The Fork in the Road: Dialogue with Cougan: Answers to Questions

Cougan,

The role of women is a difficult place to start because there are several predicates we have to cover before you can see where I’m coming from. For example, I don’t think you can properly interpret 1 Tim 2:11-15 until you’ve sorted through Gen 1 -3 and the chapters in Judges on Deborah, among other things. And I don’t think the passages dealing with the appointment of elders can be fully understood unless we first reach common ground on the Spirit and the nature of law under the new covenant. That makes your questions very appropriate.

First question

You asked, “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?”

The New Testament use of “law”

The New Testament is not a law. It does speak of law that Christians are to conform to.

“Law” is used different ways in the NT. For example,

(Rom 8:1-2)  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Yes, the law of the Spirit applies to Christians. The law of sin and death does not. Just so, Paul writes in Galatians —

(Gal 6:2)  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

But he also writes,

(Gal 5:4)  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Obviously, seeking justification by law is a serious, damnable mistake. And as I explained in an earlier post, “justified” refers not only to God’s initial forgiveness of us at baptism, but to his ongoing forgiveness.

And if it’s damnable to seek justification by law, and yet there remains a “law of the Spirit” and a “law of Christ” that apply to Christians, we need to seriously consider how to make the distinction between what damns and what doesn’t.

“Pattern”

Now, in your question you ask about “law/pattern,” and I’m not willing to concede that those are the same thing, because it depends on what you mean by each. “Pattern” is a word used in 20th Century Church of Christ polemics to refer to rules gathered from inferences from inferences and treated as holy writ. I don’t think that’s the New Testament sense of the word. Indeed, “pattern” is used in different senses in different places in the New Testament — sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

Commands, the heart, and the Spirit

So let me repeat what I’ve said here many times. Yes, we must obey God’s commands. All of them, but only those that are truly commands. But our salvation doesn’t depend on our perfect obedience or our perfect understanding. It depends on the state of our hearts. And there are several words that the New Testament writers use to describe the required state.

Sometimes the scriptures say that all with “faith” are saved. This is very commonly said in the New Testament. Other scriptures speak of the necessity of obedience or of submission to Jesus as Lord or of repentance. I take those three to be virtual synonyms. And yet others passages say that all believers who love are saved. (Forgive me for not citing specific texts, but I’m sure you know them very well, and I’m short on time today.)

And the part that ties it all together is the scripture’s teachings on the present work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the Christian. If you omit that doctrine, well, it’s hard not to turn to legalism — which is why Paul concludes Rom 1 – 8 with a discussion of the Spirit’s work in us, and he concludes Gal 1 – 5 the same way. A grasp of the Spirit’s work in us makes it all make sense.

Second question

You asked, “If you do not think the N.T. is as law/pattern for us to follow, then what is it?”

There are five books of history. There’s one book of apocalyptic literature. The rest are epistles, either general or personal. None is a constitution or book of statutes. None reads anything like the Law of Moses.

And the New Testament, through the life and teachings of Jesus, and the explanations and applications given us, show us not only how to attain the resurrection, but how to become truly human as God meant for us to be. The texts show us how God is working to restore us to the image of God as we were always intended to be from the beginning.

This includes many things, but it particularly includes restoring us to right relationship with God (“faith”) and with others (“love”) through the work of the Spirit within us. It teaches us how God is working through the Spirit to shape his people into a community that is the body of Christ, continuing Christ’s work on earth, in preparation for the Kingdom, which has come, is coming, and hasn’t yet come in its fullness.

And it teaches us how God intends to restore the Creation itself to the redeemed perfection he always intended for it to have.

The church — and those of us who are part of the church — are therefore called and elected to participate with God in his redemptive mission, not out of obligation or fear, but for the same reasons God redeems — out of his unconditional love.

You see, if we love others because we are afraid of damnation if we don’t, it’s not love for others at all — it’s self-love, seeking to save our skins by our obedience. And that’s one reason that the law of sin and death is the law of sin and death. That’s one reason why seeking to be justified by works damns — it doesn’t lead to actual love.

For that matter, fear of damnation cannot lead to true worship, because true worship comes from those who worship God out of love for God. If we worship out of fear for our own skins, well, that’s self-worship, seeking to protect ourselves, worshiping God out of love for ourselves.

We have to be changed to be saved, and we have to flee teachings that declare our salvation is based on our ability to discern God’s semi-secret will hidden in the silences so we can be so doctrinally pure that he won’t damn us. It’s the wrong kind of law and the wrong kind of obedience.

But when we obey because we share in God’s love for the lost and the poor and broken and because we want to worship God for fear our hearts will burst if we don’t, and when that is driven by the Spirit in us and by the gospel of truth, that’s worship in Spirit and in truth — and that’s a response to the law of the Spirit.

But I’ve gotten far, far ahead of myself.

Where to begin

And so, in the context of the role of women, I don’t think we can have a profitable discussion without reaching an accord on these fundamental issues. If you and I can’t come to terms on the Spirit, we’ll likely disagree on everything else, making the discussion entirely futile, because my interpretation of, just for example, the qualifications of an elder, is built in part on my understanding of the Spirit. And if we insist on two different kinds of law, well, we’re going to disagree on what the law regarding women is.

I discuss these issues in several places — and I keep meaning to write a new series on the Spirit — but the likeliest place to start such a discussion would be over at the series called Amazing Grace. I’d invite you to read the first post and then comment over there whether you agree or disagree, and we’ll talk our way through it. And by the time we get to the end, I you may already be persuaded regarding the role of women, but if not, we can then talk about women based on a common apprehension of the gospel and the Spirit. And there’s no other way to profitably talk about the role of women. Otherwise, we’ll just talk past one another as though we’re speaking different languages.

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39 Responses

  1. Yes, YES, YES! Its so simple that it blows the mind!!!
    I didn’t get it until I read the Bible through and realized the same thing. It was the passages in Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc that referred to the coming new covenant that pulled it all together. The New Covenant is not a new law system, but a restoration of the relationship(s) that God intended and that existed in the Garden of Eden before the fall of mankind. Wow.

  2. Jay,
    Thank you for trying to steer this conversation toward basic principles instead of jumping into specific “issues” first.
    Jerry

  3. So Campbell was right! It is about restoring the ancient order. Unfortunately many peoples see ancient as 1850s or 300ad, rather than Eden.

  4. Jay I just read through what you wrote one time so far. Are you saying that you want me to begin with your amazing grace series on that thread or do you want me to comment on what you have said so far in regards to my questions?

  5. Ok I clicked on the link for the amazing grace thread. I hope your not proposing that I read ALL THAT STUFF on their before we can begin a discussion. I do agree that if cannot agree on the same foundation that our discussion would be pointless.

    Perhaps our discussion should be centered on what you have said above. Or if you have a shorter version of what you believe about the Spirit that gives me a general idea of your way of thinking that would be helpful because I do not know if I have the time to digest all that you have written in that series.

  6. Cougan,
    I would like to encourage you to read through the Amazing Grace material. It goes faster than you think. If you can make the time I’m confident it will bless your conversation with Jay. As a “silent” woman who lives “in subjection” the question you ask is dearer to me than I should think it could ever be to any man. But my testimony to you is that Jay’s essays on this subject have not changed the “traditional” CofC “pattern” of how I carry out my role in worship. But his writings have dramaticaly enhanced the spiritual love with which I strive to fufill my role.

    I believe you will find that you do not have to agree with Jay on all counts in order to be blessed by the reading. One of the most important things you’ll find in what feels like a detour at this point is an appreciation for Jay’s process of revealing how he came to his own spiritual understanding and the sincerity with which he strives to communicate what he’s learned.

    You ask valuable, but sensitve questions. As someone who’s asked these same questions, works 11 hour days outside the home, raises two cildren, is the cargiver of an 88 year old (legalistic) father-in-law, teaches two Bible classes a week….. (you get the idea)…..and who is responding to your post after midnight…..Please find the time to read the grace series. You can do it faster than you think. And we’ll follow your likely relevant questions and comments there too.

    I read here regularly, but rarely post. I just wanted you to know your questions were valued and others will follow your thoughts with interest and prayer. Jay’s advised detour is worthy of your time and meditation.

    All my best, Terri
    sorry 4 any typos. I’m posting from my iPod and can’t scroll 2 proof b4 I post.

  7. Cougan,

    Jay didn’t ask you to read the whole series first, he said read the first post and then comment over there on whether you agree or disagree and you could continue from there.

    ” –but the likeliest place to start such a discussion would be over at the series called Amazing Grace. I’d invite you to read the first post and then comment over there whether you agree or disagree, and we’ll talk our way through it.–“

  8. Jay I do not have time to read through your amazing grace information no more than you have time for me to point you to several articles and sermons I have written. So, instead of taken several days or go through your material, I am going to deal with what you have posted above. As I do this, we will see if we can find a place of agreement that we can move forward from.

    Before I begin, I hope you did read the track I wrote as pasted in the other thread that deals with the role of women. I have to say I do not understand what can be so difficult to understand the reason Paul says that women are to be silent and not have authority over the men.

    1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    As you know the word “for” indicates that the previous text is going to be explained. If we cannot accept Paul’s explanation of why a woman cannot be an elder (not to mention the fact that a woman cannot the husband of one wife) I shudder to think about what kind of foundation you are using to live your life as a Christian. As you said, we can get into this later.

    The first thing you say in response to my 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?”

    is that “The New Testament is not a law” Then you follow up showing that we are under a law. Which is it Jay? Are we under a law or not?

    From Romans 8, you are correct that we are under the law of the Spirit and that we have been set free from the law of sin because Jesus has given us power over sin. Then you turn around and quote another verse that clearly shows that we are under the law of Christ Gal. 6:2. But then you get sneaky and try to lump Gal. 5:4 in as being the same law spoken of Rom. 8 and Gal. 6:2, but it is not talking about the same law:

    Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

    Jay, there is no way from this context that you can make verse 4 apply the law of the Spirit or the law of Christ. It easy to see that Paul is talking about the Law of Moses in this passage. In fact, Paul spends a great deal of time teaching these Galatians not to go back to the Law of Moses and for them to see how much better it is for them to be under the law of Christ.
    Again, other passages make it abundantly clear that we are under law in the N.T.

    1 Corinthians 9:21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law;

    James 1:25 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.

    Then James goes on to make a powerful point:

    James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

    James is letting these Christians know that they cannot keep part of the law and consider other parts not necessary. James points out in this chapter that they cannot show partiality. If they do, they become guilty of the whole law, which shows that one infraction causes you to become a law breaker. The laws he gives were part of the 10 commandments, but the same moral laws were reinstated in the N.T. law. James makes it clear that if we break one of God’s commands in the N.T. we became a law breaker. He clearly teaches that we need to pay attention to the doctrine of the N.T. because we will be judged the law of liberty, which is talking about the law of Christ, law of Spirit, and the law of faith (Rom. 3:27).

    The liberty we have been given in Christ does not give us liberty from law because without law there is no sin (Rom. 5:13; 4:15). It does however give us liberty over sin. Yes sin still exists because law still exists, but we have being given the power over the sting of death through Jesus. The new law has also freed us from many rituals, such as washings, temple worship at Jerusalem, feasts, animal sacrifices and host of other things we no longer have to do. About the only physical things involved under the law of liberty are being baptized in water, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and giving our means. Of course another major difference is that we choose to accept the grace of God under His new covenant/law/pattern instead of being born into it just as Jeremiah prophesied (Jer. 31:31-34).

    You keep saying we have not been given a new law, when in fact the Bible says the opposite. It says in several places that we have a NEW COVENANT, which is the same as saying NEW LAW (Mt. 26:28; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:13).

    Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

    Notice the new covenant that we have includes a law.

    Now you might say, well Cougan if you are right, if we break one command without knowing it we sin. That is true, all it takes is one sin whether willfully or un-willfully to break the law of Christ just as James has said, but the difference between the law of Moses and the law of Christ is that Jesus’ blood will take care of sins when we repent of them (1 Jn. 1:7-9). We also notice James clearly says that mercy triumphs over judgment. If we show mercy, we receive mercy. This idea taught in the O.T. and in N.T.

    Psalm 147:11 The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy.
    Luke 6:36 “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
    Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.

    Many more examples could be given. Personally, I remain confident that if I continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of my Lord though I may stumble a long the way by committing sins unaware that I will stand justified before God, but I will have to give an account for those sins I committed that I was unaware of. If I have shown a forgiven spirit and love for my brethren the same will be given to me on the Day of Judgment. Whatever decision God makes about me and how I lived my life, I know that it will be just decision and if it is His decision to allow me to go to heaven that is great, but if not, I say amen let justice be served.

    As Paul said:

    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.

    As a run the race of Christianity realizing that one infraction against the pattern/law of the N.T. is a sin and that it is possible for me to break one of those laws unaware, I run the race not with uncertainty, but I rest my confidence in God and His mercy for those sins I do not know I commit. While I cannot a draw a line in the sand and say that x amount of sin done out of ignorance will keep me out of heaven, I don’t worry about such things because I pray on daily basis asking God to forgive me of things I have committed willfully and for those sins I am not aware of. I also ask that if I am guilty of sin unaware that it by some means it might be made known to me so that I can remove that offense from my life. Overall, I put my trust in God, and continue to press forward to the goal of heaven and I make the necessary changes along the way.

    I will say this, if I sin willfully, that is I know that I am sinning on purpose and I do not repent, then I know I am choosing to separate myself from God and that I will not make it to heaven because the Bible makes it clear that willful sin will receive no mercy:

    Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

    Jay no matter how much you do not want the N.T. to be a law it is and if we break that law we sin.

    James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    2 Thessalonians 1:7 when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

    We cannot discount the Word of God and change it up to fit what we want it to say (Gal. 1:6-8).

    Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

    James 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

    Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

    Jay everything we need to know about the law of the Spirit has been revealed by the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. That is why EVERYTHING we need to know to be pleasing to God, to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, and to be confident in of our salvation (1 Jn. 5:13; 2 Tim. 4:7) is found in the Word of God, the glorious law/pattern (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3).

  9. Jay
    I guess we all have wrestled with the paradox of law. The following is my view. Clearly the Scriptures tell us that we are not under law (Rom 6: 14) and also that we are under law to Christ (1 Cor9: 21) Contradiction? No, we are not under the Law of Moses, which is a law of works, but we are under the Law of Christ, which is a law of faith. (Rom 3: 27) The New Testament is not a law of works but it is a law of faith. There are two basic commandments or principles in the Law of Christ, faith and love. (1 John 3: 23) The bulk of the NT is an explaination of these two principles and how “faith works through love.” (Gal 5: 6)
    A law of works involves debt abd obligation (Rom 11: 6; 4: 4) which has no part in a grace economy. . The law of Christ is not revealed to us as a conditional law “He who practices them shall live by them” *Gal 3: 12) but as a promise (Gal 3: 11). “The just shall live by faith.” The Lord has promised a crown of life to those that love Him (James 1: 12) We are children of promise. (Gal 3: 8) and our inheritance is of promise. (Gal3: 29)
    Our obedience is of faith (Rom 1: 5) not to a law of works. The law of Christ equips us to every good work and warns us against evil.
    Thanks

  10. Cougan wrote,

    As a run the race of Christianity realizing that one infraction against the pattern/law of the N.T. is a sin and that it is possible for me to break one of those laws unaware, I run the race not with uncertainty, but I rest my confidence in God and His mercy for those sins I do not know I commit. While I cannot a draw a line in the sand and say that x amount of sin done out of ignorance will keep me out of heaven, I don’t worry about such things because I pray on daily basis asking God to forgive me of things I have committed willfully and for those sins I am not aware of. I also ask that if I am guilty of sin unaware that it by some means it might be made known to me so that I can remove that offense from my life. Overall, I put my trust in God, and continue to press forward to the goal of heaven and I make the necessary changes along the way.

    Does this apply equally to the independent Christian Churches?

  11. Jay,

    I am the kind of person that answers EVERY SINGLE question that is asked of me, but experience has taught me that others are mot willing to do the same, so I have had to change the way I do things in discussions like this. I have no problem answering your question and I can give you even more details of section of my text you quoted, but before I will answer (and yes I know where you are going with the question) you need to deal with the argument at hand. I have dealt with what you have said and as far as I know I have left no stone unturned.

    Since we are establishing a foundation to work from, you need agree or disagree with the foundation I have laid and explain why you disagree using Scripture, so that we might find a place of agreement to work from. If we cannot, as you said, we are going to have hard time discussing the issue of there being women elders, and I am going to assume if you think women elders are ok then women preachers preaching to men and women is ok as well. So, the ball is your court my friend. I hope you will not try to deflect the discussion, but will deal with it head on with an honest heart.

    As a lawyer you are used to dealing with evidence, I ask you to examine the evidence I have presented and show me where I got it wrong. Show me how the N.T. is not a pattern/law even though I showed you clear evidence that it is. I am hoping you will be different than most progressives I have dealt with and you will actual deal with the arguments I presented and back them up with Scripture. What I usually get from most progressives is either more questions without answering mine or they simply state their opinion and they usually end up calling names like legalist or something similar.

    I am going to be optimistic and hope that something good will come of out this. After all, you invited me to discuss this matter.

  12. Cougan, since you’ve shown in another discussion that your purpose is to checkmate your dialogue partners, I have serious doubts that you’re interested in anything good. Your desire for victory rather than truth makes me feel like I’ve wasted a lot of words in the last few days, playing someone else’s game.

    on the roles of women: removing Paul’s words in 1 Tim from their historical-theological context will allow you to support your tradition, but at the expense of truth.

    on law and justification: you assume that being under law is the same as being justified by law. Since Paul says that all who seek to be justified by law are doomed, and also says that we’re under the law of Christ, I cannot believe that they are one and the same. I stand with Paul, who says that seeking justification by works of the law is falling from grace.

    on covenants and law: Your assumption that covenant and law are one and the same prevents you from seeing the clear truth that Abraham was in covenant with God but had no law from God. Also, you fail to grasp the full import of the Hebrew writer’s quotation from Jeremiah that the new covenant is not like the old covenant with its regulations for worship and earthly place of holiness.

    However, until you repent of your gamesmanship, you can expect little in the way of dialogue from me.

  13. Cougan,

    Are you intentionally being obtuse? Changing issues from “women elders” to “women preachers” is not the same thing as finding a place of agreement to work from. If you’re really interested in having an honest discussion, you need to stop pronouncing “righteous judgment” on Jay and whoever else disagrees with you, and actually listen to what they have to say. You keep insisting that Jay answer you from scripture, but when he asks you to read material that contains the scriptural foundations of those answers, you say that you’re “too busy.” Yet you’re not too busy to post repeatedly accusing Jay of “ignoring” you. How could you ever be “too busy” to read and study these materials? You’re obviously not “too busy” to throw dozens of “proof texts” at Jay in support of your position. Do you not understand how condescending and arrogant it is to demand that Jay read and respond immediately to everything you have to say while you repeatedly refuse to do so? My suspicion is that you’re not (and never really were) interested in finding out why Jay believes and teaches the things he does. Please prove me wrong.

    Jay,

    Sorry if my tone is too harsh. But you (and others) have spent (wasted?) thousands of words on this discussion at this point, and if one party isn’t willing (as evidenced by their own repeated insistence) to do the requisite legwork to have an informed discussion, then there’s really no point in spending any more time or effort on a fruitless argument.

  14. Nick,

    If you will go to the other thread, I have explained what I meant by checkmate. The only victory I am interested in for God’s truth to win.

    Nick I am not removing anything from historical context. Again, Paul not me is the one that gives the reason of why women are to be silent and goes all the way back to creation:

    1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    When Paul talks about not seeking justification by the works of the law, he is referring the Moses law. I have not every said that we can work our way into heaven or merit our salvation, but we must have works of obedience to make it to heaven. There is big difference between these kinds of works. After James gave the example of how one infraction of the law causes one to be a law breaker as described in my earlier post, he goes to make the point that faith without works is dead (James 2).

    Nick every covenant is made up of rules because it is an agreement between to parties. Just because you say I do not grasp the meaning of Jeremiah’s prophecy does not make it so. I have already explained some of the major differences between the new covenant and old covenant.

    Nick I am not playing games on this thread, just because you want to jump on my use of checkmate (again, look at the other thread for explanation to Nancy) does not mean I have anything to repent of. That would be like me taking any joking comment you make in any of these threads and saying that you need repent. If you want to make comments or not make comments that is up to you. My main discussion is with Jay anyways.

  15. Nick I am not removing anything from historical context. Again, Paul not me is the one that gives the reason of why women are to be silent and goes all the way back to creation: 1 Timothy 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    Was Miriam required to be silent because Eve was formed first?

    Was Deborah required to be silent because Eve was formed first?

    Was Huldah required to be silent because Eve was formed first?

    Was Mary? Anna? Priscilla? Junia? Phoebe? Lydia? Philip’s daughters? The unnamed women in 1 Cor 11?

    That’s what I mean when I say you are removing 1 Tim 2:13 from its historical-theological context. If Paul is establishing a law and explaining its meaning, it must have the same meaning for all those women, too.

  16. Obtuse: Lacking in insight or discernment; Slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity
    Aaron I hope I am not being obtuse intentionally or unintentionally. I did not anyway make the women elders/preachers the foundation we are work from. You need read my post again. I said we need to establish our foundation BEFORE we can discuss women being elders and possibly preachers if that is what Jay teaches.
    Aaron are you serious when you say I need to stop making righteous judgments about others. First, thank you for considering what I am doing as a righteous judgment, but I will not stop making righteous judgments from the Scriptures. When I do that, it is not actual me making the judgment it is God’s Word. As Paul said,
    Galatians 4:16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
    Aaron I listen to what everyone is saying in these threads. I honestly do not have the time to read through all the material that Jay has written. I do not expect Jay to go my website and read every sermon and article I have written. We are discussing these issues in a concise manner. This is not formal debate, where I spend months combing through Jay’s material.
    Yes, I do have time to offer the proof texts (verses that prove my position), and will continue to use the Scriptures to prove my position because that it the nature of this discussion. I am demanding anything from Jay. I am hoping however and looking forward to how in the world he can squeeze women elders and possibly women preachers out the text in question, but before we can even get to that we have establish our foundation.
    Aaron, I have said before and I will say it again. I would love for Jay to be correct. If he was, things would be much easier. However, so far, all I see is tickling of the ears.
    I will also tell you are entitled to your opinion and you can accuse of me of not wanting to do the leg work, and say this is fruitless discussion, but I disagree. Anytime God’s Word is being discussed good things will happen from it. If I was just in here spouting off my opinion with no Scriptures being used then you would have a valid point. However, I have presented Scripture as my foundation and is up to Jay and whomever to show where I have missed the mark. Those reading this will benefit from seeing the Scriptures from two different perspectives. Then they call pull out their Bibles and compare. It might be that they learn something important from both sides, but if causes anyone to study the matter more and examine the Scriptures than it is not a fruitless discussion even if Jay and I cannot agree.

  17. Folks, step back. I do not see evil intent in CC’s words. He said early on that he had only recently come to this website. Like all of us he had expectations, one of which, is that this is a dialogue with the host – Jay.
    CC if you want to understand please read some of the prior writings suggested. Take notes, then email a single disagreement which can become a post to this site and open for comment by Jay and the rest of us. That’s the way this sight works well. Every so often add another item. Two things will happen, your views will change and sometimes so will Jay’s and us other readers.

  18. Cougan,

    I’m sorry that you misunderstood me as believing that your judgements are “righteous.” In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Who made you judge of Jay, myself, or anyone (except yourself), for that matter? You stand on precarious ground when you claim to be the “righteous judge” of anyone. I’ll stand with Jesus when he told his disciples to “Judge not” and with Paul when he asked the Romans “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

    Here’s what you said:

    Since we are establishing a foundation to work from, you need agree or disagree with the foundation I have laid and explain why you disagree using Scripture, so that we might find a place of agreement to work from. If we cannot, as you said, we are going to have hard time discussing the issue of there being women elders, and I am going to assume if you think women elders are ok then women preachers preaching to men and women is ok as well. So, the ball is your court my friend. I hope you will not try to deflect the discussion, but will deal with it head on with an honest heart.

    Instead of addressing the issue of understanding scriputure (which you can only do if you agree to read what Jay has already written on the subject. The answers are there. To insist that he repeat himself is arrogant and disrespectful, whether you admit it or not!, of his time and efforts in maintaining this site), you (not Jay!) deflect the issue by adding “women preachers” to your growing list of “damnable” issues.

    So long as you insist on lifting Scripture out of its context and forcing your interpretation onto it (the actual definition of “proof-texting”), rather than letting it (the whole of Scripture itself, through the working of the Holy Spirit) shape and direct your thinking, this discussion is and will be fruitless for you and a waste of time for anyone who tries to teach you anything. You’ve demonstrated time and again over the last few days that you’re not interested in learning. You’ve got the answers, and anyone who disagrees be damned.

    You refused to answer Jay’s simple question to you: does your understanding of grace for ignorant sin cover others (specifically, the Independent Christian Churches)? Does it cover just yourself? How perfect does one (or a community) have to be before they are saved? As perfect as you, Cougan? Also, how is it possible for you to prejudge Jay’s intent in asking the question (which you admit to by saying “I know where you are going with the question”)? Are you equating yourself with Jesus, knowing the intent of Jay’s heart and mind?

    I don’t believe you are evil, Cougan. I fear that you have fallen prey to Satan’s scheming…that is, to value law over love, to trust in your own perfection rather than the work completed by Christ on the cross, and to think that God prefers division to unity. I hope and pray that you will open your ears and eyes that you might see the better way.

    I’d say lots and lots more, but I’m afraid that it would only fall on deaf ears. I’m done.

  19. Cougan,

    I quoted from your earlier comment,

    As a run the race of Christianity realizing that one infraction against the pattern/law of the N.T. is a sin and that it is possible for me to break one of those laws unaware, I run the race not with uncertainty, but I rest my confidence in God and His mercy for those sins I do not know I commit. While I cannot a draw a line in the sand and say that x amount of sin done out of ignorance will keep me out of heaven, I don’t worry about such things because I pray on daily basis asking God to forgive me of things I have committed willfully and for those sins I am not aware of. I also ask that if I am guilty of sin unaware that it by some means it might be made known to me so that I can remove that offense from my life. Overall, I put my trust in God, and continue to press forward to the goal of heaven and I make the necessary changes along the way.

    I asked whether your understanding extends to the independent Christian Churches. You declined to answer.

    Now, in my post, I stated that there are at least two ways that Paul uses “law.” You responded with the above quote, which very much accords with my understanding of the Law of the Spirit — although there is, of course, much more to it.

    Here’s the thing: I agree with the quoted portion of what you wrote. I figure you spoke the truth when you wrote it. And if we agree, we can talk about “law” and “pattern” in light of our common ground. I won’t waste my time or yours disputing over matters on which we already agree.

    If, however, you misspoke, and this doesn’t reflect your actual views, then I’d think you’d jump at the opportunity to correct the record so we can then discuss our differences being well aware of what each other believes.

    Now, I also said that the NT uses “pattern” in multiple senses. You seem to define “pattern” as equal to “law of the Spirit.” That being the case, we need only discuss the law of the Spirit. And I think you’ve summarized it well enough.

    But now I’m wondering whether you meant what you wrote. Do baptized, penitent believers in the independent Christian Churches enjoy the same grace that baptized, penitent believers in the Churches of Christ enjoy?

  20. Jay,

    I have not read the entirety of the comments here, but I would like to “weigh in” (if I may).

    You wrote:

    “Do baptized, penitent believers in the independent Christian Churches enjoy the same grace that baptized, penitent believers in the Churches of Christ enjoy?”

    I am not sure… What about “baptized, penitent believers” in the churches (denonminations) which tolerate practicing homosexulas? Do they enjoy the same grace? Or, churches (denominations) which have female preachers? Do they enjoy the same grace?

    Or, what about the “sound” churches which are primarily “lukewarm”….do they enjoy the same grace?

    Seems to me that we should all be diligent in trying to avoid every falsehood (whether in attitude or practice), rather than trying to believe that it does not matter.

    For example….

    If a person believes that they are pleasing to God as a practicing homosexual (they belive God made them that way and that it is alright), are they?

    Are they:

    1. Living in rebellion to God?
    2. Are they denying the Lordship of Jesus?
    3. Are they adding to the requirements of faith in Jesus for salvation?

  21. Cougan and Jay,
    Three years ago I wrote a blog post outlining my views on patternism; in particular, that patternism fails to account for the fulfillment of the patterns themselves in Jesus the Messiah.
    I would love to hear from either of you regarding your views on this, as in many ways I feel “conservative” or “progressive” are not so much the point as “all about Jesus”:
    http://unveiledface.blogspot.com/2007/04/gospel-centered-hermeneutics-part-8-why.html

  22. What did you say Aaron?

    Just kidding, no really I am just kidding. Oh man, I will probably be crucified for cracking another joke. How insensitive of me.

    Seriously, Aaron, where did I say I am the righteous judge? Jesus is our judge and I am in know way judging Jay or some personal level. I am however making a righteous judgment based on Scripture and not from my own authority. It is the Word of God that we will be judged by Jn. 12:48. As Jesus said:

    John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

    Not even the passage you use about Jesus excludes righteous judgment because notice the text actually says:

    Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Basically, if you judge people with unrighteous judgment that is not found in Scripture then Jesus is saying your judgment will be used against you. Then He goes on to say before you make that righteous judgment remove the plank out of your eye and then you can make that righteous judgment to remove the plank out of your brothers eye. Aaron I hope this clears things for you about what the Bible says about righteous judgment.

    Aaron, if we do things the way you would like them to go, then this is how it would go done. If I want an answer to any question I have, I need to spend hours and hours reading through Jay’s material until I find it. Then I need repeat the same procedure again for all additional questions I have. Once I digest every article that is written, then I have the right to ask question or make statement, which you would then say something like, “you did not read Jay’s material good enough because that questioned is answered.

    I tell you what Aaron, go to my website http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com and go to my sermon page and article page and digest all that I have written because every answer to Jay’s questions can be found there. If you ask me a question that I have covered there, then I will paste the very words you use on me

    To insist that he (I) repeat himself (myself) is arrogant and disrespectful, whether you admit it or not!, of his (my) time and efforts in maintaining this (my) site), …

    Just because me or proof-texting does not prove it to be true. I could say that you are 500lb woman who lives in a cave, but saying that does not prove it to be true. The answers I have provided have come the Bible. Now if you want show where I have missed the mark with the Scriptures I used I am all ears.

    Aaron I have refused to answer Jay’s questions. I said I will answer it, but first we need to discuss the foundation we have been talking about. I know that you have TRIED once again to infer that I am trying to deflect by adding on women preachers, but that is big assumption on your part. Read the post again and again and you will see that I said the foundation MUST BE established first then we can talk about women elder and possibly women preachers if Jay thinks women preachers are acceptable. I cannot see why he would not approve of women preachers if he approves of women elders, but until I see him say otherwise I can only ASSUME that he does at this point.

    You said:

    I don’t believe you are evil, Cougan. I fear that you have fallen prey to Satan’s scheming…that is, to value law over love, to trust in your own perfection rather than the work completed by Christ on the cross, and to think that God prefers division to unity. I hope and pray that you will open your ears and eyes that you might see the better way.

    Just about everything in this quote is wrong. No, I am not evil. I do not value law over love instead love is what makes me value you the law. As Jesus said:

    John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    By the way, those who keep saying that Christ is the pattern and try to separate it from the N.T. pattern need to pay close attention to what Jesus just said. I do not trust in my own perfection, what a ridicules notion, I trust in Him, who has made salvation possible for me and show my trust and love by being obedient to His commands. God does prefer division in the sense that we are separate ourselves from the worldly ways and we are divide ourselves from doctrinal error. However, God also wants us to have unity, but that unity is not us compromising God’s truth so that we can hold our neighbor’s hand in fellowship. Instead that unity comes from us being of the same mind based on what the pattern of the N.T. teaches.

    Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

    If you want to have the kind of unity that God wants you to have, then you must be unified for the faith of the gospel. We must train ourselves to walk in a way that is pleasing to God, which is done by keeping the commandments of the N.T.

    Colossians 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

    1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;

    Titus 2:6 Likewise exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. 9 Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

    2 Peter 3:14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

    Philippians 1:8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

    I will let these verses sink in without any commentary on my part. I will say again, that we can never be sinless because we have all sinned, but we can become perfect in our faith that is complete and mature in our faith. Striving for sinless perfection should be every Christian’s goal because the more we mature and transform our mind’s to Christ’s mind (Rom. 12:1-2) the closer we will come to keeping all sin out of our life.

    Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

  23. Jay, I will elaborate on your response and go in more depth of what it means to follow the pattern of the N.T. in my next post.

    Mick I will respond to what you have said as well. I might get to it tonight, if not I will on Saturday.

    Aaron I forgot one thing about your comment about me knowing where Jay is going with his question. I feel confident in where he is going with the question, but if I wanted to be more accurate, since I am not a prophet, I should have said “and yes I (probably) know where you are going with the question.”

    Maybe that will make you happy, Aaron. I cannot wait to see what you nitpick on next.

  24. A suggestion to everyone except Cougan and Jay:
    Let them continue this discussion without extra commentary and side issues. It’s convoluted enough on it’s own. They’re never going to get anywhere without others constantly chiming in, and I really want to see them get down to the core issues as well as the other questions they are asking each other. Please?

    Suggestion to Jay:
    You may have to accept that Cougan is not going to read swaths of your material. Why not just try to answer his questions in a more concise way? Many of us are trying to have similar discussions as this with people with the same views as Cougan. We try to answer their questions and make our points in ways that are easy to understand and don’t require reading books and such. I want to be able to do this for my brethren and you can be a good example for us on how to have these discussions.

    Suggestion for Jay and Cougan:
    Please try to answer each others questions. Also, defining terms is helpful in these types of discussions.

  25. Cougan,

    You’ll not have to worry about any more nitpicking from me. I don’t have the desire to fight over this anymore, with you or anyone else. It’s too discouraging to pursue further. I suppose you’ve “checkmated” me.

    I used to think that I could reach/teach people, and that that was what God wanted me to do with my life. Over the last few days (here and elsewhere) I’ve been shown that it just isn’t so. I’m sorry for my argumentative tone,everyone. It won’t be on display anymore.

  26. Aaron – don’t lay down your cross so easily. Being crucified by the religious elite and secular powerbrokers is at the heart of the Jesus Way.

    The more frustrating (remember Jesus weeping over Jerusalem?) it gets, the closer to Him you stand.

  27. Aaron,
    A few are inclined to listen to and consider the texts and arguments put forth by other folks. However, my personal experience has been that is the exception to the rule. There does come a point at which one simply tires of having the same discussion over and over. Education is the solution only to the extent that ignorance is the problem.

    Like you, when I find the discussion is no longer edifying or encouraging I am inclined to simply let it go. And there have been more than a few discussions on some of our websites as in some of our churches that are not of interest to anyone that is not hung up on that particular issue. I can’t imagine wanting to invite a friend or a neighbor to listen to, or take part in so many of these conversations.

    I think I understand how and why you feel the way you do.
    Peace,
    Randall

  28. Jay,

    I have been thinking of the best way for us to discuss this issue that will benefit those that are following along. I propose we take a look at foundation of Christianity in small segments. I know this is kind of hard to do, but let’s be as concise and detailed as we can, so that others do not lose interest in this discussion.

    The comments I make represent my thoughts from my understanding of the Scriptures and I am not speaking for any particular group, but for myself However, most would label me as a conservative Christian.

    In my first segment, I want to deal with what the N.T teaches about becoming a Christian. The reason I want to start here is because it begins to show what I mean by there is a pattern for us follow in N.T. and if we do not follow that pattern we will be lost. I will go into more details of what is involved in following that pattern after one becomes a Christian in future segments.

    While some like to fill the lost person full of knowledge before they teach them what they need to do to be saved, the amount a person needs to know to be saved is pretty basic.

    1. Obviously, a person needs to hear the Word of God before they are going to be able to choose to accept it or deny it.

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

    At the minimal, a person needs to be taught that there is a God and what He did for him through His Son. Now this does not mean that they have to know every detail of what Jesus did while on the earth, but they need to understand His death, burial, resurrection, that He is the Son of God, that He died for our sins and has made it possible for us have our sins taken care of. While not an exhaustive list, basics like these need to be taught and understood. In teaching people these things, we are following the command of the great commission, hence we are following a pattern found in the N.T.

    2. Once a person learns what Jesus has done for him and what He went through, a person must either believe or not believe. If one does not believe he will be lost. We learn this by following the pattern in the N.T.

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    John 8:24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

    These two Scriptures show both sides of belief. One must believe to be saved and if he does not he will be lost. Some like to stop here and say belief alone or faith only saves, but as we follow the pattern of the N.T., we have to look at the entire pattern and find out what else the Bible says is necessary to be saved. Besides James makes its clear that we are not saved by faith alone.

    James 2:24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

    I do not want to get ahead of myself, so let’s move on to the next point.

    3. Once a person believes in Jesus and realize what He has done for them it should prick them in there heart like the Jews in Acts 2:37. Our belief should motivate us to want know what we need to do, which we can learn from the pattern found in the N.T.

    Acts 17:30 “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,

    2 Corinthians 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

    Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

    Repentance is a change of attitude that says, I am going to stop living my life for myself and I am going to start living my life for God. Repentance means that we are going get the sinful things out of our life, which requires action on our part. If we are thief, we will stop being and thief and if it possible, we need to return whatever we have stolen. Of course there are some things that cannot be undone such a murder. One cannot bring back the life he has taken, but he can make sure he never takes another life, and he can do what he can to reconcile matters with the loved ones of the life he took.

    While repentance is necessary before one can be saved, repentance is not one time event. It is a lifetime event because a new convert is not going to know everything he needs to repent of in his life before he becomes a Christian. Whatever limited knowledge he has of the things wrong in his life he needs to repent of them. He needs to be taught that he must continue to be the kind of person that will repent and change the things in his life he is wrong as he learns about them from Scripture.

    From the verses above, we learn that repentance is necessary for salvation. If we do not repent, we cannot be saved. We can say that emphatically because the pattern in the N.T. reveals this. Belief and repentance must be done, but they do not save a person by themselves.

    4. Once a person has believed and repented the pattern in the N.T. teaches us that a person must also confess Jesus as their Lord to be saved.

    Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Matthew 10:32 ” Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

    Following the pattern in the N.T., we learn that confessing Jesus as Lord is necessary to be saved. If we do not confess Him as Lord, He will not confess us before the Father. We can know this is true because the pattern in the N.T. reveals it to us. When we teach someone that he needs to confess Jesus as Lord, we need to explain to him that is not a one time event, but continues throughout our lifetime. While this confession can be made verbally, it also made by how we conduct ourselves and live our lives based on the pattern found in the N.T., which teaches us how to follow in the footsteps of Jesus (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Belief, repentance, and confessing Jesus as Lord must take place for salvation to occur, but these three things do not save a person by themselves because there is one more part to God’s plan of salvation.

    5. Once a person has believed, repented, and confessed Jesus as Lord, the pattern in the N.T. teaches us that a person must be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

    1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

    Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “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.

    The pattern tells us that baptism is necessary to be saved. Since baptism is for the forgiveness of sins, if we are not baptized, then we are still in our sins. Saul is great example of this because he believed in Jesus, confessed Jesus as Lord, showed his repentance by his 3 days of fasting and prayer (Acts 9, 22, 26). If anyone could have been saved by the manmade sinner’s prayer it would have been Saul, but we learn that he was still in his sins until he obeyed God’s entire plan of salvation. Ananias told him:

    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 we teach a person about water baptism, he needs to understand the basics of what baptism is for and what it is about. While one does not need to have in-depth knowledge of everything that happens at baptism and what it means, he does need to understand that it is for the forgiveness of his sins, that he is being buried with Christ and raised as a new creature in Christ that has been added to the church by God (Acts 2:47).

    Personally, I like to use Romans 6 and Colossians 2 to show what happens during our baptism. We can know that a person needs to understand the basics of baptism because we must put our faith in the working of God knowing that He is making everything that is said about baptism happen as:

    Colossians 2:12 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,

    Putting it all together as we follow the pattern of God’s plan of salvation, we can know that a person must hear the Word of God, believe in Jesus, repent, confess, and be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins to be saved. This pattern makes one a disciple of Christ/Christian/saint. Until one obeys God’s plan of salvation as outlined above, he cannot even begin to make it to heaven.

    So far, I have established that the N.T. does contain a pattern for us to follow when it comes to learning to be saved. If we do not follow that pattern, we will never get rid of our sins. Of course, I need to mention without grace salvation would not be possible in the first place, but if we want to accept God’s grace then we need to follow the pattern of God’s plan of salvation.

    Becoming a Christian is the easy part. The challenging part is remaining faithful until the day you die (Rev. 2;10). Please notice the great commission:

    Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;

    This includes following the pattern of N.T. in teaching people how to be saved, and it also includes teaching them after they are saved to observe all the things that are commanded to us in the N.T. I will expand on what that includes in my next post.

    Jay, before I move on to my next post, I need to know if you agree with the foundation I have laid so far. I realize this is basic stuff, but if we agree on this first layer of the foundation, we can then progress to the next layer of the foundation.

  29. 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 given 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 those who can’t be baptized, people 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 many 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.”

  30. Anonymous,

    I am just going to comment briefly on your post because I mainly waiting for Jay’s response.

    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.

  31. I repeat:

    A suggestion to everyone except Cougan and Jay:
    Let them continue this discussion without extra commentary and side issues. It’s convoluted enough on it’s own. They’re never going to get anywhere without others constantly chiming in, and I really want to see them get down to the core issues as well as the other questions they are asking each other. Please?

  32. Anonymous,

    I think there’s a difference between those who cannot do what God commands and those who can but do not. It’s fine to ask what about the person who has no water, but what about those who do have water? Can a person honestly say that they have put on Christ if they willfully refuse to do what they are told to do?

  33. Mike,
    I believe you said “I think there’s a difference between those who cannot do what God commands and those who can but do not.”

    I believe Jesus said we should love God with all of our being and our neighbor as ourself. We can not do this since we are sinful beings None of us are successful at these simple commands for even one day. So is it OK if we fail in that respect so love as we follow the “plan” of salvation?

    I prefer the lovingkindness (hesed) of the LORD.
    Peace,
    Randall

  34. I do not beleive John and Paul would have written what they did in 1 John 4:7-12 and Romans 13:8-10 if we were all incapable of loving one another.

  35. 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. 😉

  36. OK Mike,
    Since you are capable of loving your brother as you should please tell me you have succeeded at loving him as your should. Have you done that on any kind of consistent basis, like the “good Samaritan” only ALL the time?

    Likewise, have you loved God with of your being as Jesus meant it when he referred to it as the great commandment? For how long have you loved God with ALL of your heart, ALL of your mind, ALL of your soul and ALL of your strength?

    Are you capable of that? do you know anyone other than Jesus that is capable of that?
    Peace,
    Randall

  37. Steven, I am begining to think you are not going to get your wish. It is starting to look like Jay is too busy or does not think this is a worthy discussion for his time.

    To be honest, I do not know if even has time to deal with our discussion considering all that he is trying to deal with on these the different threads not to mention fitting in time to read a book to review. I am not even sure he could even do this discussion justice because he has too many things going on at once.

    He has challenged the CFTF to come on is site so they can have an open discussion, but I wondering if he could even find the time to have such a dicussion. It obvious he has spreak himself to thin.

    Oh, well, I will keep checking back every few days to see if he has found time to respond.

  38. Cougan,

    My posts in response to your question will appear on Tue and Wed. This might have been a bad idea, but I went ahead and started with the foundation — how we’re saved — and worked on up to Christian ethics.

    I didn’t want you to feel compelled to have to drag these conclusions out of me.

    (WordPress is again failing to post some of my comments. They aren’t in the Spam filter either. Oh, well …)

  39. I am not for sure why you would think it is a bad idea, since we are trying to find a common ground to work from. Also, if we keep this simple, whether you and I agree or not, I believe that others reading will benefit from the discussion.

    Jay I do not expect you to make our discussion your main priority because you have other responses you need to make as well. However, if possible, I would like for you to give me estimated time of your response as you have done in your last post. Even if you need a week to respond that is fine because I may have to do the same here and there as well because I am trying to finish another book I am writting for publication by May not to mention my regular duties.

    Thanks Jay,
    I look forward to your response on Tue or Wed.

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