single sinful thought that is missed it remains unpunished since Jesus didn’t die for all their sins, no one with unpunished sin can go to heaven.

    Romans 7:22-25 “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

    Luke 18:9-14 “Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

    Performing righteous deeds never eternally saves anyone. Performing righteous deeds as an effort toward justification before God man’s deeds are insufficient to atone human sins.

    The church is where people go to get healing and many churches have become a place where people do their best to discourage and destroy them! The church is a hospital for sinners. Many churches hang a sign up saying “only perfect people allowed!”

    Grace is a gift, it cannot be demanded nor earned. We are full of imperfections, on our best days we fall short. We are not saved through deeds/works.

    Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished!” tetelestai, paid in full or complete, tetelestai was what people said when someone had paid a debt in full. Jesus said, “It is finished!”, there could be nothing added to what He had done. But to many people His Sacrifice wasn’t enough to save them, they add good works to be saved or stay saved.

    Romans 3:20-22 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.”

    Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

    Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Romans 10:4 “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

    Galatians 2:16 “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”

    Galatians 3:11 “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”

    I am a sinner saved by the grace of God, Jesus’ blood Holy and righteous which He shed brings me to my knees falling flat on my face before such a Holy God. His glory is much, much bigger than anything I can ever do.

  145. Cougan,

    I also find that your posts come across as “arrogant and obtuse” so since according to Nancy’s count three people feel that way already, I make four. I don’t think it’s fair of you to blame Nancy for this. At some point you need to consider the possibility that you are responsible for the way you are perceived. This perception may not effect the strength of your arguments, but at some point people will simply stop listening to you.

  146. Cougan,

    When was the last time you “changed your ways”?

  147. Cougan was right in saying what he did. It was “checkmate” concerning royce (meaning simply that he had contradicted his own self and placed himself right in the midst of the horns of a dilemna). What concerns me with “progressives” is that rather than seeking to show Royce the inconsitencies of HIS position….people want to instead attack the ones who stand up for and defend the truth (that man does have some type of role in his/her salvation — otherwise all would be saved).

    What Royce believes and teaches is incorrect. I mean, who here wants to take and try to defend his unscriptural position?

    The reason I am here (not speaking for Cougan), is in hopes that the discerning readers will look at their Bibles and determine for themselves what is truth.

    Since when has it become “pharisaical” to point out that certain beliefs are simply untrue? Why is that “unloving”?

    “Love” does not mean accepting and embracing every type of false doctrine.

  148. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)

    1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:1-10)

    21But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
    27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. 29Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:21-31)

    Hank and Cougan, your disagreement is not with me it is with the Bible. What you two teach is the opposite of these three passages and over 50 other passages that clearly teach that sinful, dead men, do not save themselves.

    You arrogance is disappointing. Why don’t each of you explain to the readers what these 3 passages mean, or why we shouldn’t believe them? If they are true, and they are, you two are teaching what is untrue.

    Cougan, if there is a pattern one must follow to stay saved, why don’t you tell the readers what the pattern is. Just saying ‘read the Bible” is not a good answer. If a Christian’s soul is in danger shouldn’t Christian’s know all the “salvation issues”? I want to know what your list is. Sunday night service? No hand clapping? Is a capella only one of your “salvation issues”? You have spent a lot of time here telling us we must follow the pattern or be lost, tell us what the pattern is.

    Finally, the Bible uses “birth”, “adoption”, and “resurrection” to describe how a sinner becomes a Christian. Hank or Cougan, explain how a baby can conceive himself and birth himself? How can a tiny baby effect his own adoption? And how can a dead man raise himself?

    You can respond to this comment in one of two ways. You can call names, speak in generalities, or you can address Bible truth to explain or explain away the clear teaching of the word of God.

    I am not asking you to refute “my position” I’m asking you to comment on the Bible’s “position”.

    Royce

  149. I am not asking you to refute “my position” I’m asking you to comment on the Bible’s “position”.

    With deep respect, Royce, that is as arrogant a statement as anything I’ve heard Cougan say.

    Your position is the Bible’s position? Hardly.

  150. Nick,
    Royce as well as Cougan and Hank have commented here enough to give us a good idea of what they believe and how they generally treat others and how they treat the text. It seems to me that there is a qualitative difference between Royce on the one hand and Cougan and Hank on the other.

    If what a person has said has been misrepresented or mischaracterized by another it is understandable that a person might refuse to reply or that we migth see a little anger in theoir response.

    I have no doubt that some readers avoid interacting with some commenters b/c they are not optimistic it would be fruitful. There are times when the tone of a comment or the way the scripture is handled prompts some of us to simply not respond. Others may enjoy a greater degree of patience and have a higher tolerance for abuse and thus they are willing to indulge another reader. To each one of us a measure of grace is given.
    Peace,
    Randall

  151. Randall, I tend to agree with you in most cases like that. But one of the hallmarks of the conservative way of communicating is to say that their position is the Biblical position, period, end of discussion.

    It seems incredibly self-defeating to accuse folks of arrogance, and then close one’s accusatory comment with such an arrogant concluding statement. That’s all I’m trying to point out.

  152. I only have a few minutes, and it will be probably be several days before I can reply to much of what has been said.

    Mike Ward, even if 50 people says I come across as arrogant and obtuse it still does not make it true. I am not trying to win a popularity contest, but I am trying to show what God’s Word teaches. I am speaking in truth and with love, with a small, tiny, itty-bitty amount of joking.

    Mick since you accuse me of blaming Nancy for something, would be so kind as to cut and past where I blamed her for anything.

    I am in no way comparing myself to Jesus, but there were many (and I do many) that would stop listening to Jesus even though He had the words of life. He and His disciples were not only ignored and persecuted, they were put to death because others did not like the truth they were preaching. In that sense, I understand that as I preach and teach the truth that others will accuse me of being this or that, but their personal judgments of my intentions or how the choose to perceive my comments is up to them. I am who I am and one cannot fully appreciate the tone or the body language being used as one types out their message. What seems clear to one, is confusing to another. Where one sees a spirit of love, another can see a spirit of hate.

    Again, why not attack my doctrine, instead of me. If I were to use your same accusations against you or others on this board you would not like it. Not only that, all those pulling for the progressive side would chew me up and spit me out if I did. Yet, when the progressive makes a joke, or makes an accusation it is acceptable and nothing gets said. That what you call a double standard.

    I understand that some people get hot under the collar with their belief is tested and some will speak out of frustration, but if you find yourself making statement out of anger I would suggest that you take a break, calm down, gather your thoughts and then write your response. Once you hit that post button, whatever you have said will remain there until Jay either deletes the post, or shuts his website down.

  153. Nick,

    What do you take issue with in the three verses I posted in my last comment. They state exactly what I believe in regard to salvation and human effort. I think since those lengthy passages are direct quotes from the Bible and are representative of many other passages that teach the same truths, I am safe to claim that I completely agree with them.

    I fail to see why that should offend anyone.

    Royce

  154. Cougan,

    Are you addressing me in all of your last post? I know the first part is addressed to be but then you refer to Mick. I think there is a Mick who posts here, but he has not posted in this thread so I assume it is all directed at me. This concerns me because if so you are falsely giving people the impression that I attacked you or were rude to you, and I’ve done neither, but anyone seeing your post will assume that you are upset with me for a reason.

    I do not appreciate the tone you use in many of your posts and do want to have a discussion with you about anything at all, but please do not lead people to believe that I have mistreated you. I won’t say anything else to you, and in return I’d appreciate it if you would not direct any more comments at me except for your response to this.

  155. Royce,

    Love to! Let’s make a date of it tomorrow when I’m stationary, seated, and have full access to my copy of the Scriptures. Can we make at least one stipulation? Since I haven’t called you a liberal or a Calvinist or accused you of defending any particular named doctrine, could I have the same courtesy? Since I address what you say, could you refrain from pointing your “marks of the church” talking points at me, and actually interact with what I’ve said? Thanks in advance!

    Now, here’s the preview.

    Even if these Scriptures (and the 50 others you said you could produce) were the whole of the Bible – and they’re obviously not – I’d still disagree with your handling of the grace-faith relationship, your belief that the “gift of God” in Eph 2:8 is grace and faith rather than the “you have been saved” statement, and that’s just in the Ephesians passage!

    And we both know that while those three passages are powerful, and representative of an important message that Salvation comes from the Lord, there are other passages (not prooftexts, but whole passages that equally support their themes) that command:

    Faith
    Submission
    Covenant Acceptance
    Belief
    Worship

    These passages, along with your favorites, create a challenging tension within the Christian life that I hope to explore within the course of any discussion we have.

    In HIS love,
    nick

  156. Royce,

    At one point you say that man has no role to play in his salvation… but, then you later say that “by their confession and baptism they were marked out, set apart from the sinful population at large.”

    So, who do you believe decides whether a man actually repents and is baptized?………God, or man?

    And could you explain waht you meant when you said that the ones on Pentecost were told to save themselves from their generation but not from sin.

    I mean, you have these people separated from their generation by being baptized for forgiveness… but not saved??? In what way then were they separated?

    I wish you would try to explain what you mean.

  157. Hank, the text in Acts 2 tells us what Peter was preaching on that day, that Jesus was who he claimed to be. When the crowd heard his message, which was substantiated with prophecy and reminders of what they had seen, they were persuaded that they had wrongly dismissed His claims and ask what they needed to do. Peter tells them to repent of this, to change their mind about Jesus, the Christ and distinguish themselves (separate themselves) from those that continue in their unbelief. It is the sin of unbelief that condemns. When a true believer “repents” it is in the sense of believing that Jesus was/is who He claimed and that His promises are true.

    The idea that repentance (as it relates to salvation) means to feel sorry for one’s individual sins and resolves to change is an idea that we read into the text. This idea isn’t consistent with the teaching in Acts 2.

  158. Nancy,

    Peter told them all to “save yourselves.”

    What do you think he meant? And how were they instructed to do so?

  159. Hank, my understanding is that Peter is telling them that they need to respond to the truth about Jesus Christ, about the Gospel. I.E., change your mind about who you thought Jesus was, believe that he was/is the prophesied Messiah and that his promises are true. By believing the truth about Jesus they would be “saving themselves” (being set apart) from the wicked, perverse generation that was still under God’s punitive judgment because of their unbelief. He tells them to be baptized which in my understanding was to show the world that they believed this Gospel. We get a similar understanding from Jesus when He healed the leper and then told the man to go observe the ritual ceremony…Jesus did the healing, not the ritual. I understand that there are some that view the physical act of water baptism to be the agent of salvation, but my view is that the God, specifically the Holy Spirit to be the agent of salvation.

  160. God is the “agent of salvation,” no doubt.

    But he only saves those who believe and obey him. And from that standpoint, man does play a role in his salvation. If man does not have any role in his salvation….then everybody would be saved.

    That’s all I am trying to say Nancy.

    I was arguing against Royce, who said that man has no role to play in his salvation… but, then later said that “by their confession and baptism they were marked out, set apart from the sinful population at large.”

    Which, of course, is contradictory.

  161. 161 comments and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. There are lots of people here smarter than I am and I’m sure know more about the Bible.

    I first trusted Christ when I was 15 years old, almost 50 years ago. About 38 years ago I preached my first sermon. I have trusted Christ alone for my salvation all these years.

    I have tried to be faithful to Christ and the gospel. I have been called ugly names, called a heretic, a false prophet, and an infidel. Just as Jesus said the gospel offends some people. On the other hand I have seen drunks dried up and changed into Godly men. I have seen grown men fall on their knees and beg God for mercy. I saw my own father abandon a works based view of salvation and after he was born again became a great witness for Christ.

    With that said, I am often a poor example of a Christian. I fail miserably and far too often. Oh how I want God to own every part of me but there is in me an ego that wants to rise up and rule. I find the same tension Paul described in Romans 7 is mine.

    I am not infallible. I don’t now everything about the Bible. I do believe though that God has made his promises very plain, the gospel cookies are on the bottom shelf where a child or a simple working man can find them.

    I appreciate Jay and admire his ability. I recommend his study, https://jayguin.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/do-we-teach-another-gospel-full-text.pdf ).

    I am not in a war with anyone who claims Christ as Lord. I only want to exalt and magnify and praise His name who alone gives eternal life to those who trust him.

    God will sort out the true from the importers. A goat has never been a sheep, and God still hates self righteousness. I beg you, put your whole trust in Jesus Christ our Lord, He alone can forgive sins and give eternal life and immortality.

    I’m done. May God’s best be yours.

    Royce

  162. Mike sorry for messing up your name by calling you Mick. The 2nd and 3rd paragraph are specifically to you. The 4th – 6th paragraph are general statements to those who continue accuse me of being this or that or calling me this or that instead of dealing with the arguments presented from Scripture. They also contain general advice on not posting out of anger or saying things you might later regret.

    Mike I am not upset with you or anyone else. I does not matter to me how many names I am called or how many times people accuse me of being arrogant or say I have a bad tone it will not make me upset. If you are anyone else wants to continue bashing me, more power to you, but it is counter productive and it is not getting anything accomplished at looking at the Bible teaches.

    If it makes you are anyone else feel better to take your frustration out on me go ahead, but all I ask is somewhere in that effort could you please (pretty please) at least spend a few sentences dealing with the verses and arguments I have presented. Hey I will even put sugar on top if you will.

    Mike it your choice if you do not want to converse with me anymore, but if you post something that I do not believe is Scriptural, I will not refrain from responding to your post with a Scriptural answer. As far as a general conversation, I will certainly respect your wishes.

  163. Royce I could give you a lengthy commentary of the verses you have in question, but I have no beef with these verses, so I am going to keep it brief. I do want to point out that they do not teach what you want them to teach.

    Titus 3:4-7 Does teach that we are not saved by works of merit, which it what I have been teaching all along, but works of obedience are necessary. This passage is a parallel passage to John 3:5 in that it shows to be born again one must born of water and spirit just as Jesus said. Notice how following verses all teach the same thing:

    Tit. 3:5 Holy Spirit/ Washing/ Saved
    Jn. 3:5 Spirit/ Water/ Kingdom
    Eph. 5:26 Holy Spirit/ Washing/ Saved
    1 Cor. 12:13 Spirit/ Baptized/ Body

    Other passages could be used, but these are enough to show where God’s mercy and the salvation He offers is made, it is at the point of baptism. To break down into the simplest terms, we are taught by the Holy Spirit through written Word/pattern the N.T. of how to be saved. Once we believe, repent and confess Jesus as Lord, we must then submit ourselves to water baptism where are sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus. We know this happening because of our faith in the working of God (Col. 2:11ff). When we are washed then we are saved and putting to the kingdom/body/church.

    The very fact that we must have an obedient faith to be saved and do things I have mentioned above shows that we play our part in our own salvation by accepting what God has asked us to do. If we view baptism as just getting wet or some ritual, then we have missed the plain teaching of Scripture.

    Royce even grace itself it said to be conditional because God only gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). In order for someone to be humble takes action and submission on their part, hence they play a role in accepting God’s grace. Royce please pay attention to this verse:

    1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

    What do you suppose Paul is talking about here Royce? What doctrine is Timothy to take heed and continue in? If we play no part in our salvation what does Paul mean when he tells Timothy if he will continue in the doctrine that he will save himself and those who here him proclaiming that doctrine?

    Is Paul not clearly stating that we can save ourselves by doing something and that following the doctrine as found in the N.T. is what causes one to save themselves?

    Eph. 2:1-10 has similar message and that is grace is God’s part and an obedient faith is our part. These Ephesians had once walked in the way of unrighteousness, but by God grace through faith (obedient faith) they were saved. As Paul said in:

    Romans 6:17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

    Same idea, these lost Romans OBEYED the doctrine, which caused them to be saved/set free from their sin. As verse 10 of Eph. says we are to walk in good works. The fact that one has to have obedient faith proves that a person must do something to be saved, but those works of obedience are not in anyway works of merit. Just because we accept God’s gift of grace by doing what He has asked us to do in no way makes God owe us salvation.

    Rom. 3:21-31. A lot of the book of Romans deals with the idea that we are not saved by works of the Law of Moses or by works of merit. However, it also point out how we are to have an obedient faith (Rom. 1:5; 6:17-18; 16:26). Even in the verses you mentioned, Paul specifically teaches that we are not under law of works (works of the Law of Moses or works of merit), but we are under the law of faith, which means we are under a law, the law found in the N.T. Since we are under a law, we must follow it or we sin.

    Royce even if you bring out these 50 other verses you think support your view, I have clearly shown that Bible teaches that we do play a part in our salvation. If we do not then all are saved. That is the ONLY logical conclusion that can be made. Since the Bible does contradict itself and verse you think you have cannot goes against the verses I have presented in this post and others.

    You keep wanting people to supply you with this extensive list from the N.T., but no one is going to take the time to do that nor is their room to paste it all. I know you do not like this answer, but if a person wants to know what they must do to be pleasing to God, they need to read the N.T. and find what it says about being saved and walking in the light. You need to read the other thread I am in with Jay. I will not do it tonight, but I will give even more insight about determining what the pattern is in that thread.

    Finally, you try a draw conclusion based on the birthing processes, but what fail to realize is that unlike a baby he does not have choice if he is conceived and born, we do. You seem to have the same confusion as Nicodemous in John 3. As Jesus explained we must be born again by spirit and water to enter the kingdom of heaven. Or as Peter says in:

    1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

    When we hear God’s Word and what He did for us and we pricked in the heart and we obey what the Spirit teaches through the Word of God then we know we must believe, repent, confess, and be baptized in water in order to be born again. I do want make an important point about baptism. What happens to us in baptism as describe Romans 6 is done by our faith in working of God (Col. 2:11ff). God is making all of it happen as we submit to His will. Much like Naaman in 2 Kings 5 who was not cleansed of his leprosy until obeyed God’s command to dip 7 times in the Jordan, we are not born again with our sins washed way until we obey. In fact, unlike the baby who is unaware of what is going on in the birthing process, we must know what we doing in order to be saved.

    Royce I believe everything I have said is what the Scriptures teach and I hope you find it helpful.

  164. Nancy, I do not want to misunderstand what you saying, so I want to ask a question that will help me to make sure of what your are saying.

    Are you saying that water baptism is not neccessary for salvation?

  165. Cougan, my understanding is that God (Holy Spirit) is the agent of salvation and of baptism by convicting, by regenerating the heart, by indwelling the believer and by uniting the believer to Christ and to other believers. My view of the ceremonial act of water baptism is that it signifies to the world that God has cleansed us, that we are set apart, that we are His, that we have been united with Him and with other believers. The story of Jesus cleansing the leper and then telling him to go submit to the cleansing ceremony seems analogous in my view. Jesus was the instrument of cleansing, the ceremony allowed the leper to be united again with his people, his family. In this story, the man was cleansed before he got to the ceremony – Jesus had accomplished this on his behalf. Jesus instructed him to go and submit to the ceremonial cleansing, I assume the man complied.

    I understand from scripture that the ceremonial was very closing associated with the spiritual. Whether the spiritual cleansing, the cleansing accomplished on our behalf, takes place before, during or after the ceremonial cleansing, it seems to me that the end result is the same. I understand that there are differing views.

  166. Nancy, if I understand you correctly, you believe a person is saved before baptism and that water baptism is just outward sign for an inward change.

    If that is true, then how do you explain how Peter saying that baptism saves us in 1 Pet. 3:21?
    How do you explain Peter saying that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins and must be done to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in acts 2:38ff?
    How do you explain Saul being told to arise and get himself baptized to wash away his sins in Acts 22:16?

    Before you answer, if you have time you might want to look at my response to Jay in:

    http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/07/dialogue-with-cougan-answers-to-questions/#comment-24325

  167. So many people want to say performing righteous acts makes them worthy to go to heaven. I’m sorry but when have they lived a perfect sinless life as Jesus? When did they die nailed to a cross bearing the sins of the world past, present, and future?

    Jesus saved the thief on the cross who was not baptized who clearly repented having faith in Jesus (Luke 23:39-43). Cornelius and his household repented believing Jesus as the Messiah and were saved receiving God’s Spirit before they were baptized (Acts 10:43-48).

    The many righteous works Abraham did justified him that he was seen to others as a great man of God, though the works he did could not justify him before God. The blood of Christ saved Abraham and others who had faith looking forward to the promise of eternal life through the Messiah who would save mankind.

    Romans 4:2-3 “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

    Don’t bother telling the gospel to people who can’t be baptized, those who are 700-900 pounds obese that are completely unable to leave the walls of their bedroom, people who have trach tubes helping them breath, people who suffer having epidermolysis a skin disease that is severly painful and the slightest touch can peel their skin off of them. Jesus’ work on the cross isn‘t enough to save them.

    A man who lives in Africa who has never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Someone sends him a Bible in his language and he reads it and comes to have faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. He lives many miles away from water and would have to walk to get there, his wife is very sick with malaria and if he leaves her side she will die. According to Baptismal Regenerationists this man is not saved.

    A Muslim who has never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ comes to the U.S. for the first time. He is in a very bad car accident and is taken to a hospital where he has tubes and machines hooked to him that cannot be removed or he will die. A Biblical preacher walks in and tells him the gospel and the man converts having faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. According to Baptismal Regenerationists this man is not saved.

    Baptismal Regenerationists – The baptistery breaks leaving no water, “uh oh! hurry run to the nearest river Jesus’ didn’t do enough on the cross. That is not beautiful at all. What is beautiful is the love, grace, and mercy God gave sacrificing His Son who died a horrible death to pay the debt of our sins, a debt that none of us can ever pay.

    Jesus revealed God’s nature to people and gave mercy to people who had faith in who He is.

    Matthew 9:27-29
    “When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”

    Luke 5:12-13
    “And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.” Then He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately the leprosy left him.”

    Luke 18:35-43
    “Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.”

  168. Anonymous, since you posted your same response in the other thread, I will post my same response here as well.

    I am just going to comment briefly on your post because I mainly waiting for Jay’s response (in the other thread). http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/07/dialogue-with-cougan-answers-to-questions/#comment-24332

    Are you afraid of people knowing who you are? I certainly appreciate your train of thought, but none of things I said in my last post are works of merit, they are works of obedience.

    Cornelius nor those who the Holy Spirit were poured out on were saved until they were water baptized. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was done to prove that the gentiles could receive the good news as well, which is why Peter immediately wanted to know:

    Acts 10:47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

    The thief on the cross is bad example because the thief on the cross died long before Jesus gave the great commission, so the thief on the cross could not have been baptized with the baptism Jesus commanded even if he wanted to.

    Again, the book of Romans talks a lot about not being justified by the works of the law or works of merit, but it also points out the necessity of an obedient faith as I pointed in my earlier posts.

    As far as your you EXTREME examples you gave, which would be RARE to ever happen I following to say: If God did make an exception in some rare case and let someone be saved without baptism (the Bible in no way gives such an example or hope), what does that have to do with 99.9% who have no excuse for submitting to water baptism?

    Based on the last verses you quoted, you want to logically conclude that the healing that took place by the person faith means that we are saved from our sins today by our faith alone. James 2 proves your logic wrong, but lets take your logic and apply another way.

    There were some people that Jesus healed that had no faith and one instance did not even know who Jesus was.

    In John 9 a blind man was healed by Jesus who did not even know who Jesus was. Also in Luke 7:12 Jesus raised a widows son from the dead without her having faith that He would do so. Using your same logic, we can say that one can be saved today without knowing who Jesus is and without having faith. If not why not?

    More details can be given, but I hope this brief response helps you out.

  169. The last Scriptures I quoted was in response to your comparing Naaman being healed from leprosy the same as removal of sins. So you can apply to yourself your response on John 9 and Luke 7. 😉

  170. Obedience, or disobedience, when realated to the gospel and it’s claims is either believing or not believing the gospel. I can’t find one place in the Bible where obedience is baptism.

    Of course it is right to be baptized, and to do so is obedience. But, just going by the Bible only, to “obey the gospel” means to believe it, to depend on it’s claims, not to be baptised. Baptism is not for lost people but for believers. Phillip had it exactly right, “If you believe with all your heart you may..”.

    http://gracedigest.com/2007/04/02/obey-the-gospel/

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