The Fork in the Road: The Pattern Et Cetera

This is in response to Cougan’s comment from Tuesday. The answers are too long for the comment box (and writing as a post is much easier on my bifocaled eyes).

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I wish you would email me when you decide to abandon the thread we were in and open up a new one.

Cougan,

It’s a shame that you aren’t keeping up with the other posts on this site. They bear on the questions were are discussing.

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One thing we have agreed on so far is that the “plan of salvation” is a good place to start from. However, you have problem with terms “Plan of salvation” and more so with “Pattern.”

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Hebrews 8:5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

God had a specific way He wanted the tabernacle built, and He had a specific way He wanted things laid out. He even had specific ways He wanted things done by certain people. To follow God’s commands on this was to follow the pattern.

To give one N.T. example:

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.

Cougan,

As I said near the beginning of our conversation, “pattern” is used in different ways in the New Testament, and I can’t agree or disagree with what you say about a “pattern” unless you tell me which way you are using the word. So long as you use it in the 20th Century Church of Christ teaching sense, no, there is no such pattern, and it’s very wrong to teach that there is one.

One use of “pattern” is found in 2 Tim 1:13, which you quoted. There “pattern” refers to Paul’s body of teaching. Obviously, we are to honor that pattern and obey the commands he gives us.

But another use of “pattern” is found in Heb 8:5, where “pattern” refers to an effort to gain salvation by replicating God’s perfect pattern. The writer’s point is that it’s impossible for obedience to such a pattern to save, and so God has provided us a superior way through Jesus.

The writer says that the “copy” is not good enough — because it is made according to the pattern rather than being the pattern itself. In other words, he says that although God’s law is perfect, because we can’t obey it perfectly, we cannot be saved by our obedience.

(Heb 9:10-11)  They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order. 11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

The tabernacle and its rules had to be replaced, not with a worship service with new rules, but with a perfect tabernacle in heaven perfectly worshiped in by a perfect high priest with a perfect sacrifice.

(Heb 9:10)  They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings–external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

Part of the problem with the Law of Moses was the use of “external regulations” to gain salvation. External regulations about how to worship are a sign of a carnal, failed system.

The solution is found in grace —

(Heb 10:10)  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

(Heb 10:13-14)  Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

The writer’s contrast is between a system where salvation is sought through obedience to external regulations and the sacrifice of Jesus — which makes believers “perfect forever” and holy “once for all” even though they are only “being made holy” — but not yet fully holy.

This is the continuous salvation that you argued for in an earlier comment. So long as we remain true to our faith and true to the repentance with which we began, we remain saved.

Thus, if we seek salvation through pattern-keeping, we’re relying on an inadequate, failed system. But should we follow Paul’s teachings? Of course. After all, he also warns us against seeking salvation by works (Gal 1-5).

And so, yes, follow the pattern. Yes, obey. No, don’t seek salvation through following a pattern. Find salvation in Jesus.

Then why obey? Well, because the Spirit has changed your heart to be an obedient heart, and because you love God, and because of your gratitude for your salvation, and because you find joy in obedience, and because you agree with the will and heart of God, and because you made a commitment, and because you can’t bear to pile more sins onto the crucified Jesus, and because you’ve been saved.

But obedience doesn’t save. If you don’t want to obey, going through the motions is of no value to God at all. Having a heart of obedience, though, shows that you are still being led by the Spirit and still saved.

But get this: if you want to obey because obedience is essential to salvation, well, you aren’t obeying out of love for God. You’re obeying to avoid hell — that is, to save your own skin — that is, out of love for self.

The solution isn’t commands — it’s a changed heart. Or as Paul says,

(Gal 6:15)  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

(2 Cor 3:18)  And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

(2 Cor 5:17)  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

But the conservative Church of Christ creed is that we must discern a list of rules so long that they cannot be listed and obey them — and that getting the rules wrong damns. And this is seeking justification by works rather than faith — and it’s another gospel.

Obedience is holy. Having a heart that wants to obey is essential. And an obedient heart will lead to obedience. But obdience doesn’t save. Jesus saves, through faith, by grace.

Therefore, we absolutely cannot declare those in the independent Christian Churches damned for their use of the instruments — unless the one making that judgment is willing to have his salvation judged by every single rule.

(Gal 5:3-4)  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Oh, and this explains why I feel it’s essential to explain how we are saved after our baptism the same way that we’re saved at our baptism. The conservative Churches presume that the rules change — so that the amazing grace we receive at baptism is parceled out only occasionally thereafter — depending on how often we pray for forgiveness and how well we pray for forgiveness. And that contradicts the Galatian epistle — not to mention the Romans epistle.

The great lesson of the 5 Step Plan of Salvation is not that there is a “pattern.” The lesson is that the incredible grace given us by God through Jesus at our baptism is given to us even more generously — much more generously — after we’re baptized, so long as we remain penitent believers. And that’s a far more important lesson than whether to call it a pattern.

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A simpl[e] question would be, “how can a person be baptized for the forgiveness of sin, if they do not know that is for the forgiveness of sin?

Cougan,

I hate to sound curt, but the answer is “for the reasons stated in my book Born of Water” (free download). I can’t believe that you’ve only read my book well enough to see whether you disagree with me — but not well enough to know the answer to my question. There’s a whole chapter on the subject.

If you’re not interested enough in my opinion to read it there, you won’t be interested enough to read it here. I can’t say it any better here than I said it there.

And it’s very unfair to lampoon what I say when I agree with such men as David Lipscomb and Alexander Campbell. You can’t credibly claim to know your subject if you’ve not studied both sides.

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145 Responses

  1. Jay, I will get to the other posts, but if I jump ahead to them right now, we will be starting a new layer of the foundation before this one is finished. I have not had time to read point 3 and 4 yet. However, I did make a post in part 2.

    Jay you have written a lot in your follow up comment, but in my opinion you have said very little. Some of the things you have said I agree with and teach, but some things I do not agree with.

    One the biggest problems I have seen with every progressive I have discussed with revolves around whether there is a pattern in the N.T. or not. Some are willing to say there is no pattern. If that is true there is no sin, hence universal salvation. However, your response is somewhat different because you can see the simplicity of the argument that if there is not pattern there is no sin.

    You say:

    Obviously, we are to honor that pattern and obey the commands he gives us.
    But another use of “pattern” is found in Heb 8:5, where “pattern” refers to an effort to gain salvation by replicating God’s perfect pattern. The writer’s point is that it’s impossible for obedience to such a pattern to save, and so God has provided us a superior way through Jesus.

    On one hand you recognize there is a pattern for us to follow in the N.T. and even say that we are to honor the pattern and obey the commands he gives us. On the other hand you want to say that there is no pattern that we can follow or obey that will save. Instead we are to rest our hope on the superior way through Jesus.
    While this is an interesting idea, you cannot have it both ways. Either there is a pattern for us to follow or there is not. What do you mean that there is a superior way through Jesus? It sounds like you are saying, yes we should honor the pattern, obey the commands, Nah I am just kidding you couldn’t keep the commands if you wanted to, so just rely on God’s grace.

    You added later:

    But obedience doesn’t save. If you don’t want to obey, going through the motions is of no value to God at all. Having a heart of obedience, though, shows that you are still being led by the Spirit and still saved.

    But get this: if you want to obey because obedience is essential to salvation, well, you aren’t obeying out of love for God. You’re obeying to avoid hell — that is, to save your own skin — that is, out of love for self.

    Jay, you are right that you could say that obedience does not save because Jesus is what makes salvation possible. You can say that obedience does not save when you just go through the motions or try to use God’s commands and examples as some checklist for you to get your ticket punched to heaven.

    However, it also true to say that an obedient faith saves. An obedient faith that is motivated by love for God is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for salvation (1 Cor. 13; Col. 3:14). Instead of taking up a lot of room with posting a bunch of Scriptures, I am going to give list of them for you to look up that shows without a doubt that obedience is necessary for salvation (Jn. 14:15; 15:4; 1 Jn. 5:3; Mt. 7:21-23; Heb. 5:9; 1 Jn. 2:3-4, 17; Rom. 6:17-18; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Jn. 3:22; Rom 1:5; Rev. 1:5; 22:14; Jam. 1:22; 2:17, 20; 2 Thess. 1:8-9; Col. 3:5-6; 1 Pet. 4:17; Rev. 21:7-8; Heb. 3:18-19).
    You spend a lot of time bouncing back and forth between the law of Moses and the law of Christ/new covenant. I agree with you that the law of Christ is superior to the law of Moses. I also agree with you that we cannot work our way into heaven and merit our salvation no matter how good we keep the commandments of God. However, this is no way takes away from the necessity of works of obedience. While these works cannot merit our salvation, if we do not show our love by obeying the commands then we sin and if we continue in that sin we will find ourselves separated from God.

    You say:

    But the conservative Church of Christ creed is that we must discern a list of rules so long that they cannot be listed and obey them — and that getting the rules wrong damns. And this is seeking justification by works rather than faith — and it’s another gospel.

    Obedience is holy. Having a heart that wants to obey is essential. And an obedient heart will lead to obedience. But obdience doesn’t save. Jesus saves, through faith, by grace.

    Therefore, we absolutely cannot declare those in the independent Christian Churches damned for their use of the instruments — unless the one making that judgment is willing to have his salvation judged by every single rule.

    (Gal 5:3-4) Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

    Jay even you agree that the N.T. has commands that we are to follow. If we break those commands directly, or we try to add to or take away from what God has commanded then we sin. It does not matter if the commands are broken unaware or willfully it is still a sin, but with the wonderful grace of God, we can be forgiven of our sins whether intentional or unintentional by repenting and confessing our sins to God. As soon as we break one of the commands again we sin again. A good example is Simon. He was not a Christian long at all when he put himself danger of hell.

    Acts 8:18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” 24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.”

    Did Peter make it sound like Simon’s sins would just be taken care of automatically with no effort on his part or would he have to repent and pray to God just as described in 1Jn. 1:7ff?

    You say that Jesus saves by faith through grace. I do not disagree with that as long you mean obedient faith.

    When it comes to independent church, we can look at Scripture and ask, What does God authorize us to do? This is the questions we should be asking instead of what does God not specifically say we cannot do? In another post, I will dive in deep about respecting the silence of Scripture, but for now I must point out that God has made it clear that He wants us to sing from our heart Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16. EVERY example in the N.T. shows how they understood these two passages because EVERY example we have is of Christians singing with their voice and NEVER EVER with an instrument. We know the instruments were commanded in the O.T. (2 Chr. 29:25) and if God had wanted us to use them, He would have commanded them to be used in the N.T. Since He has commanded us to sing, if we add the instrument to worship Him, then we are adding to His command to sing. If we add to a command whether willfully or out of ignorance, we sin.

    Without a doubt, we can say that when the independent Christian church continues to worship God with the instrument that they are worshipping God in vain and that using the instrument is a sin. It is not up to me to condemn anyone or any body of believers, but God’s Word teaches us that if a church or individual adds or takes away from God’s commands they are sinning and their lamp will be removed as spoken of the book of Revelation.

    This will be as good as a place as any to explain a little more about God’s mercy as I mentioned in previous post. The Bible gives us many examples of God’s mercy, and we can know that God will show mercy, but how much He extends is not clearly defined, so I cannot use God’s mercy as a guarantee, but I have no doubt that His mercy and judgment will be righteous.

    Could a Christian (as defined by the Bible) that is using musical instruments be completely ignorant of the fact that they are not authorized and possibly receive the mercy of God at the day of judgment? Perhaps, but I do not know for sure because again we do not know for sure how much mercy God will extend. However, while I have no doubt that there could be some Christians the remain ignorant of the fact that using an instrument is a sin, it does not change the fact that is a sin. Then you have another category of people who know that the Bible does not authorize musical instruments, but they justify them by saying that Bible’s silence on the matter makes them acceptable to use. You have some that use the instrument out of ignorance and others that do use them know full well the Bible does not command their use. Either way, sin is occurring and judgment will be given out.

    I would love for all those in the independent church to get to go to heaven despite their use of musical instruments, but based on what I read in my Bible, vain worship and self-imposed religion is not going to get one into heaven. Besides, the more grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord the less likely we are going to be guilty of sin done out of ignorance. As I said, Christianity is growth process and we are to continue to grow so that we become spiritually mature, but that growth never stops until we die.

    Even when we factor in God’s mercy for those sins we are unaware of and did not ask for forgiveness of before we die, we can know that God’s mercy will not change the fact that we sinned. Yes, we may receive a pardon for it, but we will have to give an account of what we did.

    I have no problem having the same judgment I have just made against the independent church used against me because I already know that I will be judged by the pattern as found in the N.T. (Jn. 12:48). I know that when I miss the mark by breaking a command by not doing something that I should have done that I sin, but I am thankful that I can go to God in prayer and repent and confess my known sins to God and know that they will be forgiven. I also feel confident that if I pray to God to help me see the sins I committing unaware, that those sins will be revealed so that I get that sin out of my life as well.
    Finally your passage you use in Gal. 5:3-4 is just another passage teaching that we cannot be justified by works of the law of Moses.

    You also added:

    Oh, and this explains why I feel it’s essential to explain how we are saved after our baptism the same way that we’re saved at our baptism. The conservative Churches presume that the rules change — so that the amazing grace we receive at baptism is parceled out only occasionally thereafter — depending on how often we pray for forgiveness and how well we pray for forgiveness. And that contradicts the Galatian epistle — not to mention the Romans epistle.

    I have never heard of such. When we receive the grace of God when we become Christians, we continue to receive the grace of God because when we repent, and confess our sins to God, they are forgiven just as they were when we were baptized. I see no contradictions with John message (1 Jn. 1:7ff) and that of Paul’s message in Romans and Galatians.

    The great lesson of the 5 Step Plan of Salvation is not that there is a “pattern.” The lesson is that the incredible grace given us by God through Jesus at our baptism is given to us even more generously — much more generously — after we’re baptized, so long as we remain penitent believers. And that’s a far more important lesson than whether to call it a pattern.

    Yes, the greater lesson is what the pattern reveals, but it does not change the fact the God’s plan of salvation is a pattern that must be followed in order to receive the grace of God. Even you seem to agree with my concept of what a pattern is and how it must be followed. You can correct me if that is not what you are saying in your statement because you do not deny that is a pattern, but you want us to focus more on what the pattern reveals instead of the term pattern itself.
    Finally:

    A simpl[e] question would be, “how can a person be baptized for the forgiveness of sin, if they do not know that is for the forgiveness of sin?

    Cougan,
    I hate to sound curt, but the answer is “for the reasons stated in my book Born of Water” (free download). I can’t believe that you’ve only read my book well enough to see whether you disagree with me — but not well enough to know the answer to my question. There’s a whole chapter on the subject.

    If you’re not interested enough in my opinion to read it there, you won’t be interested enough to read it here. I can’t say it any better here than I said it there.
    And it’s very unfair to lampoon what I say when I agree with such men as David Lipscomb and Alexander Campbell. You can’t credibly claim to know your subject if you’ve not studied both sides.

    Jay, I have not had time to read any of your books in detail. I did scan through some of them to get a general idea of what you are teaching. I did not scan through them trying to find where you and I disagreed, actually I hoped to find more that I agreed on, but based on the path you have chosen, I keep finding more and more strange things that you are teaching. I have written a book on baptism and I could send you a copy and tell you “why don’t you read it to find the answers,” but that would not be very helpful would it? The fact that you have written on the very topic I asked about, should make it easy for you to answer my question in a concise manner forever one to see.
    Your opinion is very wrong. If you put your answer in this thread, I will read it closely because it will be specific to my question. I would love to see you show how someone can be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, yet not know that it is for the forgiveness of their sins. I cannot even imagine how a person could prove such a teaching from Scripture.

    Jay do you think I care what Alexander Campbell or David Lipscomb taught on this topic? Where they inspired apostles? No, they were just men. What I care about is what does the Bible say? It is our authority.

    Not that it really matters, I want to point out the following about Alexander Campbell and his progression out of error and into truth:

    1. He realized that baptism must be by immersion (not sprinkling) for those who have the ability to believe

    2. He next understood that baptism is necessary for the remission of sins but made a distinction between actual salvation (at the point of belief) and formal salvation (at the time of immersion)

    3. Finally, he came to the knowledge that one’s sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus when one is immersed (that the actual and formal occur at one and the same time)

    Here are two quotes the prove his final view about baptism:

    “He that goeth down into the water to put on Christ, in the faith that the blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin, and that he has appointed immersion as the medium, and the act of ours, through and in which he actually and formally remits our sins, has, when immersed, the actual remission of his sins.

    “This, then, becomes ours when we become Christ’s; and if we formally and actually become Christ’s; and if we formally and actually become Christ’s the moment we are immersed into his name, it is as clear as day that the moment a believer is immersed into the name of Christ, he obtains the forgiveness of his sins as actually and as formally as he puts him on in immersion.”

    Jay, in order to carry out The Great Commission it included preaching about the remission of sins (Lk. 24:47). Peter did not fail to preach that truth (Acts 2:38) neither would any other Christian the follows the Great Commission. If someone is being baptized without knowing it is for the remission of sins, then what are they being baptized for?

  2. “If someone is being baptized without knowing it is for the remission of sins, then what are they being baptized for?”

    I am one who can answer that directly. I came to belive in the Lord Jesus in an Evangelical church of Mennonite background. We were instructed to make a decision and invite Jesus into our hearts and then confess to follow Him in baptism. So the act of repentance preceded the act of baptism – in my case the time-difference was 6 months and 2 days. (Actually the date of baptism was delayed a bit because I got the flue). And I was baptized by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus uopn my confessing Him as Lord.

    Let’s look at my baptism. Is it invalid, because I had an insufficient understanding of it?

    a) I confessed Jesus as Lord – that’s scriptural
    b) It was by immersion – that’s scriptural
    c) It was connected with a willingness to live as a disciple of Christ – that’s scritural
    d) It was based on Christ’s work on the cross – that’s scriptural

    But our church had a different understanding of baptism – so I had no other clue either.

    Let me ask this:

    a) What, if your understanding of sin and repentance deepens after your baptism? (I experienced that) Does that make your baptism invalid because you did not see and repented of every sin in your pre-baptismal life?

    b) This problem is enhanced by baptisms that take place within 24 hours a person applies for baptism – especially young people in a youth group that might follow peer pressure.

    c) A brother in our congregation has the problem, that (looking back) he was not really ready to follow Christ as a teenager when he got baptized and thus questions the validity of his baptism. What would you answer?

    d) Another aspect of baptism I consider of vital importance is separation from this world (see acts 2:40). Is a baptism that misses this point valid?

    e) In Acts 19 we see that baptism was followed by laying on of hands in order to pray for the Spirit to fill the convert. In Heb 6:2 laying on of hands is followed after baptism(s) as one of the basic things everybody should know. Is this a pattern we ignore? Does that make our baptism invalid?

    What is my solution?

    I see salvation as a process, that INCLUDES baptism but does not CENTER on baptism. I strongly believe and teach that baptism is for the remission of sin, but it does not rest on my correct understanding of it. I see no Biblical justification to promise salvation unless a person is baptized. But also not unless we are separated from this world (see 2Cor 6:4-7:1). And many other conditions could be listed. So I am very reluctant in general to make absolute statements on a person’s salvation – still I recognize brothers and sisters by their confesion of Christ and their obedience.

    Now, this might end up in a long list. I am sure hardly anyone will know and live by all of these conditions. For some time I believed in that “list-approach”, but the more conditions I discovered, the more I realized this cannot be the way.

    Remember, the whole Law can be summed up in one command: Love. This is the attitude, the heart of everything. This tells me: If I love the Lord, but don’t understand everything, I still meet the spirit of the Law. If I love the Lord, I WILL be eager to understand and to follow His will, and I will GRADUALLY grow in His Grace and His will.

    I see SALVATION as a process that starts with faith and ends with life in the flesh. Within this I see the CONVERSION as a process that involves hearing the Gospel, believing, repenting from sin, being baptized and filled with the Spirit, separation from the world and being added to the church (according to the pattern).

    One of my biggest struggles ithin the churches of Christ is the custom of immediate baptism (which is scriptural) without a sound conversion process (which is not scriptural). It is here we leave out important parts of the pattern of salvation.

    Alexander

  3. “One the biggest problems I have seen with every progressive I have discussed with revolves around whether there is a pattern in the N.T. or not. Some are willing to say there is no pattern. If that is true there is no sin, hence universal salvation.”

    No pattern=no sin?

    I don’t understand this. I

  4. You and me both, Tina.

  5. And actually I am not aware that any of us have said that there is no pattern. We do say that it cannot include things about which God says nothing.

    Cougan you are adding to God’s Word so you can hold others condemned for adding to God’s Word.

    Unless Jesus or the apostles told us something was a sin, it is not a sin. It may be unwise, unprofitable, untimely, not the best, but it is not and cannot be a sin.

    On the other hand to add to God’s given commands and then to bind those on your brother is expressly a sin because you have divided the Body for the sake of your own opinions.

    Again if the instrument is a sin then the building we meet in is a sin. No sound scriptural logic can condemn one while approving the other. The example we have in scripture is of Christians meeting in borrowed venues (the temple), in homes, or outside in nature. No authorization is found anywhere for a congregation to waste its funds which were intended to spread the Gospel and to care for the poor, widows and orphans on a building. Historically no congregation did so until well after the rise of the Catholic faith. I am very sorry but despite God’s grace, the sacrifice of Jesus, your faith in Jesus, your Bible knowledge, and baptism into Him and your other works of obedience through the Spirit He has placed with in you, you are going to hell and can never get out because you support the use of buildings which God never ever authorized and you have added to God’s pattern which is an unforgivable sin. So please repent and join us in our homes or under the spreading trees.

    Yes it is just that ridiculous, so leave your brother alone and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

  6. I am with Tina.

    ——-

    The pattern is Jesus – this historical Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Messiah – not any systematic construct extrapolated from scriptures nor is the pattern any historical period of the church, first century or other. There is not one verse in scripture that calls us to be disciples of the church (of any historical period) but there are plenty of scriptures calling us to be disciples of Jesus nor is there any such pattern that we are called to be disciples of.

    The supposed pattern – and that is what it is, a supposition – is then left for us to decipher. God was clear to Noah but apparently wanted to make it more difficult for us. Nonsense! God has shown us who we are to be and how we are to live as his people (church) and that is none other than Jesus Christ. Anything else is a subtle form of heresy.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  7. And I might add that sin (harmatia – missing the mark) is a failure to be who we were created to be and therefore, in light of God’s revelation in Jesus, sin is the failure to live as Jesus lived…so no, the claim that no pattern means no sin and results in universalism is a bogus claim that cannot be substantiated.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  8. Others have articulated a biblical pattern much differently than what Jay has aptly characterized as the 20th century Church of Christ version.
    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2010/03/18/vanhoozer-on-redramatizing-theology/
    But somehow I doubt that many conservatives will be able to get past their own pet version of ‘pattern’ to hear this…

  9. Todd

    You are right about our buildings. We spend millions on edifices that are under used.

    Not only that but our whole pattern of Church is diametrically opposite the first century style of worship and evangelism. Paid staff (Clergy), under used congregations( Laity).

    I find this whole conversation about patterns silly. The common member of any church would jave very little idea what you are talking about.

    Try talking about the narrow way that few be that find it. You all need to teach your congregations a class on Christ like living.

    Bob

  10. Cougan,

    It’s unimaginable to me that you believe the independent Christian Churches are damned over the instrument when you define grace so broadly as applied to yourself. You see, you’ve made a cappella music Step 6 of the Plan of Salvation. Mere faith in Jesus and penitence and baptism isn’t good enough.

    You admit that God’s grace for Cougan is —

    As [I] 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.

    Amazingly, when you pray “asking God to forgive me of things I have committed willfully and for those sins I am not aware of” God forgives you. When those in the independent Christian Churches say the same prayer, God rejects them!

    Now, it’s true that those in the independent Christian Churches can’t confess and repent of sins they don’t know to be sins, but as you’ve explained, God’s grace isn’t so restricted — at least not when applied to Cougan.

    You see, if Cougan has to realize every sin he commits is a sin, confess it, repent of it, and pray for forgiveness of that sin, well, Cougan is damned because NO ONE CAN MEET THAT STANDARD. But you feel free to apply an impossible standard to others. That’s a works salvation.

    You are put to a choice. Either damn yourself and everyone else on the planet by insisting that no sin is forgiven until he confesses it, repents of it, and prays for forgiveness of that sin OR grant that God is actually just as gracious to others as he is to you.

    Or you can do what no conservative has ever done: explain based on the scriptures how to decide which sins are subject to the “you are damned until you confess and repent” standard and which sins are continuously forgiven. I’ve asked a lot of conservative teachers to answer this one, and so far, they all quit the conversation rather than respond.

    I pray you make the choice the scriptures call us to and repent of teaching a works salvation. All you have to do is realize that God is just as gracious to others as he is to you. It’ll change everything.

    In fairness, I should explain why I say the “repent and confess” standard isn’t in the scriptures. The detailed explanation begins at p. 100 of https://jayguin.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/the-holy-spirit-and-revolutionary-grace.pdf

    More simply, the answer is found in —

    (Rom 8:26) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

    The Spirit makes up for our inability — the utter impossibility — to meet the “repent and confess” standard for every single sin.

  11. Cougan

    With the judgement you render on the ICC we could have nailed you for, many years ago, when we did not believe in paid located preachers and Sunday School. Where is your scriptural authority for either?

    My friend, the sword you swing is double edged it cuts both ways. You need to be consistent.

    I’ll bet you have never been to too many places outside Oklahoma or exposed to many very honest bible loving folks other than your brand of the Church of Christ.

    Bob

  12. Alexander, thank you for your comments.

    I am one who can answer that directly. I came to belive in the Lord Jesus in an Evangelical church of Mennonite background. We were instructed to make a decision and invite Jesus into our hearts and then confess to follow Him in baptism. So the act of repentance preceded the act of baptism – in my case the time-difference was 6 months and 2 days. (Actually the date of baptism was delayed a bit because I got the flue). And I was baptized by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus uopn my confessing Him as Lord.
    Let’s look at my baptism. Is it invalid, because I had an insufficient understanding of it?
    a) I confessed Jesus as Lord – that’s scriptural
    b) It was by immersion – that’s scriptural
    c) It was connected with a willingness to live as a disciple of Christ – that’s scritural
    d) It was based on Christ’s work on the cross – that’s scriptural
    But our church had a different understanding of baptism – so I had no other clue either.

    Since I do not know all the details behind your situation, I will have to make a few assumptions. The quick answer is no your baptism was not valid and here is why:

    Based on the fact that they told you to ask Jesus into your heart, which is a standard language of the denominations that teach that you are saved when you do that, the baptism you went through was not for forgiveness of sins it was just a pubic proclamation to show that you had already been saved, and in some cases the baptism is used to make you a member of their denomination.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins if you think you were saved before baptism. It is IMPOSSIBLE to baptized for the forgiveness of your sins if you did not know that is for the forgiveness of your sins. If you DO NOT have faith in the working of God that your sins are being removed when you are being baptized then you have only gotten wet. You cannot wake up one day and say, “you know what baptism is for the remission of sins, so that what is was for, well I guess my sins are gone now.”

    Here is what I do not understand, what is the big hang up with wanting to submit to water baptism especially in a case where you did not know for sure what you were doing. How difficult is it to humble yourself before God and allow yourself to be baptized the right way knowing what you are doing.

    1.

    What, if your understanding of sin and repentance deepens after your baptism? (I experienced that) Does that make your baptism invalid because you did not see and repented of every sin in your pre-baptismal life?
    b) This problem is enhanced by baptisms that take place within 24 hours a person applies for baptism – especially young people in a youth group that might follow peer pressure.
    c) A brother in our congregation has the problem, that (looking back) he was not really ready to follow Christ as a teenager when he got baptized and thus questions the validity of his baptism. What would you answer?
    d) Another aspect of baptism I consider of vital importance is separation from this world (see acts 2:40). Is a baptism that misses this point valid?
    e) In Acts 19 we see that baptism was followed by laying on of hands in order to pray for the Spirit to fill the convert. In Heb 6:2 laying on of hands is followed after baptism(s) as one of the basic things everybody should know. Is this a pattern we ignore? Does that make our baptism invalid?

    A. If you understood the basics as I presented in http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/07/dialogue-with-cougan-answers-to-questions/#comment-23979 about what one needs to know at a minimum to be saved then your baptism is valid. Everyone is going to gain a deeper understanding of their repentance and what it means, and they will also gain a deeper understanding of what baptism is all about. However, if you realize that they were taught wrong way about the purpose of baptism and discover that you were taught that you were saved before baptism or you were not baptized for the remission of sins then the baptism is invalid. How can any one claim to be saved before baptism when baptism is the point your sins are forgiven and washed away? Acts 2:38; 22:16

    B. First of all no one has to apply for baptism. If someone tells me they are ready to become a Christian, I do a quick study with them to see if they understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. Once I see they understand, they are baptized right away. The same concept is found in conversions in Acts. There was NEVER a delay because of the importance of water baptism. If someone is baptized because of peer pressure, they were baptized for the wrong reason and most likely their baptism is invalid. Each individual case would have to be looked at to make a fair assessment because while some may become a Christian by peer pressure, they may fully understand what they are doing and what it means, but were simply motivated to do it today instead of later. I have re-baptized (though baptism done right is one time event) people that were baptized at younger age, who began to doubt their intentions and what they understood about their baptism. They wanted to make sure they did it for the right reason.

    C. My answer, if there is any doubt in your mind, submit yourself to baptism the right way. It does not take long and is not difficult to do. If your baptism was valid the first time then you have just gotten wet the second time, but if your first one was not valid, the 2nd one will make it so. Either way, all your doubts will be removed and you can move on with confidence as you grace and knowledge of our Lord.

    D. No. This would be covered under repentance.

    E. The laying on hands in Acts 19 had to do with the Apostle Paul giving these men miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, which only an Apostle could do (Acts 8). Since there are no more Apostles living today the ability to pass on the miraculous gifts are gone. So laying on hands after one is baptism is not applicable today.

    Love is a key component in Salvation, but what does it mean that whole law can be summed up in one love. Paul tells us why this is true:

    1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
    When love is your motivation, you be moved to serve God and teach others just as the Scriptures command us to (Jn. 14:15). Also the commands that are given to us are given to us because God loves us. He does leave us to wonder what we are suppose to do, He tells us what He expect from us and He lifts us up and encourages us by showing His great love in the Scriptures. To love God does not mean that we just pay Him lip service, it means we are going to be doers of His Word, and we will enjoy every minute of what we get to do for Him.

    I agree with you that baptism is not the center of salvation and no one COC teaches that as far as know. Believing, repenting, confessing, and baptism are all equally important. However, you will hear baptism stressed more and more in the COC because just about every denomination out there teaches that baptism is not necessary for salvation, and they teach things like the sinner’s prayer, which is not found in the Bible.

    You said:

    One of my biggest struggles ithin the churches of Christ is the custom of immediate baptism (which is scriptural) without a sound conversion process (which is not scriptural). It is here we leave out important parts of the pattern of salvation.

    If immediate baptism is scriptural, why do you struggle with it? I am not for sure what you mean about sound conversion process because there is only a limited amount a person needs to know to be converted and understand that what baptism is for. Again, I outline the basics of what a person needs to know about becoming a Christian in the earlier link I provided.
    Alexander, what I am about to tells is because I concerned about you. Maybe you find it acceptable to gamble with where you will spend eternity, but I want to encourage you to be baptized again knowing that is for the forgiveness of sin. Why take a risk when it is easy to submit to water baptism. As Peter says it is an answer of a good conscience (1 Pet. 3:21). Make your election sure, so that you do not have doubt. Follow God’s plan of salvation today so you can make sure your on the difficult path that leads to heaven (Mt. 7:13-14).

  13. Cougan

    Answer my question? Your so quick to judge someone about baptism. Most of us were babes in Christ and did not understand the significance of what was done for us.

    Give me your authority for bible classes, paid located preachers, paid song leaders, and building to meet in.
    You can’t but you can pass judgement on others for IM and who knows what else.

    Preachers as the likes of you give the church it’s bad reputation.

    Bob

  14. Alexander,

    Based on what I read your baptism IS VALID because you were baptized with faith IN GOD and not faith in whether or not you had a perfect understanding of baptism.

    Ignore those who want to maek the object of faith their intellectual knowledge of the scriptures which they assume to always be correct rather than making God the object of their faith.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  15. Konastephen,

    Thanks for the links to Vahoozer’s presentations. I have read some of Vanhoozer before.

    I really like N.T. Wright’s Five-Act Drama/Story where by we have the first four acts (Creation, Fall, Israel, Jesus/Apostolic Church) and the end but are missing the fifth act and thus we, the contemporary church, must act out the fifth act of the drama/story in a way that is consistant with the character, values, and goal of the first for acts. This means that we are not to simply reproduce any of the previous acts which would be boring to the audience (the world) and result in the loss of their interest but live out the fifth act by the power of the Spirit which is different from the first four but consistant with the first four (and I would add, especially consistant with Jesus).

    See N. T. Wright “The New Testament and the People of God”

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  16. (on a Facebook Fast until April 3rd)

    I am sorry to throw in a somewhat random question without responding to specific points made, but as a general response, from a circumcised man who was happily baptised four years ago, whose son (much to my chagrine) was not circumcised nine years ago — I’d like to ask, if circumcision was an outward sign, mandated by God, of joining the People of God, in the Old Covenant — and Baptism is that New Sign in the New Covenant, then wouldn’t the same passage in Galatians 6:15 be appplicable if the word “baptism” were to be substituted for the word “circumcision?”

    “The solution isn’t commands — it’s a changed heart. Or as Paul says,

    (Gal 6:15) Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.”

    (I grew up knowing nothing of the church of christ of which I am now a part, having been baptised already while I still did not have proper vision. I smiled both four and thirty seven years ago, broadly.
    I smiled at my first “baptism,” probably because I was farting.

    I was probably taking a happy moment away from being pissed off about the circumcision a few weeks earlier. ;>)

  17. now that I reread it, my rhetorical question seems naive and annoying, so let me answer it by saying that I think I just unwittingly made a fairly good case against infant baptism and in favor of baptism by immersion (my son is also arguable the first person in my family since the evangelist Padraig arrived in Ireland to not be baptised as an infant) — but to frame it in a more pertinent way — as perhaps a “pre-teen” in Christ, did I receive the impartation of Grace in that ceremony, (sacrament??) which allowed me to participate in the Offering of my sin to God by Jesus in the Heavenly Tabernacle, or was it truly from the moment, a few years earlier, when I turned toward God and decided to Follow Him? I will forever cherish my baptism, but that passage in Galatians seems to indicate that it was that moral and salvatory choice to be a new thing which saved me. Still, I can’t say that I agree with the Sinner’s Prayer idea either, it seems too easy, and it seems to me that the early christians required an understanding of what a person was doing, culminating in that persons’ baptism, which would bring about Salvation in them.

    I wonder, Rex, what Bishop Wright would think of a more consistently living out the intent of Jesus and God, in the first four acts of the story, but not copying them — by no longer performing infant baptisms in this fifth act.
    I think he would balk.

    thanks for humoring this.

  18. Cougan,

    1). How old were u when u were baptized? (I was 10)

    2). U said u have a discussion with person before bapt them. Let’s say this person passes ur inquisition with flying colors. As walking to the baptistry, a plane crashes into building and kills the person. They were ready/willing to be baptized. And would have been baptized before the plane hit, had it not been for ur 30min query. Is this person damned? Don’t trouble urself w a long answer…10-20 words is fine.
    Bad typing I know, on my BB.

  19. Give me time and I will deal with every question posted in this thread. I am only one man with a limited amount of time. I have already spent way more time on here than I wanted to, but I am the type of person the finishes what he starts.

    For those of you keep saying Jesus is the pattern. That is fine. I hope you follow what 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.

    To follow Jesus as pattern is to keep the commandments/pattern in the N.T.

    For those of you who do not understand no patter = no sin.

    Think about this way. If there is not pattern/laws for us to follow the N.T. then there is no way we can sin because there is not a standard or law for us to go by.

    Todd I have ran across many progressives that say there is no pattern, while others like yourself holds to some form of a pattern. You can correct me if you are wrong, but you believe if you cannot find a command that specifically condemns a thing then it is acceptable.

    As far I know Todd, I have not added anything to God’s commands. Let’s put you next comment to the test:

    Unless Jesus or the apostles told us something was a sin, it is not a sin. It may be unwise, unprofitable, untimely, not the best, but it is not and cannot be a sin.

    This kind of thinking opens the biggest can of worms that can be opened. If something is not specifically forbidden, then it acceptable. No where in the N.T. does it specifically say that we can add hamburgers and fries to Lord’s Supper, so by your reasoning we should be able to make this addition and no one should bat an eye at it. The Bible does say the elders are overseers of the church, but it does not say specifically say that we cannot add a pope like figure. The list could go on and on. The simple truth is if we add or take away from what God has commanded then it is a sin. Just as adding the things to the Lord’s Supper would be a sin, since Jesus used the fruit of the vine and the unleavened bread, it would be a sin to add the instrument.

    If the Scriptures said something like, sing psalms, hymns etc with an instrument, then we would have what I call a generic command. Since this fictitious text just says instrument it would mean that we could use whatever instrument we want, but of course no such text exist because we are told to sing.

    In similar way we are commanded to assemble (Heb. 10:25). The where is not provided, nor is are details given of what time to assemble, how many songs to sing, etc… so this is a generic command. We can know that the specific place was not important because we see the Christians meeting in various places not to mention the fact the Jesus said:

    John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.

    To have a house or building to meet to assembly would fall under the generic command to assembly. To have a place to meet in is not a sin. Of course, some become poor stewards when they make the brick and mortar their focus instead of winning souls to Christ. One should always keep in mind the idea of being a good steward and doing things that are practical. Much forethought should go into any building project that is done. One cannot put having a church building on the same level as adding an instrument because no generic command exist that will allow instrument.

    Bob this answers one of your questions as well. At our congregation we do not have paid staff. Even our building cleanup is done by our members. Now I am supported by our congregation so that I can focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and it gives me more time minister to those who need help. The Bible authorizes a church to support me and also teaches that elders can be paid though I do know of any personally that are that are not preachers. You can see this authorization in 1 Cor. 9 for the elders in 1 Tim. 5:17.

    1 Corinthians 9:14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

    Bob the authorization for Bible classes falls under the command for the elders to oversee the church and to make sure the church/flock is being fed. Under this idea the elders can use their wisdom to make sure that all their flock is fed. Having Bible class for differing age groups so that the message taught can be better understood at their learning level helps them grow faster. While Bible class is not something that has to be done, I can certainly see the benefits of it and I can in no way see how learning about the Bible could ever be deemed a sin.

    I have never heard of a paid song leader before.

    Bob, I say bring out the two edge sword (Heb. 4:12). I have not set a standard for myself and another standard for someone else. We will all be judged by the Word of God (Jn. 12:48).

  20. Jay, I challenge you cut and paste from previous posts where I have not set the same standard in my quote for every person that has obeyed the gospel. I am beginning to think you are not reading my posts. I do not and will not set a double standard to the best of my ability.

    You have posted this snippet from a much a larger text in another post several times now, but have actual read it. Did you notice that I said that ONE infraction causes one to sin? Even if I am forgiven of a sin that I am guilty of committing unaware as soon as I commit it again the next hour or the next day, I have sinned once again.

    I gave as much detail as a could about those members in the ICC, but the fact remains they continue to sin every Lord’s Day when they use the instrument, just like a church would be guilt of sinning every Lord’s day if they made hamburgers and tea part of the Lord’s Supper. Yes, some of the members may be completely clueless of their vain worship, but many are not. They have chosen to justify their use by what God’s Word does not specifically say. If we can add musical instruments as way to worship God based on the silence of Scripture then we can just about add anything because there are many things that God’s Word does not say, “thou shall not use this or do that this specific way.”

    Again, the question should be what does God allow and give us in the pattern? Not, what can we get away with that has not been specifically condemned. This line of thinking reminds me of the serpent:

    Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

    In other words, God does not really mean what He says. Yes, he said sing, but do your REALLY think God will mind you adding an instrument. After all He approved its use in the O.T. What harm will it do? Don’t you want to be like David, a man after God’s own heart?

    Even if I could somehow convince myself that God would extend his mercy to the ICC and not count their continual use of musical instruments against them, it does not change the fact that using the instrument is adding to God’s Word, which is a sin. This is not a one time sin, it is a continuous one. Just look at the book of Revelation and the letters to the churches. Those that needed to make changes were told to repent or their lampstand would be removed. I cannot see that principle being any different with any church that continues to worship God in a way that is not authorized in Scripture.

    You said:

    You see, if Cougan has to realize every sin he commits is a sin, confess it, repent of it, and pray for forgiveness of that sin, well, Cougan is damned because NO ONE CAN MEET THAT STANDARD. But you feel free to apply an impossible standard to others. That’s a works salvation

    Jay, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were not paying attention to what you have said here because surely every sin I commit is a sin. What else would be? Jay I do not believe I have set up an impossible standard to meet, I believe I shown it is the standard the Bible has set. It is not impossible to do because we can continue to repent and pray for those sins we commit. As Jesus told Peter:

    Luke 17:3″Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”

    This is the same standard God has for us. We can continually be forgiven, but that forgiveness is not offered automatically without repentance and confession on our part.

    You say:

    You are put to a choice. Either damn yourself and everyone else on the planet by insisting that no sin is forgiven until he confesses it, repents of it, and prays for forgiveness of that sin OR grant that God is actually just as gracious to others as he is to you.
    Or you can do what no conservative has ever done: explain based on the scriptures how to decide which sins are subject to the “you are damned until you confess and repent” standard and which sins are continuously forgiven. I’ve asked a lot of conservative teachers to answer this one, and so far, they all quit the conversation rather than respond.

    Jay, I have shown the same standard for myself as I hold for everyone else. Will God show mercy on the Day of Judgment. Absolutely? Can I tell you how far that mercy will extend? No, I cannot, but what I can do is make sure I do everything in my power to love my God enough to continue to grow in the knowledge and grace of my Lord and to keep running the race of Christianity to the best of my ability. I must continue to remove the sin out my life and continue to transform myself to be more Jesus every day.
    Jay surely someone has answered your question before without running off. Maybe you did not like their answer, but I cannot image not one single conservative Christian not answering this. I have heard similar arguments from Al Maxey, and though I answered the question for him, he will still claim that it has not been answered. By the way Jay, you do a much better job a discussing the issue than he does. He would say very little, and just keep pointing me to this article or that article he wrote or would tell me to go to his website and do a search for my answer. While you have done that some, I really do appreciate the open dialog we are having in these threads.
    Ok, to answer you question, which I feel like I have already done, ANY command that you break, add to or take away from intentionally or unintentionally is a sin.

    1 John 3:4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

    Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death

    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.

    James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

    All these verses show that one sin brings about spiritual death. If one dies while in that state they would be lost and separate from God, if He shows no mercy. So, each command in the N.T. we break, add to, or take away from has the potential to make the difference between heaven and hell.

    To show seriousness of one sin I give you exhibit A.
    Simon in Acts 8. I presented this example in my last post. How many sins did he have to commit that required him to repent?

    Exhibit B.
    How many sins did it take Ananias and his wife to commit for the God to strike them dead?
    More examples could be given, but these two are enough to show the seriousness of sin.

    I can say with certainty that if you break, add to or take away from God’s commands you sin and if it goes unrepented and you die it can cause you to miss heaven. However, I cannot say with certainty how God’s mercy will play out because it is not clearly defined in Scripture. Based on the totality of Scripture, I know that mercy will be shown, but that is in God’s hands and I completely trust in His judgment. Some are willing to gamble with their soul and do things they know that God has not commanded us to do hoping that they can say on the judgment day, “Well, God you did not specifically say this or that.” I for one am not willing to test God, and teach the idea that if something is not specifically forbidden is Scripture that it ok for me to add it as part of my worship to God such as adding musical instruments, or saying that its ok to have women elders and preachers.

    For those of you who call yourselves progressives and want to take the law/pattern of the N.T. I hope that I am completely wrong and that ALL of you will be saved and make it to heaven. I hope that God’s mercy will be as broad as the road to destruction. However, as much as I would love for your various views to be correct, I cannot see them being true from my studies. My plea to you is to recognize that the N.T. is our covenant, which contains commands/patterns/laws that we must abide in to be saved. We have no right or authority to rewrite Scriptures to fit our needs. With love for God as our main motivation, let us get back to Bible, and live by it instead of trying to find loopholes that will mesh with our culture and society today. Let’s embrace the freedom we have in Christ and the power over sin and the devil He has given us, but let us not pervert this freedom into freedom from keeping God’s commands/pattern. Instead, let’s do what Paul said:

    Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints —

  21. JMF

    I was 20. It took me 3 years to be converted.

    JMF you have got to love what if questions. Your what if question could be reworded to include what if they were going to believe, repent, and confess. But let me answer your question. First, the Scriptures are clear that baptism is the point that one sins are forgiven, so if the person does not make it to the water the die in their sins.

    However, let’s just say for argument sake that God knows that person was headed to be baptized for the forgiveness of His, and God decided to make an exception in his case. The question become what does that have do with anyone else that had the ability to make to the water, but chose not to go? Absolutely nothing. Even if God allowed for an exception in RARE instances like this, that exception would only apply to those in that situation. As I said, I cannot find such a exception in Scripture.

    Great question!

  22. Rob Sheridan,

    Thanks for the good dialogue. I am not sure what N.T. Wright would say about infant baptism…especially for someone as insitant as he is to let scripture speak itself rather than through years of post-apostolic traditions. I am a believer/practicioner of believer’s baptism (immersion) and so I would not agree with the Anglican understanding of baptism.

    As for baptism being the sign of the New Covenant…I used to think baptism was to the New Covenant what circumcision was to the Old Covenant. But I no longer hold that view. I believe the Holy Spirit is the “sign/seal” that we belong, in New Covenant terms, to Christ. Paul describes the Holy Spirit as that sign/seal we were marked with when we were included in Christ (Eph 1.13). Thus it is the Spirit that serves as the identifying mark of who we belong to just as circumcision served as the identifying mark to show the Jew or Gentile proselyte as belonging to the Mosaic (Old) Covenant. This explanation seems to answer why in Acts 19.1-7 when Paul meets the disciples who had not received the baptism of Jesus, he does not discover their lack of baptism in Jesus’ name by asking them if they had been baptized but by asking them if they received the Holy Spirit – because the Spirit was the sign.

    Acts 19 brings up an entire host of other issues that are too numerous to address here. However it is interesting that Luke regards these twelve in Ephesus as disciples and Paul regards them as believers (literally “when you believed”).

    There is something about this that pertains to the wider discussion taking place. As I try to keep up with most of the commets, it seems as though one question that keeps being raised is “how do we determine a true believer/christian?” Some seem to locate the answer to this question in the degree to which one has rightly interpreted the scriptures, especially when it comes to scriptures regarding baptism and other aspects of church polity. But that seems inconsistent with scripture itself. First, according to scripture, Jesus told us that we would recognize the true from the false by their fruit (Matt 7.16). Late in scripture, we learn that good fruit, godly fruit, comes from the Spirit which dwells every believer (Gal 5.22ff). And here we are reminded that the Spirit is the sign/seal which marks us as belonging to Christ. So I suggest that rather than looking at whether or not we have certain biblical passages (and issues) correctly interpreted (which will determine our subsequent practice), we ought to look at the fruit being displayed in a person’s life to answer the question as to whether or not they have the Spirit and thus belong to Christ.

    Any ways…I hope I have helped the dialogue rather than hinder it.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  23. Dear Cougan

    Just a background info: I am neither progressive nor conservative (meaning traditionalist) but I strive to be faithful to the scripture without leaving out any ofthe patterns:

    I am in favour of a-capella worship (I say this as a musician and song-writer).
    I vote for using one cup only.
    I encourage the restoration of the headcovering.
    I teach about Biblical fasting.
    I believe in the pattern of footwashing to be followed.

    If anyone around he is a “patternist”, I think I am even more so. 😉

    So, coming back to the topic:
    Is the conversion a process or one time event?
    Is salvation about faith or about correct doctrine?

    I am convinced that conversion is a process. And would never say (in retrospect) that I was saved when I invited Jeus in my heart. That was just the beginning of a process. That was on June 27th 1987. I did it all alone as the sun was setting in the mountains of Austria at the side of a small chapel (very romantic). And I felt that God honored this simple faith although I lacked knowledge.

    The Spirit of God started working. I was hungry for the word of God as never before. I “devoured” the gospel of John in one day and the other gospels in the course of the following week. In summer I spent a month in England with my uncle and was challeged to obey God’s word rather than my feelings in submitting to my uncle there (I was only 18 back then). I experienced the guidance of God as he led me to a church to worship with (yes, it was a denomination, but fairly biblical) instead of going to the Adventists (the other invitation I got, and I could not tell the difference back then). On November 29th I was baptized.

    I consdider the conversion proscess completed at baptism. I think God honored my pre-baptismal faith and guided me to an ever deeper understanding of the gospel (which still is going on). I was saved on the basis of faith not of theology.

    An example, and a few questions:

    I translated the 13 proposals of the “Declaration and Address” and the “Last Will and Testament” into German.

    Do you consider these documents as being written by people who belived in God?
    Were these people filled with the Spirit as they wrote that down?
    Was their worship acceptable as soon as they separated from the denominations?
    Were they saved?

    Maybe that’s God’s business to decide, but what surprized me was that both Barton Stone and the Campbells were not baptized until a few years later.
    Stone (Last Will 1804 – baptized 1807), Campbell (Declaration 1809 – baptized 1812).

    Furthermore: Campbell was baptized by a Baptist, and his understanding of baptism grew afterwards. The conviction that it is for the remission of sin came afterwards. In Brush Run at the beginning not everyone was baptized, but all worshipped God together – was that acceptable?

    To my knowledge, Campbell was never rebaptized, and – since they were in fellowship with the Redstone Baptist Association – it seems that they didn’t rebaptize Baptists either.

    Did they not know the pattern yet, and were thus unsaved (Alexander Campbell included)?
    Was all their theology carnal, because they did not have the Spirit of God?
    Are the roots of our movement in the mud of our flesh?

    OK, of course we shall not treat the churches of Christ as a denomination that focusses on famous reformers; but when we use their hermeneutical principles (“Where the scriptures are silent, we are silent”-Campbell) then we should also look at their lives and spiritual stand before God; because we must not believe any teacher that comes along, but only those faithful ones that are sent to us by God.

    Another thing: In the years and centuries before the Restoration movement I actually know of no denomination that held to a correct understanding and practice of baptism. The Anabptists who restored adult baptism in the 1500s had a symbolic understanding and – watch out – mainly used sprinkling or pouring (as do the Amish and Hutterites today). Were they saved? If not: Where was the church in all these centuries? The church gainst the gates of heaven shall not prevail? The church with whom CHrist promised to be with until the end of the ages? Did Christ leave His people for a couple of centuries? Did the Holy Spirit leave this planet for a couple of centuries?

    The consequences of making the correct UNDERSTANDING of baptism a MUST for salvation instead of an obedient love for Christ, are pretty weird, aren’t they? And again: I consider myself by no means a progressive.

    Alexander

  24. How can something be a sin in the New Testament when it was practiced in the Old Testament (i.e. instruments)? If something is a sin, wouldn’t it be a sin across all time?

  25. Alexander, if you follow the arguments of certain Christians to their logical conclusion, they do believe just what you’ve said–that there were NO CHRISTIANS between the time of the first century, or whenever the great “falling away” from the faith occurred, and the time when “our hero”, Alexander Campbell, appeared and discovered that one needed to be baptized in order to be saved.

    Which means that a long list of people who did believe in God and tried to follow him the best way they knew how are lost, and all their faith in God was for naught.

  26. That’s a good question, Tina. I think, we sometimes assume, this is clear since we grew up in an environment of “systematic theology” (or systematized doctrinal traditions). Let me try to answer in a few different ways:

    a) Christ is the end of the Law. We can say, the New Covenant abolished the Old Covenant. Animal sacrifices have been replaced by the once and for all sufficient sacrifice ob the cross. Circumcison of flesh by circumcision of the hearts in baptism. and the like …

    b) Christ did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it. This means not one Iota will be taken away until the end; but he fulfilled it by bringing the Letter of the Law to the intention of the Law (or Spirit of the Law): “It has been said … but I say unto you.” This does not abolish but actually enhance the Law (making it binding in a spiritual way – and making the study of the Law very exciting).

    c) Nothing in the Law is literally binding, but we have to abstain from fornication, meat sacrificed to idols, blood and the meat of strangled animals. Period. That’s easy.

    d) We are to build our church according to the same heavenly pattern as the tabernacle – but not according to the tabernacle (!).

    So, that sounds a bit complicated. To make it worse:

    Is it forbidden to keep the Sabbath? No.
    But it is forbidden to make it binding!
    Is it forbidden to circumcize children (see Acts 21 – the church in Jerusalem under the leadership of James) – obviously not (and even Paul circumcized Timothy), but it is forbidden to make it binding.
    Is it forbidden to keep the dietary Laws? Of course not, but it is forbidden to make it binding.
    Is it commendable for those with a weaker conscience to keep the Law? Yes, because we should do nothing that violates our faith. But his application of the Law cannot be made binding for all.

    If a local assembly has brothers and sisters that still see it impotrant to (e.g.) keep the Sabbath and the dietary laws; it should not hinder them either.

    You can always do more than is necessary on a personal level! And even as a church in special circumstances: The church in Jerusalem was way different from a typical church of Christ, we would have considered them Jewish, maybe not even as brothers and sisters, but they lived in the shade of the temple and did just what Paul did: Becoming Jews to the Jews in order to win them for Christ.

    And Paul did not speak up against them. He did – however – use very strong words against teachers who wanted to make the Law binding.

    As for the instruments: If you want to use them, because they were used in the temple, then we have to be consistent and follow the other rules that are connected with the use of instruments. To be sure: That’s a step back into the old Law.

    We might ask a very self-critical question: Do we want to live by the Law or only by parts of the Law? May we pick and chose as to what we do and don’t do?

    The OT is a reflection of the Divine Will and Heavenly reality, and the church of Christ is a reflection of the very same Will and Reality. But the OT is on the level of “version 1” and we are on the level “version 2”. The differnce between these two versions is: Before Christ and after Christ. Both version are not the Heavenly reality, but we have to know where we belong, and what the differences are between the tabernacle and the church: E.g. We have an altar from which no one may eat who still serves the tabernacle (Heb 13).

    So, maybe that’s what makes the question of musical instruments a seemingly “never ending debate”. You may use instruments, if you please so – in private. But if I speak as a teacher in God’s church, I speak in the context of “version 2” and say: It is not part of “version 2”, so I will not allow or teach it as part of the church’s worship. Because this would make it binding for all.

    The same principle: You personally can eat according the the Jewish Dietary Laws, but we may not make this binding upon the whole church. Again the four points from the beginning:

    a) Christ is the end of the Law – and thus the end of the Jewish Temple-Worship with instruments.

    b) Christ fulfilled the Law by bringing it from the letter to the spirit – and thus the literal musical instruments are replaced by spritual ones (us regenerated humans).

    c) Nothing in the Law is binding – and thus the use of instruments cannot be demanded in the name of the Lord anymore.

    d) We are built according to a heavenly pattern – and there (see Revelation) the mention of golden harps (just as incense and the ark of the covenant) are clearly symbolic.

    So how can it be a sin? I would not use this word. But do we really want to miss the point and mix the different versions? I don’t think that’s what we really want …

    Alexander

  27. Cougan closely examine your answers, not for their content but for the pattern of your logic:

    “Since ‘a’ fits into category ‘b’ as a logical continuation of practice ‘c’ it is authorized. However ‘d’ is not therefore ‘d’ is a sin.”

    None of what you do to arrange these things is based on the Bible but on man’s law. You quote scripture to be sure, but no where in the Bible will you find “authorization” from God to arrange things like that. You are adding reams of commands and laws to God’s Word and binding them on others which is something the Lord expressly forbids. You are replacing a simple faith response to God with a codex of commandments of man’s divising which must be kept in addition to and in some cases regardless of what Jesus taught. Your soul is in danger, repent.

    And as far as my thinking opening a can of worms, maybe so, but you must blame Paul, not me. He opened the can in Romans 14 & 15 when he told each of us to figure this stuff out for ourselves and love those (brothers and sisters still) who disagreed with us. The apostles did the binding and loosing of sin. what they have bound expressly is bound. What they loosed is loosed. What they didn’t bother to worry about, I won’t bother to worry about.

    Oh and since there was lamb at the first Lord’s Supper, I don’t really have an issue with hamburger.

  28. For me it is not a question of sin or no sin, Todd. And I think my examples of what from the Law and how to apply the Law today were totally in line with Rom 14 & 15. We just have to discern between private matters: E.g. I keep the sabbath an you don’t, both is fine – and church matters: e.g. We are a Seventh Day CofC, and we expect every member to keep the Sabbath.

    Tina’s question, if I got it right, focusses on the question of sin:

    How can something be a sin in the New Testament when it was practiced in the Old Testament (i.e. instruments)? If something is a sin, wouldn’t it be a sin across all time?

    But that’s not my focus, at all!

    Still, if we are to justify instruments by going back to the Temple in the OT, saying: “It was no sin back then, so why ist it today?” Then I say, it is not a sin to use instruments today either, but in the same way as keeping the Sabbath or even being circumcized. It becomes a private matter. I sometimes sing to my guitar, too. I produced two CDs unsing a variety instruments. I am not afraid of them 😉

    It is not about sin or condemning each other. It is merely a matter of consistency – and I am totally with you, when you point to large church buildings instead of meeting in homes.

    I’d also say, that a church’s understanding of God’s will may and will always differ in a varying number of aspects. And that’s normal because we are to grow toward the full knowledge and unity of Christ. That’s the main reason why we hold to church autonomy, isn’t it? This cannot mean: “We are autonomous, but all er expected to be exactly the same.”

    So to make my point (and relax your fear for my soul a bit): I have no issue with churches that see it differently, but as for our fellowship and my responsibility to speak straightforward, I do have convictions. But not all convictions are essential for unity with other churches. The use of instruments definitely isn’t. But as a local congregation we have to decide on a mode and in this we strive to be unanimous.

    Alexander

  29. Ooops, I think you were referring to Cougan, Todd.

    But anyway, I think it was necessary to clarify my last post …

    Alexander

  30. Cougan

    My uncle who was a non class preacher for 65 years, would take you to task for your lack of authority for bible classes, I believe he was wrong just as you are wrong for condemning those who use IM.
    The Church of Christ has for years had many issues that they believed and backed by scripture, located preachers, one cup, bible classes, fellowship halls, contemporary singing, hand clapping, lifting hands and many more too numerous to mention. My father in law told me that when he was a child they met in a school building and arranged the seats in one row so the assembly would not be divide.

    Every preacher has his own set of do’ and dont’s which is good, just keep them to yourself.

    Your method of understanding the scripture has condemned 99.5% of Christianity world wide.

    As for the non class you should have many to talk to.

    Try Alex and Lindsay. Jerry McCorkle could give you something to think about if he is still alive. He is a gentle person with a degree in Nuclear Physics.

    You do a good job of defending your position and I commend you efforts. I pray that someday we will all be together on these many difficult issues.

    In Christian Love to a diligent young man.

    Bob

  31. Some want to say that anything that doesn’t square with their interpretation of the Bible is an “exception”(not in the Bible).

    People know that many of these instances are not rare, but happen everyday around the globe.

    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.

    A man who lives in Africa is sent a Bible in his language and he reads it and comes to have faith in Jesus Christ. 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.

    A Muslim comes to the U.S. and 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.

    A person sitting on a plane is told the gospel the first time and comes to have faith, the plane lands 10 hours later, before the person gets to a place where they can be baptized they have a heart attack and die. A person riding in a car in the middle of a dry land, they hear the gospel the first time from the radio and come to have faith, it takes them days to get to the city, when they get to the city they are in a car accident and die before they can get to where there’s water. Someone comes to have faith at a church, the baptistery breaks leaving no water, “uh oh! hurry run to the nearest river, Jesus’ didn’t do enough on the cross.

  32. Anon

    What about John Newton when he penned the second verse of Amazing grace “The Hour I first Believed” What if his ship had sunk. Would he have been lost?

    We and you would probably agree, things like this are best left for God to judge.

    You make a good point.

    Bob

  33. Anonymous,

    I understand the the exceptions you are mentioning and I even know of some myself. What are we to do? I think scripture overwhelmingly portrays God as an understanding Lord who is morally right and full of merciful compassion. Therefore I think we can entrust people, who come to faith in Christ but cannot continue in the normative demands of that faith for particular reasons such as you mentioned, to the Lord and not condemn them. Having said that, we all know that scripture is not dealing with the exceptions and therefore to try and base our theology/faith-practice upon possible exceptions will only result in missing what the scriptures actually teach.

    For example, we are taught in scripture that we are to care for the widows and orphans (Js 1.27). Is this teaching nullified because there might be some Christians who become physically and mentally impaired and are therefore unable themselves to care for the widows and orphans? Perhaps that example sounds absurd but I don’t think it sounds any more absurd than trying to nullify or reinterpret the ordinary and clear teachings regarding baptism because someone might be physically incapable of or prevented from being baptized.

    I don’t want to be a legalist with baptism or any other teaching of scripture but I think the opposite side of legalism is just as problematic.

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  34. Jay,

    Where is your response? When are you going to prove from Scripture that one can be baptized for the remission of sins without knowing it?

    As far as I know, I have all of your questions including the one that you said no conservative would answer. I have not run away and I have not gone anywhere. Now it is time for you to start answering questions. By the way, proving things from Scripture proves that there is a pattern for us to follow, otherwise we could prove nothing. This time why not be more specific and make some dogmatic claims from Scripture. While there are several things you have not dealt with specifically. I want you to answer the above question with clarity.

    I also want you to confirm or deny what the poster said your book said, which was something like yes you should be baptized, but if you are not grace will cover it. I would have to go find the exact saying, but why not lay out exactly what you believe in plain language about salvation.

    Do you believe that following MUST occur before one becomes a child of God and has their sins removed?

    Hearing, believing, confessing, repentance, and baptism.

    If you do believe the above is necessary is it wrong to say that this is God’s plan of salvation and that if we follow that pattern of this plan that we will be saved?

    Our whole discussion that has spanned across some 5 or 6 threads began with the question how do you justify changing the role of woman and saying that they can be elders in the church. While we may not be exactly where you would like to be in the foundation building process, I challenge you to explain how you can justify women elders/preachers by playing a culture card when the apostle Paul tells us that that role of women is not defined by culture. He says:

    1 Timothy 2:12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

    1 Corinthians 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

    Paul tells us why women are not take on roles such as being elder or being a preacher who preaches over a mixed assembly. He goes always the back to beginning and shows that has to with the order of creation, and he points out how Eve was deceived. In order for you argument for women elders to be true, you are going to have show where Paul didn’t really mean to go back to creation, but that he only meant the women of his time MUST adhere to the what was acceptable in their culture.

    Just as a side note. Just because man has been given this role as an elder and has the ability to preach to a mixed assembly does not make the greater than women. It is simply the role that God has given men and women to enjoy. Each of us should respect God’s wisdom and embrace the roles He has given us instead of trying to rewrite the roles when they have been established since the beginning of creation.

    Jay if you can show that women can be elders/preachers based on our culture, whatever you use will also make homosexuality acceptable because homosexuality has been spoken against before the Law of Moses, during the law of Moses and in the N.T. If our culture can redefine principles taught from the beginning, then you need to start teaching the it ok for man to marry man or for women to marry women because culture says it ok.

    I think its time you deal with this issue. I am ready for you to show me the weakness of my argument because I think this is another issue that you cannot prove from Scripture.

  35. This may relate to the discussion of how much a person needs to know about baptism for it to “count”:

    We had a couple show up at our church last week and they expressed their desire to place membership. Being a Bible-following church, there was one matter that I felt I needed to clarify before we allow them to become members.

    Me: Are the two of you married?
    Couple: Yes we are. We were married on September 1, 1977.
    Me: Tell me about how you got married.
    Couple: Well, we had what you would call a typical church wedding I suppose – best man, maid of honor. We said our vows before the preacher, exchanged rings, lit the unity candle. Afterward we signed the marriage license in front of the witnesses, and then we celebrated at the reception.
    Me: I need to ask you a very important question so think carefully before you answer – at what point during that process were you legally married?
    Couple: I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand what you mean.
    Me: What I mean is – at some point on that wedding day, you transitioned from being two single people to being a married couple. At what precise point in time did that transition take place?
    Couple: Well, I suppose it would be the moment when we said “I do” before the preacher.
    Me: So, you believe that if one of you died at any point in the ceremony after saying “I do” that the other one could have collected benefits for being a spouse?
    Couple: We never really thought about that possibility, but yes, I suppose so.
    Me: Well, you’re wrong! The law clearly states that a marriage is not legal until the license is signed by the preacher in front of the witnesses!
    Couple: That’s not what we were told. We were told……
    Me: Maybe you didn’t understand me. That’s what the law says! You weren’t married until that document was signed!
    Couple: OK, OK, we’re not going to argue with you about it.
    Me: Maybe you don’t understand the significance of what I’m saying.
    Couple: What do you mean?
    Me: You’re going to have to get married again.
    Couple: But we’re already married. What are you talking about?
    Me: In order for your wedding to be valid in the eyes of God, you not only have to have gotten your marriage license signed, but you had to realize that your marriage became legal at exactly that moment in time. If you didn’t realize that, then the marriage doesn’t count, and so you’ve been living together for the past 33 years.
    Couple: That’s the most ridiculous thing we’ve ever heard!
    Me: Obviously, you were married in another church. If you had been in this church, I would have explained all of this to you before the wedding ceremony.
    Couple: But we had the marriage license signed. What’s the big deal?
    Me: The big deal is that you thought you were married for 30 minutes that you really weren’t married. And that nullifies the whole process. You have to start from scratch.
    Couple: This is ridiculous. Never mind, I think we’ll be looking for another church.
    Me: Doesn’t surprise me one bit. People today don’t seem to have much regard for the truth any more.

  36. Alan…thanks. You make point in a very clear (and humorous) dialogue…or should I say ‘parable’.

  37. Rex, I know Christians with physical and mental impairments that help the poor, needy, widows, and orphans, many donate and give money to others to help, many help others by giving them jobs helping them or help them get jobs helping people they know, many help orphaned children they know about find homes with people they know, there are many things that help others.

  38. People who say there are exceptions among believers their theology says God regards other believers to be an exception to the rules they believe in. The COC denomination says it’s God’s plan, not plans, so which is it? How many plans are there?

  39. LOL! Alan, that is a very good illustration. I think most of us cradle CoCer’s are in trouble, since at the scriptural age of accountability (10, 11, 12 or 13 depending on who you ask), I wasn’t really sure what the word remission meant.

    The requirement that you have a certain understanding concerning your baptism or it is not valid seems to be a recent addition to the “gospel plan of salvation”. I wasn’t taught this in the church of my youth.

    What about those that have come to understand baptism differently after they were baptized for the remission of sins. Does it stand to reason that by changing their understanding either through study, prayer or both they have inadvertently invalidated their original baptism. What if they change their mind back to their original understanding would they need to be rebaptized?

  40. Rob,

    Paul never speaks of baptism as a work and never accords baptism importance equal to faith. For example, in Romans, there are chapters upon chapters about faith and just a few verses about baptism. More to the point, Galatians speaks about salvation by faith at length but has only one mention of baptism. However, it’s a significant mention —

    (Gal 3:26-27) You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

    In a book where Paul repeatedly condemns seeking justification by any means other than faith, he declares that we are sons “for” (gar)we have been baptized. The sense is something like “because” or “considering that” — compare 3:21, :26; :28. Paul would never say “You are all sons of God … for you’ve been circumcised”! He sees a logical connection such that baptism demonstrates sonship.

    And so while you could replace “circumcision” in Gal 6:15 with any “work of the law” — old law or new — baptism is not a work of the law. But then, neither is it “faith” per se, nor is it the gospel. Baptism is, I think, a gift received, not a work performed. And those who’ve received the gift are shown to be sons of God. But the receipt of the gift of sonship and the gift of baptism should ordinarly be concurrent.

    The important distinction is that it’s clearly wrong at a very deep level to turn baptism into a work — as many in the Churches of Christ do. Indeed, it’s a standard argument in the conservative Churches to argue that we are saved by both faith and works because, if that were not true, baptism wouldn’t be essential — assuming that baptism is a work and thereby destroying half the New Testament and creating a perverted theology.

  41. Rob,

    N. T. Wright favors infant baptism although he sees baptism as essentially equivalent to justification — as baptism is the moment when God (through the church) announces that the convert has been made righteous. He notes the obvious timing problem but also notes that God isn’t as constrained by time as we are.

    He’s right, I think, that God’s forgiveness happens in heavenly time and so doesn’t occur at a moment in our time. He’s wrong, I think, to find infant baptism a commendable form of baptism.

  42. Jay, do you believe all believer’s have to be baptized to be accepted by God that believers who are not baptized are condemned?

  43. Jay do you believe in multiple plans, a plan for some believers and another plan for other believers?

  44. Cougan,

    We are so far apart on the nature of our salvation — and even on the character of God — that even when I answer, you don’t understand what I’m trying to say. I’m not blaming you. But it’s a problem.

    My views on women and baptism are laid out in detail in online books.

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

    These respond to every argument you’ve made thus far. Yes, there are answers to your questions, and I’ve stated them very publicly.

    Remember, I grew up conservative and studied under conservative professors. I’ve read Goebel Music’s Behold the Pattern at least three times (it helped persuade me of the hopelessness of his point of view).

    But for you to understand my position on women or baptism, you have to understand my view of grace. Otherwise, the discussion would be a waste of your time and mine.

    I’m not saying it’s your fault — but the fact is that when I try to explain my point of view, you show no evidence of having understood anything I said. It’s not that you disagree that so concerns me, but that you don’t seem to realize the point I’m trying to make.

    For example, when I explain what “pattern” means in Hebrews based on the text, you don’t respond to the textual arguments at all. When I explain my views of God’s grace from Rom 5 and 15, you seem to entirely ignore the scriptures.

    You never engage the text. If my understanding of those passages is wrong, why is it wrong?? You simply toss in other arguments, but what you never do is discuss the meaning of the text.

    You are obviously very comfortable making all the standard conservative arguments — which most readers here have already heard many times. But you seem very uncomfortable discussing the meaning of the text in context.

    And if you’re unwilling to engage in a discussion about the text, this is all pointless.

    Now, to me, everything hinges on getting grace right. If one misunderstands grace, well, he doesn’t know God as well as he should. And if he doesn’t know God very well, he will naturally misunderstand what he says on other subjects.

    Therefore, all discussion of other subjects is futile if we can’t have a conversation about God’s grace first. And we can only discuss the scope of God’s grace by engaging the text itself.

    If you are willing to proceed with a discussion of the doctrine of apostasy (a great way to grapple with the scope of grace) though a study of the text, then tell me how you read Rom 5:8-10 in contrast to the view I expressed at http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/16/dialogue-with-cougan-the-plan-of-salvation-part-2/

    If you are willing to proceed down this path, then we’ll wind up talking about baptism and women — and it’ll be good conversation. But we can’t there until we build a common foundation.

    Which is your very argument. And you were right. We have to begin at the beginning. And our biggest disagreement has to do with how we’re saved once we’ve been baptized.

    By the way. Please consider this word of caution. You seem to routinely assume that for a Christian, if it’s sin, it damns. Therefore, you argue that someone using an instrument in worship is damned because the instrument is sin.

    But that argument doesn’t hold until you show — from the text — that Christians fall away every time they sin. And I don’t think the scriptures teach that at all — not even close.

    And that’s where we disagree.

  45. Jay, do you believe all believer’s have to be baptized to be accepted by God that believers who are not baptized are condemned?

  46. Jay, do you believe in multiple plans, a plan for some believers and another plan for other believers?

  47. Jay I would apprciate an answer to my questions to you. If you don’t know what you really believe just say so.

  48. What I fear, after reading these posts and these arguments, is that there really is a “one right pattern” to follow–but there are so many disagreements about what that “one right pattern” is.

    I am afraid that if I am wrong about what that “one right pattern” is–and if I have to exactly follow the “one right pattern” in order to be saved–that when I get before God on Judgment Day, then and only then will I find out whether or not I was following that “one right pattern”–and if I’m wrong, it’ll be too late to do anything about it by then.

  49. Alan,

    You nailed it. I’m working up an announcement for the Sunday bulletin right now. I’m thinking maybe I offer a volume discount on annulments …

  50. Anonymous,

    You’re being rude. And I’ve answered these same questions many times here — most recently in my discussions with Cougan.

  51. Jay, this is the first time I have asked you these questions. How is asking questions being rude? Please give me the respect you have given others here and answer my questions. Pretty please 🙂

    Jay, do you believe all believer’s have to be baptized to be accepted by God that believers who are not baptized are condemned?

    Jay, do you believe in multiple plans, a plan for some believers and another plan for other believers?

  52. Btw, Jay it is noticed how you so easily throw accusations rather than simply answer the questions. Again You have misrepresented me Jay.

    As I’ve said before, I know that many COCer’s come from an environment that has taught them that anyone who disagrees with your opinion is always wrong, and that environment has made it hard on COCer’s to love their neighbor when it’s not someone from the COC denomination.

    And again I’m not angry at you Jay, we all have shortcomings. I really do like you Jay 🙂

    Jay please give me the respect you have given others here and answer my questions.

  53. Anonymous,

    You first asked your question at 3:30 today. You didn’t even direct the question particularly at me. http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/17/dialogue-with-cougan-the-pattern-et-cetera/#comment-24782

    You then posted comments at 5:05, 5:13, 5:40, and 5:52 pressing for a reply, culminating in “Jay I would apprciate an answer to my questions to you. If you don’t know what you really believe just say so.”

    That is rude behavior, regardless of denomination.

    I am not fulltime blogger. I have a job, a family, and other obligations. I spent 3 hours today on comments that were posted before yours. Be patient.

  54. Jay I have not even made to your 2nd post yet. Why do you expect me to answer your Romans passages when I have not got there yet?

    Jay, you are starting to do some major deflecting. You will not or cannot answer my questions that I posed. I know you have written a long book on the various topics at hand, but I will say it again. I do not have time to read through all your books and find my answers that are buried within pages and pages of words.

    I told you can I do the same. I can point you to bunch of sermons and articles I have written on the topics at hand or I could even send the 200 page book I wrote on baptism, but that would be waste of both of our times. This is your blog and it says dialogue with Cougan. So, how about some dialogue instead of links and recommended reading. Most of the people that are reading your blog are not going to go read an entire book to find your answer to my arguments, they want to see them dealt with in concise manner right here in this thread.

    Men like Steve or Stephen, which ever the right name is, is wanting to see how to deal with conservatives like myself. It was certainly ok for you to ask me to answer questions outside the foundation we are building, but when you are asked to answer questions by me you avoid them. I even answered your question you seem to think no conservative has ever answered. By the way, I am counting you not making that claim ever again because it has been answered.

    Jay, unless your definition of grace means that you have the right to change God’s Word to fit our culture or that God’s grace says we can do whatever we want your understanding of grace nor my understanding of grace has absolutely nothing to do with the role of women or the fact the Paul teaches plainly that role of women are what they are because of creation and not culture.

    By the way, I did deal with the Hebrews text. Jay, I have been more than fair and have made my best effort to answer every question you have made, now it is time for you to be fair and start answering some of my questions instead of saying well you have to understand my position on grace before I can answer your questions. Do you see me setting such limits? No I do not.

    This is exactly what I was talking about in an earlier post that happens when I begin to discuss things with a progressive. I answer ALL their questions, while at best they might halfway answer a few of mine. Then they ask more and more questions and then refuse to answer any more of my questions unless I answer all their new questions.

    What do you say Jay. Why not stand out and be different from the rest. Answer my questions that I have asked in my previous posts and I will move on to part two of your discussion and give you my commentary on the Roman verses, and we can move forward about the grace of God.

    This is the point that most progressives will either start calling me names, which I do not think Jay will do, or say that I just not worth messing with because I actually want someone to play fair and answer some of my questions for a change.

    Perhaps Jay will break this mold, like I broke the mold by not running away and by answering his specific question he said no conservative preacher has answered.

  55. I’m sorry Jay if you take such offense to that.

    I was trying to ask you to answer my questions as polite as possible from a keyboard saying that I would appreciate an answer to my questions as I saw you answering other lengthy questions ignoring my short questions, I have seen people answer other people’s questions before stating that they didn’t know what they believed, and that answer was appreciated given that ignoring the question would be rude rude.

    When you saw I had aked my questions a couple of times, you could have told me you didn’t have didn’t have time to answer them and would come back later tonight or tomorrow to answer, I would have greatly appreciated that, you did have time to slam on me for asking questions.

    Anyhoo…I appeciate that you have said that you will answer me, I’ll check here tomorrow from time to time as I have the time, seeing my questions should be answered before anyone elses questions tomorrow following the order you give answers here. And thank you in advance.

  56. Sorry about the poor typing, I am a busy person too, but thought it was appropriate to reply. 😉

  57. Cougan,

    You wrote,

    You say:

    Obviously, we are to honor that pattern and obey the commands he gives us.
    But another use of “pattern” is found in Heb 8:5, where “pattern” refers to an effort to gain salvation by replicating God’s perfect pattern. The writer’s point is that it’s impossible for obedience to such a pattern to save, and so God has provided us a superior way through Jesus.

    On one hand you recognize there is a pattern for us to follow in the N.T. and even say that we are to honor the pattern and obey the commands he gives us. On the other hand you want to say that there is no pattern that we can follow or obey that will save. Instead we are to rest our hope on the superior way through Jesus.
    While this is an interesting idea, you cannot have it both ways. Either there is a pattern for us to follow or there is not. What do you mean that there is a superior way through Jesus? It sounds like you are saying, yes we should honor the pattern, obey the commands, Nah I am just kidding you couldn’t keep the commands if you wanted to, so just rely on God’s grace.

    Now, I argued that “pattern” means two different things in the two different passages. I explained with quoted text how I reached my conclusion. You accused me of contradicting myself — and did not respond at all to what I said about the Hebrews passage.

    I rather doubt that you even bothered to open your Bible to see whether what I said about “pattern” in Heb 8:5 is true. You see, conservative writers routinely quote this passage as though it says that copying a pattern is God’s path to salvation — when the point of the passage is that it’s impossible and so not at all the way to seek salvation. The whole point of the discussion, which continues into chapter 10, is that the effort to find salvation by copying a pattern proves the inadequacy and infereriority of the Law.

    It’s not that the Law is imperfect. It’s that the copy is necessarily inferior to the original. And that means the whole point of conservatives’ citing this passage for the notion that we are SAVED by copying a pattern means they’ve not read the passage well enough to follow the writer’s argument.

    I’m very happy to discuss the scriptures with you, but only if (a) we actually look at the scriptures together and (b) we start with step 6 of the “plan of salvation.” You see, I remembered from my childhood that my home church always taught step 6: “Be faithful until death” – meaning be faithful until you die (or Jesus sooner returns). I agree with Step 6. Exactly. What does that really mean?

    You and I have very different views on step 6. So we either continue this or not. But I’m only going to continue it if you’ll actually consider what I say about the scriptures in context and if we start with the scope of God’s grace after baptism. Because in my view, everything begins there. I realize you disagree and I realize you don’t understand what I’m saying. But you can either to at least try to understand my position or we can end this conversation.

    I understand your position very well. I’ve lived your position. I only ask that you try to understand mine. And you can’t declare me wrong until you understand what I’m saying — and you don’t.

  58. Jay I see how you like to focus more on answering questions from a COCer….nevertheless I am still patiently waiting for you to answer to my questions 🙂

    Jay, do you believe all believers have to be baptized to be accepted by God that believers who are not baptized are condemned?

    Jay, do you believe in multiple plans, a plan for some believers and another plan for other believers?

  59. Btw, I thought the smiling avatar is helpful to show my personality more so people won’t be so easy to throw accusations.

  60. Jay why did you answer other questions skipping over my questions? Here are the dates and times of the comments and your answers.

    Comment on March 19, 2010 at 11:52 pm Said:
    Jay Guin, on March 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm Said:

    Comment on March 20, 2010 at 3:04 am Said:
    Jay Guin, on March 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm Said:

    Comment on March 20, 2010 at 6:59 am Said:
    Jay Guin, on March 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm Said:

  61. Be patient.

    PS — I much prefer your new email address.

  62. Thyank you Jay, I’ll be looking out. 🙂

  63. Pattern. What kind of pattern are you talking about Cogan? The only pattern I see is to follow the straight and narrow road that leads to life. There will not be too many people who find it. The pattern to follow is shown in the life of Christ and is amplified by the scripture.

    Or are we looking for a cookie cutter type single pattern in which we are stamped out to be all the same.

    God forbid.

    Bob

  64. Anonymous,

    I’m really not sure what you mean by multiple “plans.” It’s not a biblical term. The 20th Century CoC view of “plan” is a five-step path to a one-time, temporary forgiveness of sins. It’s not entirely wrong, but it has some serious flaws.

    My own view is to first notice that the scriptures usually combine all the steps into one word: faith.

    (Mark 9:23) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

    (John 1:12-13) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    (John 3:14-18) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    (John 3:36) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

    (John 5:24) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

    (John 6:29) Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    (John 6:35) Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

    (John 6:40) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    (John 6:47) “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”

    (John 7:38-39) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

    (John 11:25-26) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    (John 12:46) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

    (John 20:31) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    (Acts 10:43) “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    (Acts 13:38-39) “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

    (Acts 16:31) They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.”

    (Rom. 1:16-17) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

    (Rom. 3:22-24) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

    (Rom. 3:25-28) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

    (Rom. 4:4-5) 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.

    (Rom. 5:1-2) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

    (Rom. 10:4) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    (Rom. 10:9-13) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    (1 Cor. 1:21) For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

    (Gal. 2:15-16) “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

    (Gal. 3:2) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

    (Gal. 3:22) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

    (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.

    (Eph. 1:13-14) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.

    (Eph. 2:8-10) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    (2 Thess. 2:13) But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

    (1 Tim. 1:16) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

    (Heb. 10:39) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

    (1 John 3:23-24) And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 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.

    (1 John 4:2-3) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

    (1 John 5:1) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

    (1 John 5:3-5) This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

    (1 John 5:13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    That’s just a few examples.

    If we remember that pistis includes the idea of faithfulness, we readily see how the author can consider “faith” to include repentance. None of these passages denies the necessity of a changed life that follows Jesus. That’s part of “faith” as John and Paul use faith. (James uses “faith” to refer to mere intellectual acceptance in order to refute the abuse of the teaching by others.)

    But we can be good students of the Bible and say that all with faith are saved. That’s what all those verses say. I think God was serious when he inspired them.

    Of course, there are also baptism passages that strongly suggest that baptism is required for salvation. And in the First Century, everyone with faith was baptized. But today, due to what I consider incorrect teaching, many with faith are baptized imperfectly — without immersion, before coming to faith, etc. And a very, very few come to faith and are never baptized at all.

    If the revival preachers from my childhood were right, these are those who were struck by a train on their way to the baptistry. It seems that in northwest Alabama, if you cross a train track on the way to the baptistry, you’ll get killed. Every time. (I insisted that my parents take the safest possible route!)

    Does God damn those who would have been baptized but for being struck by a train or being wrongly instructed on the meaning of eis or baptizo or “household”? Unquestionably. You see, God keeps his promises. He keeps all his promises. Always. And all those verses I just quoted say that all with faith are saved.

    So there’s just one plan: faith in Jesus. God intends that those with faith receive the gift of salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit at the same time they receive the gift of the baptism — by immersion upon a confession of their faith. That’s his desire and that should be the ordinary case. But the scriptures teach that God has never rejected anyone who came to him with faith[fulness]/penitence.

  65. Thank you Jay. I really do appreciate you taking the time to comment to me, time that you could have spent with loved ones, just knowing that….to me that means a lot.

    Grace and Peace to you 🙂

  66. Rex, Jay, thank you so much for your responses. As I previously mentioned, I grew up knowing nothin of the churches of christ (and was very frustrated when doing internet searches about them six years ago, one inevitably keeps running into the UCC, LDS, fundamentalist catholics and various urban storefront denominations.
    ( I was initally attracted to the Disciples movement, but one trip to the Park Avenue Christian Church ( http://www.parkavenuechristian.com ) freaked me out, even as a democrat and former atheist, in the bombardment of everything but the gospel, especially with how hyper-political and super-interprative liturgical they were, and how different from the Stone-Campbell ideals which I was reading up on, and very attracted to, on the net. I don’t think that they represent the average Disciples congregation, also because they are rich but failing as a congregation, but they were at one time one of the only voices of this movement in NYC.)

    Both of your comments shed a lot of light on my question, which was slightly rhetorical, but trying to strike at a deeper question I’d had about the “moment” of conversion, and both of your answers are ways that I never would have thought about it, but I am now more powerful in my knowledge of this, because of them. They are different, and yet, I think, both very right. (and by extension I was probably thinking wrongly :>}

    Rex, your idea of a “Sign”…of the New Covenant seems very scriptural and appropriate to me, and Fruits being a Sign as well. I think that this understanding makes a great deal of sense within the CoC understanding of these two concepts. It even seems to make sense that the Spirit being apparent to someone confronting a christian is a beautiful idea, if one that doesn’t always seem to be true. I love the idea of my conversion being apparent because my spirit, glowing out of me, being obvious to someone and indicating THE Spirit to them. this is the ideal which I should strive for, and I think that there is great Wisdom (a girl named Sophia) in the restoration movement concept that this was more apparent in the apostolic age. one of our teachers and evangelists (and the man who baptised me) used a metaphor of a cork popping on a bottle of champagne, in that it would gush out at first (the Spirit….in this case)

    the miracles and comeliness and zeal of converts would be immediatelt apparent to everyone immediately, …then….but sometimes not be quite as immediately apparent now.

    but it’s the “pattern” and ideal that we are to strive for, in keeping with Jesus’ teaching it that same way. We are to be willing to be martyrs, to give up everything, to believe in our ability to change people with our words, (Word) immediately. We should not ever have lust, or react in anger, we should be Perfect as our Father is Perfect. That ideal of the Holy Spirit, shown in our works, fruits and in this pasage even countenance or appearance…is beautiful to me.

    It actually goes against the Pentecostal view (which I have a very hard time with) even though a Pentecostal might think that you had argued their side wonderfully into my question — if your response were presented by itself, with no knowledge of you or your background.

    Jay, your response is extremely enlightening to me. I wonder if Saul would have thought that rabbis were Sons of God because they’d been circumcised and were learned. This would fit into his having such a drastic and immediate rejection of that way of thinking, an aspect which my house church in my livingroom was studying on Friday night in Acts 9.

    I honestly never would have thought of baptism as a work of the Law, or even a Work of God.
    (or circumcision, for that matter!) The concept of it being a “gift” is truly beautiful to me, it frames it, theologically, in a very different way. It means, to me, that in a narrative theology, God saw the necessity of introducing this act through John the Baptist, because it humans were ready for it — and to get nerdy on you all, it wouldn’t be violating the Star Trek Prime Directive not to introduce things into cultures that they were not ready for. The idea of connecting it to Sonship (and by extension Daughtership) gives it much more weight than it just being a public witness or a forgiveness of Original Sin. I guess that’s why infant baptism is important to me as a concept, because I think that there has to be both a moral choice and a “choice to be in the Family” neither one of those can be made by an infant.
    (i don’t fault my parents or any of my relatives or virtually all of the people that I grew up around for practicing it, though, there was historically also a genuine concern for the Souls of all of the kids who would quickly die in infancy…as a moderately pro-life and pro-baby dad I can dig the concern….I think all parents could if they thought it through. but in my theological reality, all unborn and born babies and all kids, (and all Developmentally Disabled adults) have the eternal luxury of Eternal Justification.

    ( that’s just Rob Sheridan Judgement, which I guess i’m not supposed to do…..but I think Yahweh is much more Just than Rob Sheridan)

    I am a bit perplexed of the concept of baptism as a Work. I’ve never thought of it that way, it doesn’t help any widows or orphans and I much prefer it (now :>} to be thought of as a Gift from God.

  67. If I could throw out a bit of positivity, trying to answer from my own perspective Rex’s question of “how do we determine a true believer/christian?”

    I think that Jay’s reponse to Anonymous — (Anonymous, you need to cultivate the Fruit of Patience, you are getting the theological and NT pattern canonical equivalent of free legal advice :>}
    is amazing and not just scripture-mining, but rather, I think, presenting a strong scriptural argument for a larger Body of Believers than any sect or movement within the churches of christ movement, an argument based on Faith rather than i-was-born-into-the-right-family-in-Tennessee………..

    (from that comment –)
    “My own view is to first notice that the scriptures usually combine all the steps into one word: faith.

    (Mark 9:23) “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”

    (John 1:12-13) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    (John 3:14-18) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    (John 3:36) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

    (John 5:24) “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

    (John 6:29) Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

    (John 6:35) Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

    (John 6:40) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    (John 6:47) “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.”

    (John 7:38-39) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

    (John 11:25-26) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

    (John 12:46) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

    (John 20:31) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    (Acts 10:43) “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

    (Acts 13:38-39) “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

    (Acts 16:31) They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household.”

    (Rom. 1:16-17) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

    (Rom. 3:22-24) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

    (Rom. 3:25-28) God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished-he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

    (Rom. 4:4-5) 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.

    (Rom. 5:1-2) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

    (Rom. 10:4) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

    (Rom. 10:9-13) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    (1 Cor. 1:21) For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

    (Gal. 2:15-16) “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.”

    (Gal. 3:2) I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

    (Gal. 3:22) But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

    (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.

    (Eph. 1:13-14) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-to the praise of his glory.

    (Eph. 2:8-10) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    (2 Thess. 2:13) But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

    (1 Tim. 1:16) But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

    (Heb. 10:39) But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

    (1 John 3:23-24) And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 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.

    (1 John 4:2-3) This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

    (1 John 5:1) Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.

    (1 John 5:3-5) This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

    (1 John 5:13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

    I say this because, as someone who was raised an outsider to the “correct doctrine’ of the churches of Christ, and someone who runs into many people who grew up in it, and are now aghast at the idea of being limited to it, but are very faithful christians, I would like to say that THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST ARE A TREASURE. like most movements, even movements of God, the personalities and quirks of Man quickly play a large part and can seem to dominate, but I think that overall they do not. the churches of christ are to me, not a remnant, but a Witness to the Body. which is made up of Believers, most of whom are in failing, disjointed or even misdirected churches. but 1500 years of mine and yours family, if your ancestors are from western europe, or longer if they were christians from the middle east, or somewhat shorter if they’re from Africa or Asia or native to the western hemisphere — were, if they loved God, their neighbor and Christ, and followed Him, Saved. (!)
    the churches of Christ shouldn’t separate themselves from that Body, but rather should be a true Witness of reform to it now, beyond a protest of what it had become. a return to what it could have always been.
    but contaning an ackowledgement of the very real spiritual lives of our ancestors, their struggles with salvation and God-following and dead kids and other religions waging war on them or asking them to return to their ethnic faiths. i think, within the Stone-Campbell ideal, there is both a revolutionary fervor and a desire to unite a Body without destroying it — because it was already there, but disunited and practicing the wrong way. I view the Restorationist ideal as a medicine for the Body.

    (sorry..more Rob Sheridan theology there….)

    lemme give ya one example of that, which has to do with an issue which was discussed in this thread —

    I am constantly blown away at the ability of the folks in my church, and the interns from Harding and ACU and other schools, who grew up in consevative churches of christ — TO SING!! and sing so beautifully, and with all sorts of complicated harmonies, and read vocal music, and the non-self-consciousness with which they sing —– especially the men. I grew up in an environment where my dad was the only dude who was singing loudly at our services, his baritone echoed from the cathedral-like walls of our church, it was embarassing to me. WHY??? It should have been normative. this requirement of participation in singing, without a designated musician and musical instruments, forced young boys and men to give a joyful song unto the Lord, it legalistically required them to be capable singers, even through peer pressure, i think. Something which I do not think should be a requirement…..and perhaps jamming with instruments should be left as a private endeavor, scripturally in worship…….but this singing loudly became the norm for young men, in a way which simply never happens in other churches. this is a treasure and a Witness to other christians!!!………..of what should be possible and even normative for all congregants.

    I have also been amazed at the dedication to learning the Way, not learning secret gnostic-type stuff — but the non-new-age Way of Jesus and its scriptural basis, is a similar Witness of the churches of christ. many readers of this blog would not know just how clueless of and uncaring of many christians in the catholic and protestant denominations are of scriptural debate.

    This is georgeous to me. It makes me happy, as a former atheist who, like many lawyers, (i am not one)was also a former philosophy major — to be a christian. yes, it should be accessible to the average man….but the average man can become a very learned man, in our modern society, in the teachings and ideals of God, today.
    (this is maybe why the Restoration movement became a movement when literacy started to become possible for many people — God saw an opportunity??)

    this is also a Gift of the churches of christ, to share with those who are still in the denominations and/or basking in the glory of hyper-emotional shallow pentecostalism or greedy blessing-demandings or repetitive liturgical luck-prayers…..

    so that is my amateur-theologian fairly-recent-convert-to-Yeshua Word (words)

    it is only meant to say that that this blog, the general idea of honest debate on scripture, and what the readers of this are doing as Followers of Him — is Beautiful to me.

    and, whether me, or anybody in particular likes it or not….it is………..

    Holy.

    rock on…….

    & Peace Be With You.

  68. “(Anonymous, you need to cultivate the Fruit of Patience, you are getting the theological and NT pattern canonical equivalent of free legal advice :>}”

    I don’t believe we have personally met. If we I don’t think you would not have said that. Many people that know me personally have said the exact opposite, that I don’t say what I’m thinking enough, that I shouldn’t let people walk on me, and that I shouldn’t let people take advantage of me.

    I have dealt with the COC denomination quite some time now, I have learned how they like to talk when discussing the Bible, I have seen different tactics they use in their discussions, many live to constantly bicker, and I have seen many hurtful things they have said to people who disagree with them, that was not fruitful at all. That is the environment many people from the COC denomination come from and how they are taught to be. Even when they have left such an environment many of those things are still there.

    Jay finally answered me and I expressed that I really do greatly appreciate the time he took to do so. And I explained to him that I wasn’t being rude or impatient, I mainly wanted my questions to be noticed and answered with the same respect he has given to others here. I had to explain asking short questions over and over and they finally got answered. So what was the point in you saying anything to me as you did.

    Again I want to express much thanks to Jay taking the time to give his thoughts on this.

    Jay, do you believe all believers have to be baptized to be accepted by God that believers who are not baptized are condemned?

    Jay, do you believe in multiple plans, a plan for some believers and another plan for other believers?

    From Jay’s answer I take that his answer to the first question is No, and his answer to the second question is No.

    There is not multiple plans, a plan for some believers – faith plus baptism, and another plan for other believers – faith. There is one plan of salvation, faith.

    Grace and Peace

  69. If we did I don’t think you would have said that.

    Sorry again about the poor typing, short on time.

  70. Jay, you are interested in continuing the conversation as long as your rules are met. I dealt with Heb. 8:5 already. You are the one that is missing the point that I made. The reason I used Heb. 8:5 was to show that God has ALWAYS had a pattern for us to follow. Moses had one and we have one. I am not in anyway trying to show that the old law is better than the new one. I argued just the opposite. For additional information on the pattern read the sermon I preached on the divine pattern at this link: http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/THE%20DIVINE%20PATTERN.htm.

    Jay, it is certainly your right to avoid answering my questions even though I have answered yours. You mentioned a few questions you would like answered that were in a later post that I have not gotten to yet. But you continue to HIDE behind this general thought, “Well, I am not going to answer you questions Cougan until you understand me and how I look at Scripture.”

    Jay, I think I have a good idea how you look at Scripture, but I will get a much better understanding when answer my questions with a dogmatic answer from Scripture. There are so many questions you have not dealt with that I have asked that I lost count. I am going to scan back through previous post and re-ask my questions that you REFUSE to deal with because I do not think can.

    How can a person be baptized for the forgiveness of sin, if they do not know that is for the forgiveness of sin?
    Did Peter make it sound like Simon’s sins would just be taken care of automatically with no effort on his part or would he have to repent and pray to God just as described in 1Jn. 1:7ff?
    How many sins did it take Ananias and his wife to commit for the God to strike them dead?
    I also challenged to cut and paste where I set a different standard for me and for those ICC as you accused me. Still waiting…
    How can you justify women elders/preachers when Paul says the reason women are not to have the role is because the order of creation?

    These are just some of the questions you have continued to avoid like the plague. You continue to boast that you are interested in dialog and claim how conservatives run away, yet here I am answering the supposed unanswered questions patiently waiting for you to be FAIR and answer my questions as well.

    I am more persistent than most, but since you continue to refuse to deal with my questions, I can understand why many of the conservatives do not continue a discussion with you. When one is more interested in making claims that no one will discuss the issues and wants all their questions answered before they will answer someone else’s questions, that is what you call one sided discussion.

    You could not even answer anonymous’s questions with a straight answer. You flipped flopped all over the place: You said:

    “Of course, there are also baptism passages that strongly suggest that baptism is required for salvation.”

    Strongly Suggest? Jay, either the Bible teaches that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins or it does not. God is not the author of confusion. He is not going to leave us wondering if baptism is part of His plan of salvation. If baptism is for the forgiveness of sins HOW can one have their sins taken care before or with out baptism?

    You then try to add confusion to the topic by saying that a person going to be baptized that is struck by a train or killed any other way on their way would be saved without being baptized. The Bible does not offer such a hope, but as I have already said, Even if God made a exception in a RARE case like this, it would not change the rules for ANYONE who is capable of making it to the water. Their faith ALONE is not enough, just as James clearly teaches:

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

    Though you played careful word games by saying people who have faith are saved, not even you have progressed far enough to say that one can be saved by Faith Alone unless you are willing to admit to that right now.

    I already know that you THINK a person can be baptized in the name of Jesus without knowing that their baptism is for the forgiveness of their sins and yet be forgiven of their sins, but answer these questions with a simple yes or no or with a BRIEF explanation.

    Do you believe that a person that has faith in Jesus and is willing to repent yet will not get baptized because they don’t want to will they be saved?
    Do you believe if a person believes in Jesus, confessing Jesus as the their Lord and repents, but is taught to ask Jesus into their heart and to say a sinners prayer to be saved will that person be saved? What if they are later baptized thinking that it just outward sign for an inward chain that expresses that they have already been saved; do you still think their baptism would be for the forgiveness of sins?

    Jay, I really hope you will answer my questions for a change. You already know I will answer all of yours. You have got what you always wanted, a conservative preachers to discuss the issues with you. The question is, will you take advantage of it or will you continue to ignore my questions and push me away until I disappear so you can continue to make your claims that no conservative will come on your board and talk with you.

    It is up to you now.

  71. Anonymous, I know that tone does not always come across well in text, but your tone came across and impatient and demanding to be answered, and suspicious of why you had not been.
    (I won’t quote it.)

    Your thanking of Jay came after I’d printed up thirty two pages of this thread (that’s exactly what it is before that if you print it up) and so I’d missed that when I wrote my little diatribe.

    Anways, that was off-the-cuff and not meant to be anything like an admonishment, more like an observation. Jay addressed it himself and you responded to that, but I do apologize for not being current with it, I would not have written that having read the previous few responses.

    “If we did I don’t think you would have said that.”

    my first thought was, “how am I going to tell my friends that I got jumped in an alleyway by an anonymous theologian on the internet?”

    but then I got what you were referring to ……..

    Grace & Peace To You

  72. Well, it looks like Jay is NOT going to break the mold. It does not surprize me. Oh well.

  73. Cougan writes:

    Jay, you are interested in continuing the conversation as long as your rules are met.

    That’s pretty much how it is at your house, too, I expect. When someone is in your house, you expect them to abide by your house rules, right? You, on the other hand, seem to expect to “have it your way” wherever you go. This isn’t Burger King, brother. Jay’s answered your questions – sadly, you don’t seem to have ears to hear.

    If baptism is for the forgiveness of sins HOW can one have their sins taken care before or with out baptism?

    Umm… the same way the sinful woman in Luke 7 had hers forgiven?

    The same way the paralytic in Mark 2 had his forgiven?

    Or are you unaware, Cougan, that there was a covenant process for forgiveness of sins in place at the time already that God in Jesus just bypassed? Where does the Law of Moses say that one can bypass the priests and the Temple and go straight to the Messiah for forgiveness of sins?

    I’m sure you are aware that Jesus can pronounce sins forgiven on his own authority and prerogative, so you must be ignoring it for some reason, or else you’d be asking a question you already know the answer to. Mercy triumphs over judgment, and a broken heart God will never despise. One who highhandedly rejects baptism (“a person that has faith in Jesus and is willing to repent yet will not get baptized because they don’t want to“) displays their lack of brokenheartedness.

    One who misunderstands Scripture is not in the same position at all. God still fulfills all his promises regardless of whether the penitent understands them all. The purpose of baptism is just as much to “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” as it is to get “into forgiveness of sins.”

    Does God give his Spirit to the penitent person who is immersed into Jesus Christ without knowing about the gift which is the Holy Spirit?

    Does God give his Spirit to the penitent person who is immersed into Jesus Christ while rejecting the doctrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit because they were taught to reject such a doctrine by a “word-only” evangelist?

  74. Cougan,

    Until you are willing to read and engage the biblical texts, there’s no point in our talking.

    I argued from the scriptures that you’d misread Heb 8:5. You ignored my arguments. I asked you to actually read Heb 8 – 11 to see whether I’m right. You responded with a zillion questions on other subjects.

    I’m not here to be cross-examined. I’m here to discuss the scriptures. If you are only willing to pose question after question, our conversation is over.

    But if you are willing to actually read, consider, and discuss the word of God as revealed in his holy scriptures, then we can go forward — starting with Heb 8:5.

    I’ve considered that passage in greater detail over at Wineskins. http://www.wineskins.org/filter.asp?SID=2&fi_key=318&co_key=2179

    I’ve now explained my thinking in considerable detail. Are you willing to discuss this passage in terms of what is actually written in text?

    It’s important, you see, because this is actually a very important text about how to read passages on the role of women and baptism — because it’s about God’s view of salvation through patterns.

  75. Jay,

    You know that I have answered all of your questions up to this point. No, I have not made it to part 2, 3, or 4 of your post because we are still discussing part 1, well I should say we were discussing part 1 because it has came to screeching halt.

    I took the time to answer the question you said no conservative preacher would answer even though it meant going beyond the first foundation we were establishing. In fact, if you had someone go back and keep count you would find how I have answered and dealt with way more questions than you have.

    Whether you want to admit or not I have been completely fair in our discussion. However, when things get a little too tuff for you, you hide behind statements like you have just made in your previous post. You do this so you can proudly say, “well, I tried, but he would not answer my questions, he would not try to understand my position therefore I must end the discussion.”

    Since you are so confident in the progressive position, what is so hard about answering the simply questions I have asked. They are not complicated, nor are they trap questions. To answer them will make your position clear. No one will have to guess at what you are saying. I have noticed that you will not answer simple questions with a simple answer. Instead, you will type out a lot of words without giviing a clear answer, and the one asking the question will say something like, “based on what you said, I assume your answer to my question is …”

    I know it probably does not matter to you, but I am disappointed in you. Again, I thought you might be different than the rest. I will say this, you at least you made attempt to discuss the matter somewhat, but when simple revealing questions were asked, you choose to deflect. What a shame. While you no longer can proclaim that your question has not been answered by a conservative preacher, I cannot change my claim yet about any progressive preacher or elder because you refuse to answer my simple questions though I have answered all of yours.

    I have already showed how I was using Heb. 8:5. The way I used it is completely legitimate. Giving you a brief commentary of Hebrews 8 – 10 will not serve much of a purpose. However, if you will answer the simple questions from my last post, you have my word, that I will go read your article that appeared in Wine Press and will let you know if I agree or disagree with what you said about those chapters in question and I will tell you why.

    You have no reason to doubt me because I have not failed yet to answer or deal with anything you have presented. As I said in earlier post, I have had to change the way have discussion especially with progressives because I have no problem whatsoever answering EVERY question posed to me, but when I do that, SO FAR I do not get the same respect, I just get more questions. So, I have to put down limits, so that people like yourself are forced to answer my questions as well. It is only fair, and you know it. The question is, are you really sincere about discussing the matter? I hope you are, but based on your past replies, I will not hold my breath.

    Let all who reads this understand that Jay is in control of whether this discussion continues or ends. I have not quit, I am not running away, I have not refused to answer ANY questions. IF Jay will answer my SIMPLE questions with a SIMPLE answer, his views will be easy for everyone to see, and then we can move forward, I can deal with Hebrews 8 -10 and whatever other questions or text s Jay wants me to look at.

  76. Nick,

    If someone comes into my house and asks me a simple question I would answer it. If someone came into my house and started cursing that would be a different deal.

    Nick you say that Jay has answered my questions, I would like you to prove that. Please cut and paste where he answered ANY of the questions in my last post.

    When Jesus was on the earth it is true the transition period between the law of Moses and the law of Christ that Jesus did forgive people of their sins by simply stating so. In order for you to bypass baptism you would have to still be in that transition period, but that is not happening is it Nick? Would it have been possible for the either one of the people you mentioned to baptized with the baptism Jesus’ commanded? Answer NO. Jesus had not even died yet and had not commanded it.

    You cannot take what happened in the transition period and try to make it apply to us because we are not in the transition period. This does not in anyway answer my question:

    If baptism is for the forgiveness of sins HOW can one have their sins taken care before or without baptism?

    To say that one can have their sins forgiven without knowing it or can somehow think they are saved without baptism because of ignorance and be saved is ludicrous. Have not read what Paul clearly states:

    2 Thessalonians 1:8 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,

    Just as there is no excuse that cause someone to be saved without baptism, neither will someone be saved without repentance:

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

  77. We are not better than the Hebrew Scripture Patriarchs, our performing obedience to His commands do not surpass their righteousness. Romans 3:9 “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.”

    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, Romans 4:2 “For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.” Abraham and others who had faith looking forward to the promise of eternal life through Christ who would save mankind, Christ was their salvation. We are all saved the same as Abraham through the blood of Jesus.

    Galatians 3:10-14 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

    Peter spoke the gospel to the Gentiles.

    Acts 10:34-43 “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ–He is Lord of all– that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

    Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit before they were water baptized.

    Acts 10:44-48 “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.”

    Peter confirmed that God accepted the Gentiles, the same as the apostles were accepted by God, giving both the apostles and the Gentiles the Holy Spirit, and neither was during water baptism.

    Acts 15:7-9 “Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

    I believe God is all knowing. I believe God Who knows everyone’s heart knows when a person has genuine faith.

  78. Brother Collins, or Cougan, I tryed to get in touch with you through your Church page but found no place for comments. Tryed to inform you, your time might be better spent with those who would even consider you might be right, because the people you are now speaking to have an agenda, and that is to destroy the Church of Christ as it has survived for many years. The will never be able to convince theirs is the right way by using scripture, so they claim scripture is not the last word in salvation. They claim instead that they are indwelled with the “Holy Ghost” who speaks to them and OKs whatever off the wall teaching is on their mind at the time. Any false “ear tickling” teacher is fine with them as long as he agrees with them. What the scriptures say does not matter, they have been replacet by the laws whispered in their ears by the indwelled spirit. The teachings of Jesus on the mount, were simply the fad of the day and do not apply today, because they have been nulified by their spirit. As nick said they still think they live in the transition period. Well you seem to have learned the hard way. may God have mercey, because thease people who call themselvs Christian sure won’t , as I said they won’t be satisfied until the church is completly destroyed

  79. Cougan–

    I’ll toss a couple thoughts your way, feel free to value my thoughts for exactly what you’ve paid for them. Let me first say that I give you props for sticking around and engaging, knowing that your belief pattern is going to be highly outnumbered. And I know it takes you a lot of time to produce your posts…heck, it takes me a lot of time just to read what all of you guys write! So I’m confident that I can speak for others when I “thank you” for your posts. As well, “rah rah” posts get tiresome, so it is nice to see the prevailing beliefs challenged.

    Thought #1:

    I’ve kept up with these threads, and I’ve probably heard you say no less that 100 times that “Jay needs to answer my questions.” I have no idea what your questions are. Are you still on the “women leader” question? That seems to be what you are stuck on. So that confuses me. Jay has told you multiple times that unless you were on the same page with HS/grace, you’d never come to the same grounds on Women. So he has suggested you read his books (HSARG and Buried Talents). You’ve repeatedly said that you are extremely busy and don’t have time. You could have read both books TWICE in the amount of time you’ve spent making these antagonizing posts. …And you might have actually learned something!! Either way, you’d at least have an understanding of Jay’s position, and then you could choose whether or not to take up arms.

    Thought #2:

    You have the style of the old-school COC debaters when you go about making your points/challenges. So right off the bat, you are going to make people defensive. And as someone that I assume looks at this task as the saving of lost souls, a more deft touch might be in order. Or you can expect to bear the same fruit as the hard-line debaters 1,2,3 generations your senior…a collapsing denomination. A conservative viewpoint does not mean that one must be harsh and antagonistic—but my personal opinion would be that this is simply the fruit of the HS not being alive in the words being spoken. Either way, I can assure you that your approach needs polishing if you expect to soften any hearts.

    Thought #3:

    You and Laymond might need to do some discussing on the HS, as from Laymond’s last post he seems to support a Word-only position, which I believe is in disagreement with your views. So I guess one of you needs to “mark” the other one, or visa versa 🙂 Time for somebody to be written up!! 🙂

    Thought #4:

    Again Cougan, (oh, I was just heckling you guys in #3), I appreciate your efforts. It makes for a good challenge. I’m not sure what you want to do with this, but consider that most (if not all) of us have come from the EXACT position from which you are arguing. Some of us (myself included) even more hard-line. Something has caused our thoughts to “progress”, which is probably worth investigating. For me, the most challenging things as a hyper-conservative were:

    1) An unloving spirit.
    2) Very little good done in the community as compared to other churches.
    3) A spirit of fear.
    4) Little desire to do good in comm/un-churched (IMO, a bi-product of the works mentality)
    5) Not bearing fruit.
    6) High incidence of mental/emotional problems (no statistics, my opinion…gurarantee I am right on this, though)
    7) Lastly, anytime I read the Bible myself…I came away with a WHOOOOOOLE differently picture of Christianity as compared to what I had learned my whole life through the old-school COC teaching. The Bible was so uplifting and positive, and made me want to get out and serve. Church was the polar opposite.

    I’m sure your congregation doesn’t have all of these challenges, and I’m certainly not asking you to defend these things. But as a guy that I can tell loves the Lord, these have to cause you a great amount of concern, as I’m confident you see these same problems. And what must be more concerning is that these things ARE happening in more progressive churches and many, many other denominations and comm. churches. So we (in the COC) have some real inward analysis to, since we claim to be “right” on everything, but our fruit sure is sour.

    Let me conclude by saying, if you are like any other conservative/debater type, your sole response will be: “show me one place where I said something that is scripturally inaccurate.” To say that would be to completely miss the point.

    Again, I seriously appreciate your efforts–though I often can’t agree with your conclusions. But I am confident to say that you aren’t lukewarm, which is (I feel) our greatest challenge as Christians. I’ll pray for you! Please do the same for me.

  80. JMF, I truly feel sorry for you if you were raised in the church that you described, and I can’t say I blame you for changing, I have been fortunate to have been associated with great people in the CoC .
    I admit all of my expereince with the church has been in Texas, West Texas, and North Texas where I live now. I have heard stories about the CoC of the south and must admit some are not very flattering. So when you and I talk about “The Church of Christ” we are probally talking about different churches. The church where we are members, do not play instruments in worship, and members do not act like clones, we have a mind of our own. we participate in many good charities, and have, actually recognized the Boy Scouts as a good thing it is not a requirement that we pledge alegence to the doctrine of the “Trinity” or the indwelled spirit or say we believe Jesus is really God. some believe in things that others cannot see written within scripture, but we all believe in and love Jesus as the Son of God , our redeemer and king, and hope some day to meet him in person, well some of us hope to, and others “know they are” and this fits the discription of any church I have been fortunate enough to be a member.of. Working and trying to be more like Christ. We believe if you have the opportunity to be baptized and turn it down salvation is really going to be a difficult task. we have attended two churches since we moved here in 1980 and have not noticed any change in that time, and we like it like that, and I believe I can speak for us all we don’t want anyone messing around with what we have.

  81. Laymond, for those in your group that do not believe that Jesus is really God, what is their understanding of John 1? Specifically John 1:1?

  82. Laymond,

    I agree, the mean-spirited attitude is not universal, thank goodness. But the whole “bear fruit” thing has got to be considered. IMO, an active Christ-centered church that is full of the Spirit should be growing…I might even say “should be growing a lot.” Not necessarily 3000 people per day, but hey, we know of at least one Christ-centered/HS-filled Church that grew at that sort of clip.

    But we aren’t even talking about small growth, we are talking about DECLINE. The conservative COC is declining, big time. What do we say about that? In fact, can anyone point to a conservative church that is substantially INCREASING in number?

    The typical answer is, “Well, maybe we are shrinking. (next comes a reference to Noah). But we are growing in Spirit.” How would that even be possible if you are Word-only on the HS? The only way to “grow in Spirit” would be to read the Bible more, right? So to “grow in Spirit” in 2010, you church would need to lengthen its worship services to provide time for longer Bible reading. Because without longer Bible reading/longer services, the Spirit growth would be limited to whatever it was in 2009.

  83. JMF said, ” an active Christ-centered church that is full of the Spirit should be growing…I might even say “should be growing a lot.”

    Who is to say the lord’s church is not growing just as he predicted, in Mat. 7

    Mat 7:14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
    I know the bible said God is not willing that any should be lost, but he also said many will be.

    Our little church has between 350 and 400 members at any one time and I don’t see much flux there, the fruit we bare is not necessarly seated in the pews.
    If as the progressives say it makes little difference how one worships, why not leave the conservatives alonebut they can’t do that I don’t understand why, does this indwelled spirit they say they have, drive them to continually strive to devide the church to conform to their beliefs. Where does it say only read the bible during worship service?
    Hbr 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.
    I believe Paul thought the scriptures were sufficent for salvation.
    2Ti 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

    Ask Jay about the make up of the church he is a member of in Alabama, I really doubt it is as progressive as Jay would like.

  84. Nancy, I won’t go in to what I believe about the Jesus is God doctrine, because Jay will be referring us to something he wrote years ago.
    But John 1 in no way said Jesus is God, It doesn’t even say Jesus was the word of God. There was no indivigual named Jesus in the beginning, as we see in the story of the baby Jesus. there was a spirit of God called the word, logos, by which the power of God was activated. and that power is what is spoken of in John 1. The power by which God created all things, created by him, for him.

  85. Cougan,

    You first asked me about the NT “‘pattern.” You cited two verses. I pointed out that the word “pattern” has different meanings in the two passages and that Heb 8:5 actually contradicts your central thesis. You accused me of being inconsistent — which is an absurd position to have taken unless you utterly ignored what I said. I repeatedly asked you to explain the meaning of Heb 8:5 in context, as you’ve obviously disagreed with my efforts to explain it in context. You’ve refused.

    I know of no way for us to discuss a passage if you won’t consider the context. And I sure don’t know a way for us to come to agreement on the meaning of the passage if you persist in your refusal.

    If you are not willing to consider the text and context of the scriptures that we disagree over, there is no point in continuing.

    However, you are doing an excellent job of proving what I’ve said at GraceConversation and here — the conservatives routinely cite verses out of context, refuse to engage in discussions regarding the context, and insist on changing the subject or making accusations rather than risk being shown to have been in error.

    This is, in my experience, entirely typical of the conservative Churches. It seems to be part of their ministerial and educational culture — a culture that can only exist in a body of churches where the preachers are the final arbiters of biblical truth and are never challenged.

    And it shows how such very false understandings of Bible verses can persist generation after generation. Students unquestioningly accept what their professors tell them, and no one reads the context to see whether it’s true. It’s a sub-culture of the Churches that’s intellectually comatose.

    It’s a very sad commentary on the state of the conservative Church ministry.

  86. Laymond—

    Good discussion. I want to address a couple of things you said, and I sincerely look forward to your responses. As a background, let me state that I am not educated in theology, and I hold no positions in my church. Basically, I’m not an educated “church guy” that will be writing based upon research I’ve done in the commentaries, etc. Strictly going from my reading of scripture, and what it means to me.

    LAYMOND SAYS: Who is to say the lord’s church is not growing just as he predicted, in Mat. 7
    Mat 7:14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. END LAYMOND

  87. …Let’s try this again….

    LAYMOND SAYS: Who is to say the lord’s church is not growing just as he predicted, in Mat. 7
    Mat 7:14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. END LAYMOND

    If you look on past that in Matt.7, we immediately come to the “bear fruit” passage, and next we come upon what I personally refer to as the most horrifying passage in all the Bible, the “some say to me Lord, Lord” passage.

    My analysis is this: when we are told that some say, “Lord, Lord, didn’t I prophecy and do works in your name” and the Lord says, “depart, I never knew you.” To my simple mind, this is an obvious continuation of the passage prior (bearing fruit). Those of us who have spent our lives “doing church” yet haven’t produced fruit may indeed be the ones saying, “Lord Lord.”

    But you started a few scriptures before this even with the “straight is the way” passage. Again, I’d say this is the prequel to what comes next (bear fruit, Lord Lord). It is funny how we in the COC have cited this passage (straight gate) to solidify our stance that only we will go to heaven. As if, the gate will only be wide enough to let us non-instrumentalists in. Obviously, my inference is as good as your inference on this (or anyone else), and my conclusion is that it isn’t the following of some specific pattern that will keep us on the “straight”, rather, the great equalizer is going to be “lukewarmness”. For me, that is the application from that scripture. There are probably many Christians in the world, but how many of us are actually “hot”? In my mind, that is what the “straight way” will be all about. Not whether or not you happened to be born into the correct denomination.

    LAYMOND SAYS:
    Our little church has between 350 and 400 members at any one time and I don’t see much flux there, the fruit we bare is not necessarly seated in the pews.
    If as the progressives say it makes little difference how one worships, why not leave the conservatives alonebut they can’t do that I don’t understand why, does this indwelled spirit they say they have, drive them to continually strive to devide the church to conform to their beliefs. Where does it say only read the bible during worship service?
    END LAYMOND

    So what kind of fruit is your church bearing? Is it quantifiable? Would I be able to see it? How about someone that is un-churched?

    I must say, the whole “leave us poor conservatives alone” line kinda threw me for a loop! 🙂 I can’t think of a single progressive church that I’ve ever known of to split. I know of people that have left for various reasons, but that should be expected. On the other hand, I’ve read countless articles by conservative brethren disparaging progressive brethren. I think we all have seen that there are also entire lectureships devoted to this. I’ve known of countless conservative churches that have split…let me rephrase…I don’t know that I can think of ANY conservative church that HASN’T split at some point! And it is usually caused by “liberals” like you…you wanting to use your multiple cups and what not! 🙂 Yes, the RP/CENI business is a breeding ground for splits.

    Back to the “leave us alone” comments, I admit, I am torn on this. On one hand I agree that the Christian tent can be broad, and if one wants to go to a “Chosen Frozen” church, that is up to them.

    But then I look at the fruit. The kids are GONE. My estimate is 90% leave the church…and it isn’t that they go somewhere else. They’ve been exposed to “soundness”, they know they’ll never measure up, guilt takes over, and they abandon faith. It is devastating.

    The ones that do stay/come back do so out of fear for themselves/their children. Their children will go through the same process. And even these that stay/come back aren’t doing so out of love (my opinion based upon fruit and conversing/knowing these people).

    So what is one to do? You see lukewarm people bearing no fruit. Living their lives from one “forgiveness prayer” to the next. They have unhealthy mental habits due to an unhealthy view of God. What do you do? (Seriously, give me an answer. I’m at a loss.)

    LAYMOND CONCLUDES WITH:

    Ask Jay about the make up of the church he is a member of in Alabama, I really doubt it is as progressive as Jay would like.
    END LAYMOND

    Jay can answer that for himself if he chooses to. If I had to speculate, I suppose he’d say, “Most of us agree on some things and disagree on others. And we are brothers. And we love each other regardless of the others’ opinions.”

    Let me finish with this: You might consider me progressive, I don’t know. Personally, I think I am really conservative…it’s just that i actually don’t think “conservative” is an accurate description of what we typically call “conservatives” in the COC. That being said, I believe they greatest misunderstanding between the conservatives (C) and progressives (P) is that the C thinks that the P want to do everything that we feel we have the freedom to do. I don’t think IM is sinful. I think God is indifferent about. If my church brings in an organ, I’d likely go to another congregation. Make sense? It’s NOT about always wanting to change things, rather, it is about our horrid pattern of CONDEMNING everyone that is different from us! That is my definition of progressivism. No more condemning based upon our inferences.

  88. JMF, instead of trying to find something we disagree on, just let me say, you and I think pretty much along the same lines as far as doing church is concerned.
    Yes we have differing thought of just what some of the scriptures say, but we don’t get in food fights at the table over it. Some of us are dead certian that the bible say “Jesus is God” and some of the older members are just as certian it plainly denys that he is.The same problem arises if the indwelled spirit arises.
    If you ask certian members if they believe in the “Trinity Doctrine” they will afirm they do, untill you make them aware of just what is writen in that doctrine. then you will get another version of just what the trinity means to them, which by the way is no where close to the creed written approx 400 yrs after Jesus death and resurection. as long as I have attended a CoC I personally have never heard a preacher stand before a congregation and preach a sermon on any of those three doctrines, and I don’t know how one can call them doctrines if they are never taught.No I doubt that you and I could find irreconcilable differences, that would cause us to not be willing to worship together.
    As far as my church being called conservative, I truly doubt we would come under that heading, but we don’t go around trying to change the way others worship.
    And about the size of God’s church, I was saying with God’s forsight he could have been right when he said few will find that narrow gate. If you think I believe everyone who claims CoC membership is heaven bound, and no one else is, you are wrong on both counts.

  89. Oh by the way as for the children in the church, we have quite a few, most come back to visit after they have gone on with their lives, Hey one of then even came home to preach, and is doing a fine job if I do say so myself.

  90. Laymond, what specifically is your objection to the concept of a triune God? When you write “…until you make them aware of just what is written in that doctrine”, what do you mean?

  91. Acts 17:11
    These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    So searching the scriptures to see if what we believe or hear is encouraged in scripture and as Christians we should also be ready to provide a reason for the things that we believe.

    1 Peter 3:15
    But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

    Nancy,
    The reality is that many Christians who accept the doctrine of the Trinity, also remain confused and even those who have a deeper understanding of it, will admit that they do not understand it completely when challenged. An answer you often hear is that the Trinity is hard to understand because God is beyond our thinking and understanding.
    (in other words they are saying Jesus failed at the work given him.)

    The Trinity doctrine basically says that there is one God.
    The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.
    Hence God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
    Three, but they make up one God. Each is co-equal and co-eternal.
    God is described as a class or family made up of these three personalities.
    (three indivigual but equal Gods that make up one almighty)

    If we consider all the scriptures that we have read then we must conclude that the Trinity is not only an inadequate way to describe God, but is actually a false teaching designed to take our eyes of the scriptures and place our trust in man-made creeds.

    Similar to the Theory of Evolution, the doctrine of the Trinity is based mainly on imagination and they desperately cling to any scripture that could even have the slightest possibility of backing up their thoughts. But in doing so they have gone off track with the meanings of the scriptures that they quote and change the truth of God into a lie.
    Trinitarians argue that the Trinity has always been taught by the Church and there was never a time that it was not. Of course they would say this, otherwise they would have to admit that it was an addition and therefore not a biblical doctrine nor a foundational one. But if the Trinity doctrine is not taught in scripture, then it is an addition. Now according to history, the original Nicean Creed included only the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit was added in decades later. So it seems clear that the theology was never always taught as they say, rather it developed over time and changed over time.
    If we claim to believe in something, as Acts 17:11 says devote enought time to find out if it is true.

  92. I’m confused Laymond, do you believe in God – the Father, God – the Son, God – the Holy Spirit then? Or no? I’m not sure from your post what exactly you are saying.

  93. Nancy, let me ask one question of you about what you believe. Do you believe in three Gods acting as one, or do you believe in one God seen as three, as the Father,and as the son, and as the holy spirit.
    If you believe in three indiviguals acting as one, you worship “three gods”. If you believe in one God seen in three ways, you have completly destroyed the trinity doctrine.

    I believe in the God of scripture, Jehovah/ God/ the creator. I believe in Jesus Christ, also from scripture, as the begotten Son, a servant of both God and man. I believe in the Holy Ghost as the power of God, also scripturally sound, first given to the Son by the Father, and later passed to those who closely followed Jesus, by Jesus after he had recieved his glory as the risen Christ.
    Although I can’t imagine what was ambigious about the previous comment, I hope it is made clearer by this one.

  94. I believe in ONE God, – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

    But, I’m still unclear about your specific objections. It doesn’t matter though, no need to attempt clarification.

  95. “Hence God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
    Three, but they make up one God. Each is co-equal and co-eternal.”

    Nancy
    This is what I find objectable in the creed. evidently Paul would have the same concerns if he had lived to witness it’s creation.

    1Cr 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman [is] the man; and the head of Christ [is] God.

    But you are right , it seems my attempts at clarification, are falling short.

  96. Laymond—

    I’ve heard these thoughts, but honestly have never given it much consideration. Thanks for giving me something else to chew on. I’m curious, what is it that you find so offensive about the opposing view? If I understand correctly, you believe in three separate entities, all holy, but all unique. If I saw them as ONE, then I’d be worshiping three Gods (according to your post at 8:35am).

    So are you saying that you only worship God, and don’t worship Jesus?

    Like I said, I’ve never put much thought into this. On the outset, I can’t see how it would really affect my relationship with God though. I’m sitting here considering both options, and neither would alter the way I view God or worship him…kinda like with all the evolution stuff, it is fun to toss around theories, but at the end of the day, I still have the same faith/love for God.

  97. JMF, It certainly does make a difference who you worship as God, and yes I do mean I worship The Father only, if he is good enough for Jesus he certianly is good enough for me. Jesus worshiped The Father only as God. what did he say to Mary at the tomb, tell them I go to my God and your God. seems to me he said there in only one God.
    Exd 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name [is] Jealous, [is] a jealous God:
    Isa 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.
    Isa 42:8 I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

    Mar 12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he
    Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.
    2Pe 1:17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
    Jhn 7:18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
    Jhn 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
    What did Jesus tell Satan when he was asked to worship him?
    No you worship a second God at your own peril.

  98. JMF,

    I have been sticking around to see if Jay would actually follow through or to see if he was just full of hot air. Unfortunately, the latter has bee true so far. I have CONSISTENTLY answered ALL of Jay’s questions including the supposed UNANSWERED question from ANY conservative preacher. So far, Jay continues to refuse to answer a FEW SIMPLE questions that will clearly define his position on salvation and the role of women. I do not even care if he answers the women elder question yet, but surely he can answer the other questions whether I UNDERSTAND his position thoroughly or whether I deal with Hebrews 8:5 to his satisfaction. EVERYTHING he is doing right now is nothing more the HIDING from revealing some simple answers that make it easy for others to see what it is he believes.

    I have hid nothing, nor have I avoided anything asked of me. You have not seen me offer ANY excuses for not answering his questions from Scripture. The only thing I could be accused of right now is trying to keep things fair by asking Jay to answer a few questions that are completely related to the foundation we were building. Yet, he continues to try spin things and say that I am the one refusing to answer things even though I have dealt with Heb. 8:5 several times now, and I have given my word to look his article at winepress and do a through review of it and tell why I agree or disagree with it, but that is not good enough.

    His accusations against me are false, and I have proven that by answering all his questions. I have caught him red handed in a false accusation in another post about what I said, and challenged him to cut and paste where I had said what he accused me of. Did he ever do it? No, he did not. Did he ever apologize for making the false accusation? No, he did not.

    I am still here, hoping and waiting to see if Jay will start discussing instead of avoiding simple questions that do not matter whether I understand his foundation or not.

    JMF here are my thoughts about your thoughts:

    1. You have greatly exaggerated that amount of times I have asked Jay to answer my questions. The questions I asked are clearly defined. I have no idea how you could miss them JMF. Despite what you think, I do not have time to read his books nor do I have to. Jay knows what his position is and can clearly state them in a few paragraphs. I have said it before, I could send you to my website and have you read articles, sermons, and books I have written on various topics, but I would not ask someone to do that before I would discuss something on a thread that is designed to be concise and to the point.

    If asking simple questions and trying to find out how Jay can teach some of the things he teaches from the Bible is antagonizing then I guess I will continue to be antagonizing.

    2. Everything you have said here is your opinion. I do not worry about who I sound like and do not expect to please every person. I just do my best to teach the truth. There were many things that Jesus said and did that many today would consider to harsh for one to say and do today, yet no one accuses Him or His disciples of being unloving or having the right motivation.

    If I sound like the earlier debaters or the like, it is a mere coincidence because I have not been to a preaching school where I was taught certain debating techniques. I am what you call a home schooled preacher. I went through a rigorous study of the Bible for over three years on my own. I did not go through a study course prepared by man, instead I set out on journey to prove or disprove what was being taught in the COC. You see, I was not raised in the church, and I did obey the Gospel until I was 20 years old. Once I became a Christian, I did not do much study for some time, but a false teacher came a long and started trying to teach me something different and so began my studies.

    So you cannot claim that I was brainwashed by a professor, nor can you say that I was influenced by growing up in the church. My ability to debate and present my arguments has to do with the talent that God has blessed me with. The bulk of my studies have come through much reading and studying of the Scriptures. In fact, I have found it amazing that some of the same arguments I have came up with have been used in one form or another by men that lived long before me, which proves to me that that same or similar arguments can be made be different people who study the Scriptures.

    3. I do not know who Laymond is nor do I know if I am disagreement with him. Right now, I am interested in Jay answering my simple questions.

    4. I could tell you many ways that I think have caused men like yourself to become progressive and to move away from what the Bible clearly teaches, but I will refrain from doing so. The only reason I would be interested in finding out what caused you to progress beyond the Bible is to better prepare myself not fall into the same snare.

    If you were experiencing all the problems you have listed, then I can understand why you started looking for something different, but I am afraid you have exchanged one extreme for another. 1. How could anyone call themselves a Christian and not have a loving spirit? If they do not, they have completely misunderstood what Christianity is all about. 2. I cannot speak for other COC, but our congregation is involved in the community. We help people in need, we played a very active role in the recovery process of a tornado that ripped through our town last year, I write a weekly article for the local paper, etc. We help with two different children’s homes, and we have made a significant contribution to help our fellow brothers and sister in Christ that are working hard in Haiti. 3. If you have a spirit of fear it because you have not understood the love of God. I preach lessons that show that we can be confident in our salvation and that we should not have a spirit of fear. 4. We have started a new program in which we personally hand out newsletters to our neighbors, so that we might set up Bible studies and lead people to Christ. 5. You are always going to have people in any congregation that are not bearing fruit as they should, but if no one is then that is a dead church. While I would love to see our congregation bear more fruit (as every congregation should), it is far from being a dead church as I have described above. 6. I do not agree with your opinion. 7. If the Bible is being preached than you should be just as inspired as reading the Scriptures yourself. Of course there are exceptions to this because if the preacher is not preaching on a topic you need to hear that Sunday, but then you go home and read something that applies to your life at that time, your reading will be more inspiring and motivating, but the opposite could happen as well.

    JMF, when it comes to dealing with different people from different backgrounds there are always going to be some kind of issues to deal with here and there because that is human nature. However, when God’s Word is preached and we are taught to respect its authority and to have confidence in the promises its makes, then our lives will be changed for the better. Those problems that crop up can be dealt with in a loving way.

    JMF I do agree with you that one of greatest challenges especial for us Americans living our comfortable lives is being lukewarm. I also think a great challenge we face is remaining true to the Scriptures and allowing God’s Word to be our guide. Many have taken on the attitude that God’s Word is more of guide full of suggestions instead of commands. This way of thinking did not serve the Jews well in the O.T. and it did not serve the Christians well in the first century, which is why have so many letters written to the churches telling them the things they need to do and things they need to stop doing.

    We have got to stop thinking that we are so important or that our opinions matter more than what God’s Word says. We should have the attitude of John the Baptist:

    John 3:26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified — behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!” 27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.

    I known that some would disagree with me and think that I am only in here to win an argument, but that is not my goal. My goal is for God’s truth to win. While I may not always use the perfect words, or sound just so, I am doing my best to fight for the Lord and His Word. I am here to warn the progressive that they have stepped beyond the boundaries that God has set, and they need to re-evaluate their interpretation of Scripture. I am here to show that Jay is teaching things that go against what the Bible teaches. I do not doubt his sincerity, but I believe he has become victim of his own progressive liberality.

    I say let my teaching and Jay’s teaching be put to the test by what the Scriptures say. Decide for yourself. Do not let me or Jay think for you. Think for yourself. That is all I ask.

  99. One other thing I forgot to say JMF. Thanks for your comments and for your prayers. I will pray for you as well.

  100. JMF, the following scripture doesn’t leave much room to worship any other but the Almighty God, does it?

    Mat 22:36 Master, which [is] the great commandment in the law?
    Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
    Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.

  101. Cougan’s words on grace for himself:

    As [I] 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.

    (emphasis mine)

    Cougan’s words on grace for members of instrumental churches:

    When it comes to independent church, we can look at Scripture and ask, What does God authorize us to do? This is the questions we should be asking instead of what does God not specifically say we cannot do? In another post, I will dive in deep about respecting the silence of Scripture, but for now I must point out that God has made it clear that He wants us to sing from our heart Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16. EVERY example in the N.T. shows how they understood these two passages because EVERY example we have is of Christians singing with their voice and NEVER EVER with an instrument. We know the instruments were commanded in the O.T. (2 Chr. 29:25) and if God had wanted us to use them, He would have commanded them to be used in the N.T. Since He has commanded us to sing, if we add the instrument to worship Him, then we are adding to His command to sing. If we add to a command whether willfully or out of ignorance, we sin.
    Without a doubt, we can say that when the independent Christian church continues to worship God with the instrument that they are worshipping God in vain and that using the instrument is a sin. It is not up to me to condemn anyone or any body of believers, but God’s Word teaches us that if a church or individual adds or takes away from God’s commands they are sinning and their lamp will be removed as spoken of the book of Revelation.

    (emphasis mine)

    Cougan’s message is that:
    A) Cougan’s sins and errors will be forgiven because he prays for forgiveness.

    B) The independent Christian churches will have their lampstand removed for their sins, although they’re just as baptized as he is and they pray for forgiveness just as much as he does.

    Jay did not lie, Cougan. He just doesn’t have time to rub your nose in your own self-contradiction.

  102. If Hebrews 8:5 shows that God has provided a pattern of worship for everyone, where was Adam and Eve’s pattern?

    Where was Cain and Abel’s pattern?

    Where was Noah’s pattern for worship? Sure, God gave him a pattern for boatbuilding – Noah was a Semitic vinedresser commanded to build an enormous seaworthy cargo vessel. But where was his pattern for worship?

    Where was Abraham’s pattern?

    Where is the NT pattern?

    I know where to go to find Moses’ pattern. It is clearly labeled and identified. Where is the NT pattern of worship laid out by God?

  103. On baptism, one can be baptized for any of a myriad of Scriptural reasons, without understanding them all, and still receive all the blessings that come via the means of grace known as baptism.

    Simply put, a drowning person can be rescued from drowning, from a shark, from an oncoming vessel, from entangling weights pulling them to the bottom, from cramps and muscle spasms. They can be rescued from any or all of those different things, but at the time they’re being rescued, they might only know that they’re grabbing on to a life preserver so they don’t drown.

    Likewise, a child can be inoculated against several deadly diseases. Will they catch German measles if they think the shot was only “to help them stay strong” and they don’t know exactly what the particular inoculation was against? In the same way, one can be baptized simply because they’ve learned that baptism is part of a God-loving life. They could read Galatians 3 and discover that unless they’ve been baptized, they haven’t put on Christ like Paul described. They could read Acts 16 and hear Paul tell the Philippian jailer that in order for his household to be saved, they need to be baptized.

    It is clear from these and other NT passages that “into the remission of sins” is neither the only nor the preeminent reason for baptism. It is one of many, any of which is a sufficient motive.

  104. Nick you have not rub my nose in anything. All you have done is taken part of what I have said and tried to make appear that I have set two different standerds, but the truth of the matter I have not.

    As I have said in some previous post, I will stand in the same judgement as the ICC because we will be judged my the Word of God (Jn. 12:48).

    For those who may be reading this for the first time I would suggest you read the entire statement made from which these quotes came from so that you can see the overall message. The first first quote comes from originally wrote at http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/07/dialogue-with-cougan-answers-to-questions/#comment-23979 with a date of March 9th.

    The second quote comes from http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/17/dialogue-with-cougan-the-pattern-et-cetera/ dated March 18

    Just to give you idea in case you do not want to go to the link and read the thread I will show what else was said in part starting on the next paragraph that Nick left off:

    This will be as good as a place as any to explain a little more about God’s mercy as I mentioned in previous post. The Bible gives us many examples of God’s mercy, and we can know that God will show mercy, but how much He extends is not clearly defined, so I cannot use God’s mercy as a guarantee, but I have no doubt that His mercy and judgment will be righteous.

    Could a Christian (as defined by the Bible) that is using musical instruments be completely ignorant of the fact that they are not authorized and possibly receive the mercy of God at the day of judgment? Perhaps, but I do not know for sure because again we do not know for sure how much mercy God will extend. However, while I have no doubt that there could be some Christians the remain ignorant of the fact that using an instrument is a sin, it does not change the fact that is a sin. Then you have another category of people who know that the Bible does not authorize musical instruments, but they justify them by saying that Bible’s silence on the matter makes them acceptable to use. You have some that use the instrument out of ignorance and others that do use them know full well the Bible does not command their use. Either way, sin is occurring and judgment will be given out.

    I would love for all those in the independent church to get to go to heaven despite their use of musical instruments, but based on what I read in my Bible, vain worship and self-imposed religion is not going to get one into heaven. Besides, the more grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord the less likely we are going to be guilty of sin done out of ignorance. As I said, Christianity is growth process and we are to continue to grow so that we become spiritually mature, but that growth never stops until we die.

    Even when we factor in God’s mercy for those sins we are unaware of and did not ask for forgiveness of before we die, we can know that God’s mercy will not change the fact that we sinned. Yes, we may receive a pardon for it, but we will have to give an account of what we did.

    I have no problem having the same judgment I have just made against the independent church used against me because I already know that I will be judged by the pattern as found in the N.T. (Jn. 12:48). I know that when I miss the mark by breaking a command by not doing something that I should have done that I sin, but I am thankful that I can go to God in prayer and repent and confess my known sins to God and know that they will be forgiven. I also feel confident that if I pray to God to help me see the sins I committing unaware, that those sins will be revealed so that I get that sin out of my life as well.

    Nice try Nick, but the context proves that I have not set a duel standard, which is why Jay was silent about the matter.

  105. Cougan,

    the extended quote adds nothing to the meaning given by the truncated quote, which is why I didn’t include it.

    I find it fascinating that you can say the following things:

    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.

    and

    Could a Christian (as defined by the Bible) that is using musical instruments be completely ignorant of the fact that they are not authorized and possibly receive the mercy of God at the day of judgment? Perhaps, but I do not know for sure because again we do not know for sure how much mercy God will extend.

    without seeing how they establish a dual (as in double, rather than duel, as in a face-off between enemies) standard.

    You are confident that God’s grace will cover your errors, so confident in fact that you “don’t worry about such things.”

    But you are skeptical that God’s grace will cover the errors of independent Christian church members.

    That is a double standard, and it is sad that everyone reading except you can see it.

  106. Nick said:

    If Hebrews 8:5 shows that God has provided a pattern of worship for everyone, where was Adam and Eve’s pattern?
    Where was Cain and Abel’s pattern?
    Where was Noah’s pattern for worship? Sure, God gave him a pattern for boatbuilding – Noah was a Semitic vinedresser commanded to build an enormous seaworthy cargo vessel. But where was his pattern for worship?
    Where was Abraham’s pattern?
    Where is the NT pattern?
    I know where to go to find Moses’ pattern. It is clearly labeled and identified. Where is the NT pattern of worship laid out by God?

    Heb. 8:5 is just one example of many that could be produced that shows that He wants things done in a certain way. Weather it be how to worship Him or how He wants us to treat others and live life for Him. He does not keep us guessing, He tells in Scripture what we need to do.

    The Scriptures do not tell us every single thing related to ever single period of time such as Adam and Eve. However, we are told that they had a pattern to follow in that they were not to eat from the forbidden tree. There were certainly things Adam and Eve were taught about God that we are not privy to and these things were taught to Cain and Able. Otherwise how would they know to make an offering to God? If God had not given them some instruction in making their offerings, then why God not respect Cain’s. There was pattern to follow, we are just not given that pattern. Whether use Abraham, Noah or even Job we can know that they all followed the pattern God laid out for them. Abraham followed the instructions of the Lord to leave His home and to go to a new place. Noah was a preacher of righteousness, which means he was preaching a pattern of some sort otherwise there would be no sin. Job, understood the power of sin, which means there was pattern in place. The N.T. pattern is obviously found in the N.T. and things we are to do in worship, treating others, and walking in the light is found throughout the N.T. God gave us brain so that we could read and understand what He wants us to do (Eph. 3:4).

    One argument that you cannot get around (as far as I can tell) If there is not a pattern/law for us to follow, then there is no way we can sin. If there is no pattern/law then every person no matter what they do are saved. If not, why not?

  107. Nick the reason I can say I have confidence and do not worry about such in my own life is because I know my heart, but I cannot speak with confidence about someone else because I do not know their heart, which is why I say PERHAPS.

    If I am living is some sin I am not aware of and I die in that sin, I am guilty of that sin no matter what. The only way that sin will not keep me from making it to heaven is by the mercy of God. I have no doubt that God will extend mercy, but how much I do not know. It could be that His mercy will not extend far enough to cover a sin I have been committing unaware and I am fine with that because I trust in God’s justice and His wisdom.

    I was not worthy to go heaven in the first place. Only His Son made it possible for me to have the opportunity to serve Him and try to influence and encourage others to seek after Him and to enjoy the hope of eternity in heaven. At the same time, I must also warn people about the danger of sin and how it can and will separate us from God. When the ICC adds musical instruments to their worship, they are adding something God has not asked for. Therefore it is vain worship and any alteration to God’s Word is a sin.

    I for one am not willing to test God’s mercy by adding musical instruments, changing the role of women, etc..

    So, I do not have a dual standard Nick no matter how much you try to proclaim that I do. I cannot make it any clearer. God does not show partiality, He has given us all the same standard that we will be judged by, His Word (Jn. 12:48). If you want to keep falsely claiming that I am using duel standard, go right ahead because it not true.

  108. However, we are told that they had a pattern to follow in that they were not to eat from the forbidden tree.

    No-No-No. We were told they had a command to follow. You assume that pattern and command are the same things. In fact, all your reasoning requires it. But building a big house on a weak foundation doesn’t magically make the foundation strong. No, a command is a command. A pattern is “a plan, diagram, or model to be followed in making things.” In fact, Adam and Eve were given the opposite of a pattern. They were told to be fruitful and multiply (they weren’t given a plan) – to subdue the earth (again, no plan) – and to eat of every tree in the garden except one (AGAIN, no plan). Now, if that was a pattern, they would have been required to eat of every single tree except the one forbidden. They didn’t and weren’t condemned for not doing so.

    There were certainly things Adam and Eve were taught about God that we are not privy to and these things were taught to Cain and Able. Otherwise how would they know to make an offering to God? If God had not given them some instruction in making their offerings, then why God not respect Cain’s?

    The fact that patternists cannot answer that simple question staggers me, when the Hebrew writer makes it so plain. “By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice.” The patternist reads that and says, ‘God must have revealed a pattern of worship to them, because ‘by faith’ must mean ‘according to the pattern.’ Scripture nowhere records or even suggests that God requested, required, or demanded sacrifice from Cain and Abel. Why didn’t God respect Cain’s offering? Because it wasn’t by faith – it wasn’t done out of loving loyalty. Patternists believe that no one will want to give a gift to the one true Creator God unless that God demands it. The very first sacrifice story shows that that is not the case – if we read it as it is actually written, and not by jamming “certain things Adam and Eve were taught about God that we are not privy to” into the story.

    Noah was a preacher of righteousness, which means he was preaching a pattern of some sort otherwise there would be no sin.

    Patternism again! Righteousness = adherence to the pattern? Where is that written?

    Righteousness = loving loyalty to the one true God, whether he reveals a plan or just says Go? That is what Scripture calls righteousness. When God reveals a plan/pattern (as in the sacrifice of Isaac), the righteous follower is bound to obey it. When God does not reveal a plan, the righteous follower is bound by the character of God revealed in the Scriptural narrative (or in personal experience in the days of the patriarchs).

    For the law [pattern] was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known [exegeted Him]. (John 1:17-18, emphasis mine)

    Jesus and the apostles have revealed a pattern for getting into the covenant – Faith (which includes hearing) & Repentance (which includes confession) & Baptism. Staying in the covenant follows the same pattern. Beyond that, the revealed pattern is Jesus Himself, the one who made God known. We are told to imitate Jesus. That’s the whole of the plan. Sin is lawlessness IF a law is present. But Romans 1-2 make clear that Gentiles can sin even without the law of God, because their sin is against the revealed character of God.

  109. Nick,

    The N.T. is clear on what baptism is for:

    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 ….

    1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us – baptism …

    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.’

    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,

    As part of The Great Commission Jesus commanded:

    Luke 24:46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    Nick if anyone is guilty of trying to go back to way of the Law of Moses it is you. You have this idea that something can be done to someone and then they learn about it later. This is EXACTLY how Jews did things with their children. They became a child of God by being circumcised on the 8th day. Then they were taught about God and what their circumcision meant when they were old enough. Well, during the N.T. it is just the opposite because now we learn first so that we know what we are doing and make the choice for ourselves. This is EXACTLY what Jeremiah prophesied about:

    Jeremiah 31:31 ” Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — 32 “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 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. 34 “No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

    The main point behind baptism is that is for the forgiveness of sins. If someone does not have that basic understanding then there is NO WAY they can be baptized for the forgiveness of sin. There is NO WAY a person can put their faith in the working of God knowing that their sins are being washed away in baptism if they do not understand that.

    Using your examples we could baptize our babies or very young children and explain to them later that there is no need for them be baptized because they were already baptized. Or from an earlier example I used, we could trick or denominational friends into going swimming with us and dunk them under the water and then tell them they have be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and make them right with God without them knowing it.

    With your line I thinking we could teach someone that Jesus was real and have them believe that He was real, but not necessarily believe that He was raised from the dead and it would be ok because we could teach that bit of information later. There is no limit to this way of thinking, so let us stop trying twist things and realize that a person needs to understand that baptism is for the forgiveness of their sins otherwise it will not be.

  110. Cougan,

    Nick the reason I can say I have confidence and do not worry about such in my own life is because I know my heart, but I cannot speak with confidence about someone else because I do not know their heart, which is why I say PERHAPS.

    You know your own heart – and that knowledge gives you confidence??? Neither David, nor Jeremiah, or Paul ever makes that claim. In fact, they all claim that they do not know the depths of their heart, which is precisely why they a) pray for the God who does know their to reveal what needs to change, and b) why their confidence is rooted in the working of Almighty God, not in their own self-knowledge!

    It is not self-knowledge that gives us confidence to stand before God.
    blockquote>For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:12-16 ESV, emphasis mine)

    Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:19-23 ESV, emphasis mine)

    Cougan, how can we continue to have a conversation about anything in the New Covenant when you fundamentally misunderstand the source of our confidence? You say you can confidently speak of God’s grace unto you because you know your heart – I say I can confidently speak of God’s grace unto all who possess a repentant faith because of the Working Word of Jesus Christ.

    Our positions are very different.

  111. Cougan, can you put the John passage (John 12:48) that you cite into you own words? Feel free to use the surrounding verses too.

  112. The main point behind baptism is that is for the forgiveness of sins.

    I do not believe that assertion can be proven from Scripture. The main point behind baptism is that, according to Jesus, baptism fulfills all righteousness.

    What is required is for the baptismal candidate to know that God wants them to submit to baptism. This precludes your foolish arguments about tricking people or immersing people who cannot decide to submit to God.

    If I ask someone, “Why where you baptized?” here are a series of potential answers.

    A) for forgiveness of sins
    B) to receive the Holy Spirit
    C) to put on Christ
    D) because God wanted me to
    E) because I wanted to be saved

    You are teaching that B, C, D, and E by themselves (or even B, C, D, and E together) are not enough knowledge without A.

    I agree with you conceptually about the difference between the Old and New Covenants. You could be born into the Old Covenant. You know God before you choose to enter the New Covenant. That’s one of my main arguments against infant baptism. But knowing God and knowing that baptism is the normative method for getting into God’s forgiveness of sins are two different things.

  113. Nancy—

    Regarding your post at 12:42…did you intend to direct that to Cougan, or should that have been directed to Laymond? I’d hate for Cougan to spend an hour answering a question that was mistakenly directed towards him.

  114. Cougan cited it (in his post at 12:04 today). Maybe others have cited it too. When I read the whole chapter – since I don’t like to read just one verse – I wondered which words? Anybody is free to respond.

    And, yes, you’re right JMF, a few simple sentences will suffice. Please don’t take days composing a response. LOL!

  115. That is funny Nancy! When u posted about John 12, I went and read, and thought it was applicable to what you, me, and Laymond posted on yesterday (three Gods, one God). Didn’t even notice that Cougan cited it. Oh well, I’ll slink over into the corner and mind my own business! 🙂

  116. JMF, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this passage too. It has come up in several discussions. Seems to me with all the cites, it is a worthy discussion to engage the text and figure out what “the very word which I spoke will condemn him” really means. Jesus’ words begin in verse 44..maybe those are helpful.

  117. Maybe go back to John 12:37 and see if the meaning is more clear.

    What say you?

  118. Jesus uses similar words in John 3.

  119. Nick you are really confused on what I was saying. The source of my confidence is God, but I am also confident that I am living my life in accordance with God’s Word. I know that I fight the good fight of faith on daily basis. Do I always do the right thing every time? No, I do not, but I am always ready to learn from my mistakes and get up and continue my journey down that difficult road that leads to heaven (Mt. 7:13-14).

    Please do not accuse of me of thinking that knowledge by itself will save me because I would never teach or think that. Everything we have available to us is only made possible by God, but if we want to accept what He has offered, we must continue to live an obedient life by keeping His commands.

    1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

    Nick you and I are going to continue to disagree about the baptism issue. Baptism is considered to be an elementary principle of Christ (Heb. 6:1). Jesus said we are to preach about the forgiveness of sins (Lk. 24:47). I find it inconceivable that anyone could preach Christ and not preach that He died for our sins that if we want to have our sins forgiven we must obey God’s plan of salvation, which includes being baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).

    Since we are to know what we are doing to accept God’s saving grace as opposed to the Jew who was born a child a God (Something you agree with) proves that we must know what baptism is for.

    How could one know that baptism is the point that one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit WITHOUT knowing that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins?

    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.

    Do they some how skim past the part of this verse that says what baptism is for and jump to the Holy Spirit part?

  120. Nancy I have written a book on John. So, let me cut and paste what I wrote about that section of Scripture:

    John 12:44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 “And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. 46 “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 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. 49 “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 “And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

    Jesus summarizes His teaching and points out when we believe in Him, we believe in the Father who sent Him. When they saw Jesus, they were seeing the Father, which is same thing that Jesus told Philip in John 14:8-9. Jesus was the true representative of the Father, and He explained this many times throughout His ministry. He and His Father are one, and everything that Jesus did and said came from the Father. Whenever someone believed in Jesus, they believed in the Father, and when someone did harm to Jesus it was the same as if they did it to the Father.

    Jesus was sent into the world to be its savior and not its judge, but the words that Jesus spoke will be the words that we will be judged by on the last day (2 Cor. 5:10). We have control over our destination. We can choose to live according to God’s Word or we can live how we want to. One way will get us to heaven; the other way will get us sent to hell. There are not going to be any judgments made from a human perspective because they will all be based on the Word of God. If a person will take the time to learn the Word of God and live by it, there will not be any surprises on the Day of Judgment.

    Jesus is teaching us that the words He spoke came from God and not from man, which is why He can claim that ever word that came out of His mouth was by the authority of the Father. If we refuse to live by the doctrine Jesus has left us, then we will lose the Father and the Son (2 Jn. 1:9).

    It is also comforting to know that we have a similar relationship with God because when people do good or bad things to us when we are doing things in the name of God, it is just like they are doing it to Jesus. Jesus gives us this idea in Matthew 25, which is same way we should feel about one another (1 Cor. 12:26).

    To see the entire chapter go to this link:

    http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/John%2012.htm

    Or to be able to see the entire book, just go to http://www.lgchurchofchrist.com/sermons.html. You find the links to each chapter or you can download the whole think in pdf format. Just scroll down and keep looking to the right and you will see it.

  121. “The main point behind baptism is that is for the forgiveness of sins.”

    Nick, said
    “If I ask someone, “Why where you baptized?” here are a series of potential answers.

    A) for forgiveness of sins
    B) to receive the Holy Spirit
    C) to put on Christ
    D) because God wanted me to
    E) because I wanted to be saved

    You are teaching that B, C, D, and E by themselves (or even B, C, D, and E together) are not enough knowledge without A.”

    Nick, are you teaching that B,C,D, or E, can happen without “A” being first?

  122. Cougan, I have never heard Jn. 12 explained better, just like I have explained it many times 🙂

    I am going to try to make time to read your book on the apostle Jesus loved.

  123. “Nick, are you teaching that B,C,D, or E, can happen without “A” being first?”

    Yes. That’s exactly what I’m teaching – because they all happen at the same time – none of them happens first.

    If a believing-in-Jesus, repentant person is baptized for any Scriptural reason, they receive all the blessings of baptism.

    We obey commands – you can’t obey a blessing that comes through the command.

  124. “Do they some how skim past the part of this verse that says what baptism is for and jump to the Holy Spirit part?”

    Cougan, have you read the entire Bible?

    Do you know everything the Bible teaches?

    Why not? did you somehow skim past some parts?

    Obviously, that’s precisely what can happen, although the fact of the matter is that very few people get baptized because they read about it in the Scriptures.

    Most people get baptized because they hear the Gospel from someone. Now, in our tradition, the word Gospel MEANS “baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” That’s why people get in trouble for saying, “My friend got saved last night!”

    “No, they obeyed the gospel.” I can’t count how many times I heard that little correction.

    But when you listen to Jesus and the apostles, and you learn that the Gospel is King Jesus, Son of David, the Crucified and Risen Lord (Romans 1, 1 Cor 15, cf Acts 28), it is possible that someone would come to faith, pledge to give up their old life, and ask to be baptized… all before getting to the lesson about forgiveness of sins. It is especially possible if their teacher believes there are more important things to the gospel than forgiveness of sins.

  125. Nick, God put forth an orderly plan of salvation, repentance, baptism, forgiveness, added to the church.— not in reverse order.

  126. Laymond, is that the order you believe they occur?

    Salvation – Repentance – Baptism – Forgiveness?

    Or did you mean to say that God put forth an orderly plan of salvation: Repentance – Baptism – Forgiveness?

    Where did I say that salvation occurs in reverse order from what you’ve written? I’d love for you to show me that quote.

    No, what I said is that forgiveness-receiving the Holy Spirit-putting on Christ all happen at the same time, whether you know about them all or not. The blessings of baptism are not a la carte.

    When you are baptized into Christ, you get every blessing God has promised, whether you’ve mastered baptismal theology or not.

  127. Cougan as promised I began reading your thought on John, I have a problem with your intrepretation right away. I left you a note at my blogspot blog if you care to comment go to the following address. just copy and paste. if not that is OK as well.

    http://laymond-meredith.blogspot.com/

  128. Nick I put a comma where a period should have been.
    You are a pretty smart guy, I believe you got what I meant.

  129. Which is why I dealt with what you meant rather than what you wrote. Are you going to ignore it?

  130. Nick, I am not saying there is a waiting period, between baptism and the blessings, what I am saying is you will not receive those blessings unless you have been forgiven of the sins, that will deny you those blessings, now you draw your own conclusions, which comes first forgiveness, or the blessings brought with that forgiveness. Yes I think the most important thing to teach about baptism is it washes away your sins.
    and makes you clean so you can receive the blessings associated with it . Washed in the blood, of the lamb.

  131. and that is where we disagree.

    From our human perspective, it looks like forgiveness of sins is THE big deal. However, forgiving sins is pretty easy for God to do. Jesus spoke them forgiven right and left.

    From God’s perspective, I believe the gift of the Holy Spirit is equally important. For the mission of God, God wants portable temples traveling the world as aliens and sojourners, reconciling the world to Himself. When God moves in via his Spirit, he purifies the temple.

    The most important thing to teach about baptism is that God desires it. Everything else is secondary.

  132. Nick, I only have the human perspective. You see that is all I am. And I can’t read God’s mind.

  133. Jay Guin wrote: “The important distinction is that it’s clearly wrong at a very deep level to turn baptism into a work — as many in the Churches of Christ do. Indeed, it’s a standard argument in the conservative Churches to argue that we are saved by both faith and works because, if that were not true, baptism wouldn’t be essential — assuming that baptism is a work and thereby destroying half the New Testament and creating a perverted theology.”

    As a conservative, I am continually amazed to hear what some conservatives supposedly believe. Yet, it is always hearsay with no documentation. I would be glad to write to anyone who advocates what has been quoted above, to attempt to teach them in love, but I have never heard of such a thing. Pardon my skepticism. I suppose a solitary individual could be found who believes in any given heresy, but they are not likely to be truly representative of any significant group of “conservatives” or “progressives.”

  134. Most Churches of Christ teach that we are saved by faith and works and not faith only. The standard proof text for this is James 2:24. A simple Google search for the phrases “church of Christ” and “not faith only” will direct anyone to several examples.

    I worshipped at churches which were not only conservative but also non-institutional for years, and I was once very conservative. I assure this view is common.

    In fact, I still find James 2:24 to be a compelling argument for the traditional Church of Christ position. Even though I am a progressive now, I have not rejected the idea that some works are required even though I find the idea difficult to reconcile with some other passages.

    I find Jay’s thoughts on the matter very thoughtful and I do not feel that they are an attack on me nor on conservatives.

  135. There is no verse in the Bible saying “we are justified by faith alone”. Actually it was Luther who inserted the “alone” (that isn’t there in the Greek) in his translation of Rom 3:28. This “alone” ist still there in the modern revision of Luther’s translation.

    I think he added this word in order to make a point that was very dear to him in his struggles with Roman Catholicism. But it actually led Protestantism to a different extreme. Because it didn’t fit to his theology of “sola fide” (by faith alone) Luther would have kicked the letter of James (“an epistle of straw”) out of the NT canon. In the Luther-Bibles you won’t find Hebrews or James where you would expect them. Luther rearranged the order of the epistles and put the letters of Peter and John before the letters of Hebrews, James and Jude (which he disliked). Again, the order has not been changed back in the modern revisions of Luther’s translation.

    Although you don’t use his Bible (it’s German), American Protetsantism is as deeply influenced by his teachings as the Germans are. And it is creeping in among us, because the Evangelicals do a lot more publishing and outreach than we do. There is no German publisher that produces restoration-based biblical literature – all we have is from Evangelical background.

    To say it plainly: The only verse that contains the words “justified”, “by faith” and “alone” is found in James, and this verse also has a “not”. This is about souls not about words.

    Alexander

  136. Nick said; “From our human perspective, it looks like forgiveness of sins is THE big deal. However, forgiving sins is pretty easy for God to do. Jesus spoke them forgiven right and left”
    Surely you are not saying Jesus was frivolous in his actions are you?
    besides I thought we were discussing the reason for baptism, not the ways in which sins have been forgiven.

  137. Nick, I only have the human perspective. You see that is all I am. And I can’t read God’s mind.

    Yes, but you can read God’s book, where he shares his mission and what’s important to him and how he’s going about accomplishing things. We can live non-selfcentered existences. Part of my rejection of forgiveness-of-sins as the preeminent reason for baptism is that it pushes our message into a “what’s in it for me?” shape that doesn’t fit the Gospel or the mission of God.

    Surely you are not saying Jesus was frivolous in his actions are you?

    Frivolous? No. Shockingly extravagant? Yes. Laymond, he forgave a guy’s sins because his friends tore the roof off of his house. That sort of action displays an ease and a lack of interest in ritual correctness that should affect how we operate as his ambassadors.

    besides I thought we were discussing the reason for baptism, not the ways in which sins have been forgiven.

    I think they’re related topics, since you and others are asserting that the one blessing of Christian baptism that must be understood beforehand is forgiveness-of-sins. I’m showing that many people received forgiveness of sins from Jesus without their motive being the acquisition of forgiveness.

  138. Nick, could it not be interpreted as, avoid sin to stay healthy, or that health problems are caused by sin.
    Could that be the great physician’s diagnosis forgiveness of sins cures all ills.

  139. Nick, could it not be interpreted as, avoid sin to stay healthy, or that health problems are caused by sin.

    That is not how the audience interpreted Jesus’ words (Mk 2:7). That is not how Jesus Himself interpreted his words (Mk 2:10). Could it be interpreted your way? Sure! I’ve graded many a math quiz where students interpreted 5×5 to mean any number of different things. But the teacher says it means 25 – so that’s the interpretation I’ll stick with.

    Could that be the great physician’s diagnosis: forgiveness of sins cures all ills.

    No. Forgiveness of sins does not cure all ills. It only puts a person back at square one.

    It does not reconcile a person to God.
    It does not place one in the covenant people of God.
    It does not clothe a person with Christ.
    It does not grant a person the Spirit of God.
    It does not break the power of sin enslaving a person.

    Forgiveness of sins is precisely what it says it is and nothing more. It forgives sins.

  140. Goebel Music, Behold the Pattern, pp 506 ff —

    5. Saving Grace Involves Works.

    b. Works included.

    If baptism is not necessary because it is a command, then neither is faith or repentance … God will not do for man what man can do. God performed only that which man could not do.

    6. Saving Grace And Law Are Inseparable

    c. We need to emphasize that “law” is a means of appropriating God’s “grace.”

    Leroy Brownlow, Why I Am a Member of the Church of Christ p 104 ff

    “Every person who teaches justification by faith only does violence to the Scriptures and denies the inspired message of James. …

    He was saved by faith. But when? When faith obeyed! …

    Thus the lost in sin are justified by grace, by Christ, by blood, by the name or authority of Christ, by faith and by works.

    These are two very prominent works within 20th Century Church of Christ thinking.

    You might also look at these links:

    http://moodychurchofchrist.com/bible-study/articles/105-baptism-or-prayer-which-work-leads-to-salvation.html

    http://www.conyerschurchofchrist.com/articles/isbaptismessentialforsalvation.pdf

    http://junctionhighwaychurch.com/?p=138 (“Logically, if we are not saved by works, then we cannot be saved by faith, for Jesus says that faith (belief) is a work.”)

  141. Brother Guin: Thanks for the references supplied. I will try to read these comments in context to see whether the authors stray from the Biblical teaching or not. This is not so clear just from seeing these quoted words. For example, when Leroy Brownlow says that we are saved by faith and works, is he saying something different than James said? Does he have a proper understanding of the book of James? I don’t know. I have a copy of the book, but it is in a box somewhere and I have not read it in many years.

    I did click on the last URL you posted, because I was curious about the “belief is a work” quote, which seems bizarre. In context, the author was distinguishing between meritorious works of man, on the on hand, and the works of God that God works through us, on the other hand. He put all of the factors of our salvation, including belief and baptism, into the latter category, denying that they were meritorious works, but were works of God. This is consistent with scripture and with the early church fathers. Do you agree?

  142. Brother Guin: I have now had a little time to read the Conyers Church of Christ link you posted (the second link). They start out on the same tack, speaking of baptism as a work of God. However, instead of properly distinguishing meritorious works of men from the works performed by God to which we merely submit, as the early fathers spoke of baptism, they give their own definition of work of God as an action that is required by God. Thus they misunderstand the “of” in “work of God” to mean “required by” and leave belief and baptism as works that we perform. I agree that this is an erroneous teaching concerning baptism as a work of men. I regret seeing this teaching, but appreciate the link.

  143. Brother Guin: I have now read the first link, to the Moody Church of Christ teaching. They argue that baptism and prayer are both works, in an effort to refute those who claim we are saved by a “sinner’s prayer.” I would argue that neither baptism nor prayer are works in the Biblical sense. Furthermore, as you cannot perform a Christian work until you are a saved Christian, no act of obedience that one argues precedes salvation (whether it be baptism, a confession, or a prayer for forgiveness) could be called a Christian work. Again, it seems that there is a regrettable need for clear teaching in the brotherhood on the subject of works.

  144. Clark,

    Brownlow, of course, quotes James — but his point is that if we don’t follow the pattern, we are damned. And that is not at all what James is saying. You can use James’ words to say things he never meant.

    It looks like we are on the same page as to the other quotations.

    We are sometimes so motivated to defend our views on baptism or whatever that we are willing to stand Paul’s writings on their head just to win the argument. And this leads to some very serious problems in our theology.

  145. Clark,

    PS — call me “Jay.” My grandfather was “Brother Guin.” I just feel more comfortable with my first name. After all, if my brother in the flesh were to call me “Brother Guin” I’d have to punch him. Brothers are one a first-name basis.

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