Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sacrificing Doctrine on the Altar of Unity

Titus 1:7-13
For a bishop must... hold fast the faithful word as has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers... whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not... Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.

"The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal 1:6-9)" (Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation).

There is a war being fought here. Satan, who has the world under his sway (1 John 5:19), seeks to corrupt truth (John 8:44-45). Truth is being compromised left and right in the pursuit of "unity". Salvific truth! I am not going to stand around idly while false doctrines not only rob Christians of assurance, but worse, they prevent sinners from understanding the simple saving message of Christ, therefore disqualifying them for entrance into the kingdom.

Some doctrines are just not to be compromised in the quest for "unity". I am not commanded to consider someone my brother whom I do not believe is in my family.

The gospel is the message of reconciliation, eternal life, and adoption into God's family. If someone is preaching a gospel other than by faith only, I am not adjured to consider such a one my brother in Christ, but one (willfully or ignorantly) who has been snared by Satan to do his will in propogating false doctrines that will keep precious men and women out of the kingdom.

I do not say these things lightly. I say them solemnly. Paul, in much emotion and depth of soul said:

Acts 20:28-31
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

You all may think, why can't we just get along? I have no qualms with being friends with anyone who doesn't see the gospel as I biblically do. Many of them are charming, intelligent, and sincere. Yet I will not stand idly by while precious truth is being contradicted; while false gospels are being propogated. I will not sacrifice the gospel on the altar of unity.

I believe Lordship Salvation, in what ever form it comes in (Calvinism or Arminianism) is a false gospel, that if believed, will preclude such a one from the kingdom of God.

Truth matters, folks. The gospel is ultimate truth. Semantics within gospel expressions are the words of propositional assertions that undergird one's understanding of salvific truth.

Let me put it in a simple illustration:

If I were to give you directions to my house and decided to add two or three more left and right turns, you would fail to reach my house.

Lordship salvation adds content to the gospel which adds deadly poison to the "Living Water".

John W. Robbins, President of The Trinity Foundation writes concerning unity and doctrine:

"I mentioned previously the fact that contemporary churches have repudiated the Biblical view of truth. A recent issue of Christianity Today carried an essay on “The Ecstatic Heresy.” Robert Sanders, the author, begins by citing three quotations, which I reproduce here. The first statement was issued by the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church on March 24, 2004 :

'The Dammann case [the trial of a lesbian Methodist minister] does reveal continuing differences in the United Methodist Church concerning the issue of homosexuality. The Council of Bishops is painfully aware of this disagreement. In such moments as this, we remember that our unity in Christ does not depend on unanimity of opinion. Rather, in Jesus Christ we are bound together by love that transcends our differences and calls us to stay at the table with one another.'

Please note that the propositional view of truth is here characterized as “opinion.” What transcends this is something called “love” and “staying at the table.” Unity is not unity of speech and mind, as Paul commands in 1 Cor 1:10: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”—but unity of emotion, feeling, or experience.[7] Paul commands propositional unity—“speak the same thing,” “the same mind,” “the same judgment”; yet it is precisely this unanimity of opinion that the Methodists repudiate." The Biblical View of Truth, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society: www.faithalone.org

People can turn their heads, pretending that nothing is wrong, and consider their coffee and donut version of "fellowship" to be much more important than truth and doctrinal unity.

That is their prerogative.

Yet, my prerogative is to earnestly contend for the faith. My convictions will not let me stand by and watch people believe a false gospel to their destruction. Is this mindset un-Christian?

I think that for those who are disposed to believe so that they should read their bibles, this time with their eyes open.

There is a war out there, this is Satan's battleground. The minds of men are being taken captive by the seducing doctrines of demons.

By God's Spirit, I will combat these errors with the truth.

49 Comments:

Anonymous bobby grow said...

Let me be the first to respond, Antonio, since I think some of your post may have been prompted by my comment on your last post; if not, amen!

Like you I am highly passionate about the truth of the gospel being proclaimed accurately. I did not realize that you believed a Calvinist/Arminian were'nt brethren--I thought you believed that they were deceived brethren; and you were trying to correct them back to the simple gospel message truth.

Antonio, like you I believe works have no place in justification--and anyone who does is astray. But do you honestley believe that either Calv or Arm believe that they can do anything to merit their salvation--they assert to the contrary. In other words, their orthopraxy is confused with their orthodoxy. Their practice, relative to salvation, is confused with their confession of salvation. I think they are suffering from a harsh case of naivete when it comes to the foundations of their view of salvation.

I'm coming back . . . I'm at work right now--I'll finish my comment later :).

February 08, 2006 10:12 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

I don't think it's "Christian" to say someone is not a Christian when that person professes trust in Christ (a la genuine Chalcedonian understanding of Christ) for salvation.

I vigorously dispute the implications of Calvinism/Arm. theology, as you do Antonio, but where do you find justification in asserting someone's salvation.

If you're right, Antonio, then the reality of Church History is a very sobering sobering thought. Most professing Christians of the past 2000 yrs have perished w/o genuinely appropiating the true gospel reflected by Free-Grace advocates. Most "Christians" even today have thus lived under the deceptive veil of Calv/Arminian soteriology--and most have consequently perished w/o Christ--this gives a whole new meaning to many are called "few are chosen".

Antonio, I'm still somewhat sympathetic to some of the Free-Grace perspective--at least the idea that "belief" in Christ alone is all that is required for salvation. I'm still, personally, working out nuances in my own soteriological perspective.

In Christ,
Bobby Grow <><

February 09, 2006 12:52 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Great post, Antonio. It is so important to contend for the truth.

God Bless

Matthew

February 09, 2006 2:53 AM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

I assume you are considering whether you are going to continue posting at the q-and-a-blog.

Please keep me informed about your decision.

February 09, 2006 6:58 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Antonio,

I would have to agree with Bobby on this one. While Calv/Arms may add works to their understanding of salvation, I do not doubt the majority of them would be saved in the eternal sense.

I think our God is much bigger than our petty understanding. Having said that, I do not believe a christian can have the "more abundant life" until they experientially realize that Christ alone is enough and they are forever sealed by His blood.

The result of believing in Christ is not negated by a wrong understanding due to misapplied scripture. It will however seriously harm ones spiritual walk and stunt their growth.

However I believe what you see as the greater problem is the promotion of a gospel that makes the proof of salvation contigent upon prior or subsequent works rather than in faith alone.

February 09, 2006 7:32 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

I hope that in the weaker moments of reflection on Romans 3-5 or in worshiping about such truths, puritan-oriented folks get it and believe.

Obviously I'm seeing this as a work of God in revealing the truth.

But this is my pet theory/specualtion, and it does not enjoy biblical support.

Here's a real audio file of a discussion between Zane Hodges and Dr. Robert Wilkin of the unregenerate Christians who say, "Lord, Lord, Have we not ..." in Mat 7:21-23.

It's only about 15 minutes long.

February 09, 2006 8:05 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I agree with Bobby and Jim.

February 09, 2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think Antonio made his position a little clearer in the post about Eternal Security being part of the Gospel.

I believe his position is that while a person might be saved who comes to a Calvinist or Arminian understanding of Perserverance, they must believe at their conversion that they posses eternal life.

Correct me if I am wrong, Antonio.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

February 09, 2006 9:09 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

All,

the gospel I preach and the gospel of Lordship Salvation (Calvinism and Arminianism) are not the same. There is only one gospel.

I believe that eternal life is through faith alone in Christ alone.

Lordship salvation says that faith is not enough. To faith must be added: surrender, repentance, commitment, obedience.

This is a false gospel.

Anyone who has believed this gospel, and has never believed in Christ alone for eternal life, is unsaved.

Listen:

If eternal life is conditioned on surrender, obedience, commitment, repentance, then as much as these are required, so as much as the reception of eternal life depends on self.

If a person believes, as MacArthur and company, that commitment of life and obedience are required for salvation, so much that they are taking their eyes off of Jesus and putting them on self.

Can anyone understand logic?

I thought I was being rational and logical.

Faith only in Jesus is a different gospel

than

faith PLUS (you add here whatever, surrender, commitment, repentance, obedience, etc!)

Why do you think that Paul was so blisteringly emphatic about false gospels in gal 1?

People are not saved by belief in false gospels. For false gospels ESSENTIALLY add content, provisos, strings, caveats, conditions, et.al.

Calvinism gives lip service to "faith alone in Christ alone", to the solas.

But how do they preach the gospel? Faith alone in Christ alone is the farthest thing in their mind when they preach their "gospel":

they preach "You must commit your life to Jesus, follow Him, surrender your whole self, repent of your sins, obey Christ, and believe in Him."

This is not faith alone! This is faith PLUS.

You all may think that this is fine and dandy, but Paul did not.

Satan knows that the corruption of truth with result in false gospels.

What is a false gospel if it is not the "faith plus" messages of Roman Catholicism, Calvinism, and Arminianism.

The "faith plus" message of the Lordship Salvationist is not the only facet of their false gospel. Perseverance theology, when preached front-loading the gospel makes the gospel false as well.

The Arminian preaches the same thing and also preaches that one can lose their salvation. If one believes the "linnear faith and works" gospel of Arminianism, then they necessarily must believe that ultimately it is up to them persevering to reach heaven.

Perseverance theology destroys the gospel.

"Only those who persevere until the end will be saved"

This is a false gospel.

surrender

commitment

obedience

repentance

perseverance

These things all NECESSARILY make salvation contingent upon man's actions and not FULLY on Christ alone through faith alone in Him.

I can't believe that no one can see this.

If I preach:

"To be saved you must surrender your life to Jesus, follow Him, turn from your sins, and persevere until the end"

I am making eternal life CONTINGENT ON SELF and not on Christ.

How is this so difficult to understand?

What is a false gospel, folks, if it is not one where THERE IS LEGALISTIC DEMANDS UPON THE SINNER ADDED TO FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE?

What is a false gospel if it is not one where works are subtly added to the conditions for ultimate salvation on both the front and back ends?

Every proponent of Lordship Salvation, from Horton, to MacArthur, to Piper, to Packer, to Boice

ALL BELIEVE THAT THE FREE GRACE GOSPEL IS A FALSE GOSPEL THAT IF BELIEVED WILL RESULT IN DAMNATION.

Soteriological truth has been SACRIFICED on the altar of UNITY.

This is TRAGIC and DEADLY.

Why do we clarify the gospel? Why do we preach the truth? Because PEOPLE'S ETERNAL DESTINIES ARE ON THE LINE.

A FALSE GOSPEL WILL NOT SAVE.

THE GOSPEL I PREACH IS A DIFFERENT GOSPEL THAN WHAT LORDSHIP SALVATION PROPOENENTS PREACH. LOGIC TELLS US THAT THEY BOTH CANNOT BE TRUE, THEREFORE ONE IS FALSE AND A FALSE GOSPEL WILL NOT SAVE.

Antonio

February 09, 2006 11:32 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matt 7:13-14

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
NKJV


What does this passage mean TO YOU ALL?

There are FEW who find the door.

Faith ONLY in Jesus is the door.

Faith PLUS is not the narrow way, it is the way of EVERY OTHER RELIGION IN THE WORLD.

February 09, 2006 11:35 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I am having a hard time with this unity thing.

"It really doesn't matter what you believe. We all believe in Jesus. We all say we are saved by grace. You are just nitpicking, man. It doesn't matter that our messages to unsaved people aren't the same. We are all preaching Jesus. We are all worshipping Jesus."

Faith + repentance + commitment of life + surrender of self + turning from sins

is

not

the

same

gospel

as

"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved..."

February 09, 2006 11:37 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jodie.

I am a bit disappointed in your response to my latest post.

Zane and Bob and I believe that those who believe the gospels of the Lordship Salvationist are not saved.

If most Calvinists get saved accidentally, why do we even bother with the preaching of the simple truth of the gospel?

I would have thought that you would have come down more on my side, but you seem to be wanting the unity anyway.

I am frustrated.

Free Grace is the GOSPEL, and has to do primarily with how one receives eternal life. The Christian life doctrines of Free Grace are subsidiary to the gospel message.

As Bobby Grow says they have great ramifications on Christian living. But that is not the point! Their gospel preaching is abbherent, is in error, is not in truth.

The primary problem with Calvinism is not that they give people no assurance, and have a performance based Christian life attitude, the problem is that they preach a false gospel.

Jodie,

you hope all you want that their reading of Romans 3-5, etc, will get them saved. They already have an understanding of what those verses mean. They are already hardened and have imported their theology into the simple gospel message Scriptures, such as Romans 3. Their reading of them will do them no good as long as they do so with their Lordship salvation glasses.

Why do I fight for truth, when it is being compromised left and right and sacrificed in the name of "unity"?

I am very frustrated.

February 09, 2006 12:19 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Antonio,

I'm not disputing that Calv/Arm doeshave huge problems with their soteriological understanding--they indeed do, as you highlight.

I'm disputing the idea that, according to you, they are not my brother or sister. You continue to ironically go to Galatians, which is right of you, but what is the occasion of the epistle--Paul's BRETHREN were being deceived by a false gospel(Judaism like Hebrews)--a works oriented gospel; even Peter (chapt 2) had been deceived. Would you say he was no longer a brother in Christ at that point.

Same with the Corinthians, chapt 1. They were sadly deceived, even considering the message of the cross as foolish and weak. Paul didn't diassociate from them, and say they were not brethern, o contraire, he lovingly rebuked them, and corrected them.

This is the paradigm that I interact with my Calv/Arm brethren through. How many Calv/Arm started out this way--I would say most didn't--it's a learned construct, post ingressive salvation; in other words there is a sense of deception taking place here--and, like Paul models, correction is needed.

Antonio, I find your quote:

""The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal 1:6-9)" (Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation).

of Ryrie ironic. He himself, soteriologically, is a Calvinist see his "Basic Theology" 314.

Antonio, I get as frustrated with the Calv dogmatic assertions as you, relative to perseverance of the saints, etc.--and they are absolutely wrong, IMO. And I also believe that they have unknowingly embraced a soteriology that is driven by the same anthropology as that found in Roman Catholic soter.--but I don't believe they see their works as meritorious--they see them as proof of salvation--which I agree there is a fine line, but there is a line here, IMO. In other words they have been duped, post conversion. They are still my brethren and need to be corrected; like I need to be corrected most of the time ;).

I hope this helps clarify my thinking here, Antonio.

In Christ

February 09, 2006 12:26 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think Antonio is making an important point. I am not sure I am about to question the salvation of my Calvinist friends and most of the time they seem to preach the true Gospel.

Nevertheless, the things that are attached to salvation could be deadly.

Somebody is told to 'give their life to Jesus.' In other words they are told not to believe, but to commit themselves to a change of behavior that is consistent with self-surrender. That is a false gospel and yet it is taught continually in churches.

Part of the problem is a lack of a clear theology of evangelism.

What we get from Christians, Calvinist, Arminian and Dispensational is a confused mixture of the true Gospel and a false gospel of self surrender.

I dare say that many are saved under this confusion though many are surely lead to put their trust in their own submission to Christ' lordship.

I think you are talking a lot of sense, Antonio, though I am unsure of all the practical ramifications of this.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

February 09, 2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

thank you for your comments.

I humbly disagree.

I can only go on what a person says they believe.

If they say they believe that the gospel message is faith + obedience + surrender + commitment + repentance and turning from sins, they have believed a false gospel.

You say well, they came to their soteriological understanding post-conversion. Even if that were so, they are NOW preaching a false gospel to unbelievers. What of the eternal destiny of those who believe the gospel message I stated above?

What, in your opinion would qualify for a "false" gospel?

If it isn't Lordship Salvation, I don't know what is.

Antonio

February 09, 2006 1:05 PM  
Blogger nothingnothingnothing said...

Antonio:

You say:

"the gospel I preach and the gospel of Lordship Salvation (Calvinism and Arminianism) are not the same. There is only one gospel.

I believe that eternal life is through faith alone in Christ alone."

Is that your definition of the Gospel? The promise of eternal life through faith in Christ? Isn't there more to the Gospel? Isn't faith just the beginning? Look at Romans 1.

Romans 1:15-17

15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

Paul is eager to go to see the believers in Rome so that he can preach the gospel to them. (Verse 8 talks about their faith, that's one way we know they were believers.) Why would he want to preach the gospel to them if they have already believed in Christ for their eternal life. The good news is not just about Christ granting us eternal life. It's not just about His death on the cross. It's about His living a perfect life, fulfilling the law for us. And then it's about Him giving us His righteousness and what that means to us and does to us.

Christ talks about the effects in chapter 4 of the gospel of John.


"but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."

It's not the works that save us. Quite to the contrary. Our works on their own condem us, because even the best we can do is filthy rags to God (see the book of Isaiah). And that's the beauty of a life that's not only guaranteed to live eternally even if we die here on earth, but we are also given spiritual life while we're here on earth. Praise God that He has given me eternal life through His Son. And praise God that I am free from sin and that I am able to repent. Because before I knew Christ, I was a slave to sin. But now I serve a new master. That is good news! That is the Gospel.

In Christ,

Ten Cent

February 09, 2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I do Open-air preaching with two Christian guys.

One is a rigid Calvinist who says that brokenness is a part of faith in Christ. He does not quite bring this into his preaching. Like most Calvinists, he is not very clear in his Gospel appeals. While he speaks of salvation through Christ and appeals for people to turn to Christ, he rarely actually explains how they do this.

I preach with another guy who is not so dogmatic in his theology. I think he does preach the true Gospel. While he probably thinks that some repentance and self-surrender is necessary for salvation, he tells people to simply believe in Christ to reeive eternal life.

Should I stop preaching with these guys, Antonio?

I owuld very much regret doing so. My ministry of evangelism with them has been so blessed and such a joy to me.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

February 09, 2006 2:09 PM  
Blogger Jodie said...

Antonio, you say:

you hope all you want that their reading of Romans 3-5, etc, will get them saved. They already have an understanding of what those verses mean. They are already hardened and have imported their theology into the simple gospel message Scriptures, such as Romans 3. Their reading of them will do them no good as long as they do so with their Lordship salvation glasses.

And you ask:

Why do I fight for truth, when it is being compromised left and right and sacrificed in the name of "unity"?

I agree that I'm not basing this hope of mine on Scripture!

Or it's 'hope in all things', but is a non-rational or anti-rational hope~~to think God does special little miracles of revealing the truth to people who are offended by the Father's will. That he does special little miracles that don't glorify Him. They wouldn't glorify Him because they would subvert His word and therefore His authority! That's not the kind of miracles I see in the Bible. You're right to challenge on this!

But it is not for unity! It is for sanity!

I'm surrounded by people at my church (and online) who are deceived by this, but without your courage to fully face the truth.

Deep down I know that huge swaths (even from my church) who love the Lord are going to Hell because they have rebelled against the still small voice that teaches them the will of the Father and that is confirmed by his written Word.

Antonio,

after reading your problem with what I wrote I had to run errands and I sat there thinking about it at stop lights. I realized something I had never seen clearly before.

The fact that the promise is to be raised on the last day totally abolishes any differentiating between faith in the promise and assurance about the promise. It rules it out!

Therefore the doctrine of one is the doctrine of the other.

It is scary what the implications are for our fellow followers of Christ (who follow passionately but selectively) but who have not done the will of the Father by believing in the promise that Jesus will single handedly raise on the last day all who believe in Him for that.

Jodie

February 09, 2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matthew,

I cannot make any determinations for you.

Personally, I would ask anyone who you preached with what was their expectation of heaven.

I would ask them point blank what a person must "do" to be saved and reach heaven.

Probe. Use it as a teaching moment. Show truth from the Scripture.

Ultimately it is up to you and God.

Usually there is a lot of wishywashiness pervading people's understandings of what exactly must be accomplished before one can have eternal life.

This is in addition to people who know what they preach and teach.

Matthew,

you made good points about wishiwashiness in gospel presentations.

People receive eternal life when they believe the truth of the gospel message. If the truth is not being presented, either because of wishiwashiness, or because of a false doctrine, the results are the same: truth has not been presented clear enough in order for faith in Christ to occur for eternal life.

Antonio

February 09, 2006 3:27 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

When I say "Calvinist" I am being very general. Ryrie is a moderate Free-Grace Calvinist. There are plenty of other Calvinist Free Grace advocates.

Zane Hodges himself believes in a form of unconditional election, although it would, as per his own words, not be comparable to that of the 5 pt Calvinist.

Many in Free Grace theology do not share my loathe for Calvinism.

Free Grace necessarily rejects limited atonement and perseverance of the saints (in exchange for universal propitiation and eternal security).

The other points in TULIP are up for debate.

The sine-qua non of Free Grace theology are:

1) faith = conviction, assurance, certainty, preclusion of doubt
2) assurance is certain and of the essence of saving faith
3) Jesus Christ guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him
4) Eternal Security is part and parcel of the saving message
5) Perseverance theology is false
6)Front-loading the gospel with commitment, surrender, obedience, repentance, turning from sins, etc, adds conditions to the gospel and makes the message that includes these things NON-SAVING
7) Backloading the gospel with perseverance theology can prevent somoene from being saved if it is preached with the gospel message: "Only those who persevere until the end will be saved"

There are Calvinists who hold to 4.5 points that are Free Grace. R.T. Kendall, Michael Eaton, Joseph Dillow, Charles Ryrie, etc.

The doctrines of Free Grace theology have to do with the saving message and content, the nature of faith, absolute certain assurance, and eternal security.

I personally reject all 5 points of Calvinism, but many people I respect are Calvinist leaning Free-Gracers.

So I hope this discussion here gives a little insight into Charles Ryrie's quote.

It is true.

Faith only and faith PLUS cannot both be the true gospel message.

On the issue of one appropriating eternal life, my issues are with the Lordship Salvationist Calvinists and Arminians.

All Arminians are by essence Lordship Salvation, for their doctrine of conditional security puts contingency for salvation on man and not fully rested upon Jesus Christ.

Not all Calvinists are Lordship Salvation, though the greatest majority are.

A Calvinist need not be Lordship Salvation.

Joseph Dillow's "The Reign of the Servant Kings"

R.T. Kendall's "Eternal Security" and "Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649"

Michael Eaton's "No Condemnation"

even Gordon H. Clark's "Faith and Saving Faith"

are Free Grace Calvinist books.

I would with no hesitancy fellowship (in the Christian sense, not meaning the donut and coffee sense) with any Calvinist Non-Lordship Free Gracer and consider such my brother. I will dispute with him the doctrines of U.E., T.I. and I.G., but rejoice with him in the firm resolve of the doctrine of faith alone in Christ alone apart from works for eternal life.

Antonio

February 09, 2006 3:54 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jim,

can one be said to truly "believe in Christ" if they are believing that they must as well repent, turn from sins, obey, commit all, surrender all?

Faith in Christ is reliance on Christ alone. To add any other thing is to make eternal life contingent on self, as if faith in Christ is not enough.

If faith in Christ is enough, why preach all the other works-related jargon?

You can see why Lordship salvation people preach a faith PLUS gospel: they do not believe that faith alone is sufficient.

Is anyone going to tell me what a false gospel is?

If repentance, turning from sins, commitment of life, surrender of self, and obedience are NECESSARY in the gospel message, that means that faith in Christ is not SUFFICIENT.

What is a false gospel if it is not one that adds to the simple truth of the gospel that eternal life is received by purposeful faith alone in Jesus Christ apart from works of any kind?

No one is really dealing with my concerns, but side-stepping them and saying that everything is all-right.

Jesus says that "FEW" find the entrance. FEW!!!

Christianity as a whole is LORDSHIP SALVATION.

Calvinism, Catholicism, Arminianism, Pentacostalism, JW, Mormon, Church of Christ, etc...

I believe that many of us will be in for a rude awakening and surprise when those Lordship Salvation advocates whom we love and adore (I love and adore many of them) will not be in the kingdom for they did not do the will of the Father, which is to merely exercise simple faith alone in Christ apart from works for the benefit of receiving eternal life.

You may then wish that you hadn't have regarded unity at the expense of truth.

Antonio

February 09, 2006 4:03 PM  
Blogger Pastor Jim said...

Antonio, simple question for you.....Is it O.K. to sin? Make that two simple questions......Is it possible to have faith in God and sin?

February 09, 2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matthew,

you write:
----------
I think you are talking a lot of sense, Antonio, though I am unsure of all the practical ramifications of this.
----------
The practical ramifications are that if a person believes that he must repent, turn from sins, follow Christ, surrender his life, commit all, and obey, in order to be saved, he has believed a false gospel, and would have a false hope, and the lake of fire would be his destiny.

John 6:40
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
NKJV

The one who considers the faith PLUS gospel to be truth has failed to do the will of the Father which is to merely trust the Son apart from ANYTHING.

Saying to someone:

Ask me and i will give you a kiss

is fundamentally different than saying to someone:

Ask me, AND take a shower, AND put on clean clothes, AND heed my requests, AND surrender your cd collection.

The first is free, received by a mere request to the kindness of the giver for the benefit of the receiver.

The second is costly, received a combination of asking and self-exertion.

Does anyone not get my points yet?

Rose, Jim, Bobby?

Antonio

February 09, 2006 4:19 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

This comment thread answers almost all my questions.

Maybe the Q & A blog is unnecessary ...

February 09, 2006 4:55 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Antonio,

I'll answer your question about false gospel, when I can, I'm stuck at work right now!

BTW, you didn't really deal with the Pauline paradigm I presented relative to his dealings with the Galatians engagement of a false-gospel (thus the occasion of this epistle). The point being Paul still considered them brethren, presupposed by the fact that He wrote to the "church in Galatia".

Maybe I'll wait for you to respond to this before I respond the the "false gospel" question.

February 09, 2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Nate said...

Antonio,

you said:

"Faith only and faith PLUS cannot both be the true gospel message."
==========

I agree 100%! No one will be Justified by Faith PLUS! Justification only comes by: FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE!!!!!!!!

PEACE,

NATE

February 09, 2006 5:59 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Also another quick question, do you believe it's possible for a Christian to be deceived doctrinally, relative to things salvific. In other words, given your view of simple faith (which I share BTW); do you see the possibility for a baby Christian to be caught up by a cult (i.e. JW)--and buy into their teachings--yet still be saved?

Also, I would say, from personal experience with many of my Calvinist friends, they do not present the gospel the way you are saying they do. In other words they present a simple gospel message--much like Matthew has stated about his friend. I.e. They're not telling a would-be convert, ok, you've got to believe in supralapsarianism, traducianism, federal/covenant theology, affirm the 5 pts of Calvinism, etc. This seems to me to be an "in-house" debate, Antonio.

The way you present things, Antonio, it's very nice and neat. But as one looks at church history, in general, and the Patristic era, in particular, one will realize that development of Christian doctrine is very messy. None of these guys never even heard of Free-Grace theology, are they burning in hell?

A "false gospel" is anything that doesn't measure up to the "true gospel of Jesus Christ". Anything that adds or takes away, in its construction, from the simple gospel message. There are many expressions of this: gnosticism,humanism, hedonism, any belief system that does not bow the knee to Jesus, and believes it can merit its way to heaven or relationship with God.

For a fuller perspective on my view of salvation see my site, I have an article discussing the distinctions between Calvinists and Antinomians.

February 09, 2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Antonio,
Let me say first of all I believe with all my heart that salvation is faith alone in Christ alone.

I understand your burden here, I was at one time as "dogmatic" as you are. But stop and think about those who are calvinist or any other ...nist for that matter.

They truly believe they they are saved by faith alone and not by their works. Now I agree 100% with you on the gospel and disagree emphatically with Lordship salvation. But that doesn't mean that those who believe in Lordship salvation are not saved. They are impeding the clear teaching of the gospel without a doubt.

God is much greater than their confusion. I do not imply by that statement that you or I should not be firm in not swaying from the truth. Even more so the truth should be preached and those who preach otherwise should be taken to task and rebuked everytime we here this perversion.

I would add it can get confusing when we say that repentance is not required. I say repentance is required, but repentance or change of mind from unbelief to belief. Not repentance of any other sin but unbelief.(john 16:9) The only sin that condemns us is the sin of unbelief, the sin of not believing in the One whom He has sent, so we do have to change our mind about this sin.

Paul tells us in Romans 8 that if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ then he is none of His. This is the test for those who have eternal life and 1 John 5 says that if you have the Son you have life, in fact Paul ask the Galations 'did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith' I know people that believe that they were saved because they "repented" of their sins and heard with faith about Jesus and the resurrection and they very much have the Spirit, they are just confused as to how they received Him. In fact I was one of them and God was greater than my ignorance.

I love your passion and believe the same thing you believe. The only thing I would object to is that I don't believe you should say that just because someone is calvinist or some other ..nist that they are lost. Some may very well be, but some are not. God is much greater than our ignorance. Only those who have the Spirit of Christ are His.

Once again I agree that we should not "sacrifice doctrine on the alter of unity"
I just think it may be a little harsh to judge wether or not another person has the Spirit of Christ in them by their ignorance, I was ignorant myself at one time.

grace & peace brother

February 09, 2006 6:14 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I get your points.
Faith alone in Christ alone is how eternal salvation is found. I totally agree with your assessment of that.

I am not ready to say that someone who sees "faith alone in Christ alone" in a subtly different way, is not saved. No way am I ready to say that about so many that I know and love. I don't believe it to be true.

Reformed say "faith alone in Christ alone" Antonio. So they believe that this implies something more to the convert than you or I do. Does this make their calling on His name any less effective? Does it make Christ less effective?

If a soul says "Lord, I believe in you for eternal life, I want that living water and to thank you, I offer my life, my all to you." Is this heresy? Actually, the latter part of the quote it is the proper response to the first part. It is not the only necessary response to Lord, I believe in you for eternal life, I want that living water, but to call it "another gospel" is not good or right.

That is how I read many of the reformed on their blogs. They are not saying one must add something to faith in order to find eternal life, they are saying that, according to their "expert" analysis, these other things will follow. If we believe this to be untrue, we should take them to task on it. You have been faithfully taking them to task.

Perhaps we have been overanalyzing their philosophy and reflecting that back on their gospel message. Like Matthew says, I don't hear them proclaim this in their gospel message.

Then again, I read a couple of chapters in the GATJ and I was amazed at how wrong I thought his assessment of the gospel offer was. This is why I say that I see your point.

Why did John MacArthur ever have to use the phrase "another gospel" in the introduction to that book? Look at all the acrimony that he started!

There is only one gospel: Jesus Christ and His work alone saves ... through faith in Him, alone. I believed all the reformed people that I am aquainted with believe this in their heart of hearts. It gets confusing the way they overanalyze, and then we overanalyzr their overanalyzation ... that is the problem as I see it!

Every Blessing Antonio

February 09, 2006 6:43 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

You readers should understand that Antonio thinks that "I am saved by faith plus the merit of all the works I do" is exactly the same statement as "I am saved by faith which causes all the good works that I do".

In that, Antonio think that anyone who thinks that saving faith causes them to do anything but say, "Jesus!" is apostate.

Now, given that paradigm, let's ask Antonio what he thinks about the relationship between saving faith and baptism. The Calvinist says "Baptism is an ordinance of the New Testament, ordained by Jesus Christ, to be unto the party baptized, a sign of his fellowship with him, in his death and resurrection; of his being engrafted into him; of remission of sins; and of giving up into God, through Jesus Christ, to live and walk in newness of life." (LBCF, XXIX.1)

By "ordinance", the Calvinist means something "instituted by Christ in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit unto those that are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his mediation; to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other graces; to oblige them to obedience; to testify and cherish their love and communion one with another; and to distinguish them from those that are without."

That is to say, I would like Antonio to tell us what baptism is, and whether anyone who has the faith has he has proposed it is defined can or ought to take baptism -- and if they should, for what purpose or by what motive?

Have at it.

February 09, 2006 6:46 PM  
Blogger J. Wendell said...

Hi Antonio,
Let me say that I agree with your assessment of soteriology.

I would like to point you toward a covenant theologian who has my highest esteem. His name is Steve Brown. Perhaps you are familiar with him from "Key Life" radio ministry. I find many things where we differ, but his soteriology is accurate and so is his idea of the process of sanctification.

Some of the Reformed and CT with their extreme "Doctrines of Grace" are not to be confused with those who actually DO get their understanding of salvation correct. Don't lump them all together.

By the way, there are many Calvinists who also have a right understanding of Grace.

(Phew! ... and my wife thought I was a separatist!)
:-)

February 09, 2006 6:54 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

Antonio,

You might as well write another post, just to answer all of the feedback you've been getting here :-).

Bobby G.

February 09, 2006 7:22 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Antonio,

Grace and peace brother, and as they say in SoCal, chill out dude! :) just joking!


Is anyone going to tell me what a false gospel is?

I will give you my thoughts on this:

[A false gospel is one that teaches faith in Christ plus works with no certainty of eternal security.]

Now the word false may be a bit misleading as really it is more of a mixture of truth and falsehood.

This is the gospel that the Roman Catholics and Mormons preach. Now their view of the gospel would be categorically false to the extent that those who actually do get saved in that setting are a very small minority.


I also agree with Kris on the following comment;

Kris said,
I would add it can get confusing when we say that repentance is not required. I say repentance is required, but repentance or change of mind from unbelief to belief. Not repentance of any other sin but unbelief.(john 16:9) The only sin that condemns us is the sin of unbelief, the sin of not believing in the One whom He has sent, so we do have to change our mind about this sin.

I think the biggest problem with reform theology is the failure to separate saving faith from the sanctifying work of the Spirit. They wrongly assume that a saved person cannot fall into apostasy and open sin.

Once we see the matter of the judgement seat of Christ and our accountability towards God we will realize that we must live soberly and righteously before God.

February 09, 2006 8:06 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby, (and all)

In our day and age, the term "gospel" has all but ossified into a term dealing specifically and soley with soteriology. This isn't so with Paul's usage of it. The gospel to Paul was not just that which justified a man, but that which he lived by as well.

In Galatians, the recipients are saved. Yet people from without came in and started preaching legalism/Torah law/works as a base for justification and Christian living.

The Galatians were being tempted with this doctrine of legalism. They started with the Spirit, but were living by the flesh.

Of course they were saved. They were justified, they began in the Spirit, they received the Spirit.

But according to the "gospel" of the Judaizers, they were to follow the Torah law as a rule of life.

What of these who preached a false gospel? Were they saved?

Where do we draw the line?

Do you consider JW's saved?
Arminians saved?
Roman Catholics saved?

Where is the line drawn?

You all don't understand Lordship Salvation.

They make the call to discipleship and the call to eternal life one and the same. They say that the call to eternal life is both free and costly.

They preach repentance, turning from sins, commitment of life, surrender, following Christ, obedience IN THE CALL TO SALVATION.

If they were only to preach these things to saved people, why would I or anyone else have a problem?

I preach those things!

No. The problem is with their front-loading the gospel with "costly" requirements.

John MacArthur states:

"Do not throw away this paradox just because it is difficult. Salvation is both free and costly... That is what Jesus meant when He spoke of one's own cross to follow Him. And that is why He demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience -- unconditional surrender to His Lordship"

Imagine this presented to the sinner:

"For you to have salvation, it will be both free and costly. You must count the cost. Jesus in His call and invitation to give you eternal life is demanding obedience, He is calling for us to exchange all that we have for all that He is. You must count the cost or you cannot be saved."

How is what I said any different than what MacArthur said? I just put it into words to an unbeliever.

This is a false gospel. If someone heeds the message of this gospel, how is it that he can be saved?

Is faith mixed with one's implicit obedience, his exchanging everything that he has for all that Jesus has, and all manner of other costly endeavors saving?

If one is told that he must count the cost, obey, give up all, etc., is this the same gospel that says "Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely?"

So what, that they give lip service to "faith alone". With every other word that comes out of their mouth they betray a superficial association with that phrase.

James Boice, another Lordship Salvation author says under the heading "Paying the Cost":

"The point of this examination of the cost of following Christ is not to discourage anyone from following Him, however. It is rather to encourage you to follow Jesus to the end. To do that we must count the cost, by all means, but then we must pay it joyfully and willingly,knowing that this must be done if a person is to be saved.

According to Lordship Salvation there is a price to be paid in order to gain eternal life. While this is impossible to reconcile with the biblical teaching that Jesus paid it all and that He gives eternal life as a free gift, this paradox is central to Lordship Salvation.

John MacArthur states:

"The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience"

Is this a call to receive a free gift?

Have you guys even picked up a gospel tract lately? They have anywhere between 4-8 things that the sinner must do in order to be saved.

There is a la-la land type mentality out there. Paul warned people with tears because of those like the legalist Judaizers.

Lorship Salvation is the new legalist Judaizer.

When does truth matter to you guys?

Does any gospel save?

Is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved"

the same thing as

"The amount a person must give is all. I say, 'You must give it all. You cannot hold back even a fraction of a percentage of yourself. Every sin must be abandoned. Every false thought must be repudiated. You must be the Lord's entirely." James Montgomery Boice in his gospel message.

Did I claim that all who are Calvinists are not saved?

No.

You all may have had the benefit of a clear gospel message preached to you, but that is not the norm.

The language of gospel preaching today is:

give
surrender
yield
confess
commit
follow
repent
turn from your sins

Not "believe in Jesus".

People are ashamed of the freeness of the gospel.

Faith in Christ is not enough.

But whatever.

I'm not going to continue to beat a dead horse.

You all may think it is just fine and has no real heaven/hell consequences that most people preach all these additions to faith in Christ. You may ease your mind that they merely "call on the name of the Lord". JW's do that. Mormons do that. Catholics do that. They call on Jesus.

But do they believe in Him alone for eternal life?

Do they consider that repentance, commitment, surrender, following, implicit obedience, giving, counting the cost, etc, corrupts the gospel?

No. That is exactly how they preach it.

How is the "evangelical" Lordship salvation any different?

They aren't.

And that you all can't see that saddens my soul.

Truth does not matter anymore.

We have lost.

It doesn't matter which gospel we preach, for they all talk about Jesus.

Everything is just fine.

That is what Satan would have us believe.

I live in a huge city and have visited MANY churches. I have rarely heard a "faith only" gospel presentation.

There is a message that is "faith only"

There is a message that is "faith plus"

logically, these are not the same.

You have to agree that they are not the same!

If they are not the same, one may be true the other has to be false, or vice-versa, or neither true.

I am going on and on.

It is useless.

I am flustered.

Faith only is the saving message.

Faith plus is the message of Satan, for it corrupts the truth of the simple and free offer of eternal life.

Eternal life is not costly to us, folks. It doesn't take our commitment, repentance, surrender, following, implicit obedience, or anything else.

If one believes that it takes these things, he has not believed the saving message.

How can you, on earth, say that he has?

John 8:44-45
When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
NKJV

the speaking of half-truths are 100% lies. This is the job of Satan. Take some truth and make it a lie.

Are we blind to his tactics?

Why are you all so content to say that everything is alright and that everyone is saved?

Does it matter how one preaches the "gospel"?

All I hear is rationalization, justification, and speculation.

The gospel is what gets people saved.

If it is not 100% truth, how can it save?

What does Satan do if not pervert the gospel so that people will perish?

All is not well, and that you all are content to relegate everyone saved, in spite of the tremendous evidence to the contrary, is sad.

You don't get saved when you believe a false gospel.

You don't get saved when you consider that obedience, following Jesus, forsaking all sin, commiting your life, giving up all are REQUIREMENTS for eternal life.

That is not free.

That is costly

and the damnable doctrine of works-salvation

February 09, 2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Antonio, I think you are beginning to understand the frustration of Jesus when "He came to His own, and His own received Him not."

Please remember brother that this is not your gospel but Christ's gospel. Your efforts are truly appreciated but don't give up. The reward is in the faithful consistent labor of the servant.

In Christ alone with no strings attached,

Jim

February 09, 2006 8:28 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I appreciate your passion for truth. I pray that the Lord will use it for His purpose, in spite of you.
and me.
and the reformed.

February 09, 2006 8:36 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

If someone believes that their own good works are meritourious towards their salvation then this is a false gospel; if they believe the works of Christ (Jn 6:29)alone are sufficient for salvation then they hold to the true gospel.

There you go, Antonio!

Usually Calvinists/Nomists assert that they believe in faith alone, so I suppose what is in line, is to press them on their definition of justification.

Antonio, I would be curious to get your personal perspective on the inter-relationship between justification and sanctification.
You don't speak of sanctification much ;).

Anyone who professes faith in the orthodox understanding of Christ, I will count as my brother--if there are inconsistencies, from my perspective, and their salvation view, I will challenge them, as you are to re-think the informing theological factors that shape their view. Daily spirituality is at stake here.

I'll continue to challenge the Nomists as brethren; and you continue to challenge them as lost souls--although the incentive might be different between the two of us (among many) maybe we'll make in roads with many who hold onto a gospel view that needs correction.

One distinction I see between RC's and Calvinists is that RC's recognize their need for personal penance and works; while Calvinists assert to the contrary that they can do nothing merit salvation--it's Christ alone. Here's a good quote illustrative of my point above:

"“For Calvin, good works did not have the direct bearing on salvation that medieval theology taught (read Roman Catholic theology); they attested divine favor and gave presumptive evidence of election, but they did not put one in a position to expect salvation as condign merit. On the other hand, Calvin’s teaching, like his conduct of the Genevan church, once again made good works and moral behavior the center of religious life and reintroduced religious anxiety over them. In Calvinism the presence or absence of good works came to be taken as a commentary on one’s eternal destiny.” (parenthesis mine) (Quote taken from: Steven Ozment, “The Age of Reform 1250-1550,” 379)

Doctrinally Calvinists don't see works as condigning merit; unfortunately they are committed to a soteriological framework (informed and founded upon the Thomistic synthesis)that betrays their doctrinal committment in its functional outworking. In other words ethical performance plays the crucial role in the outworking of the practical syllogism--thus promoting an inevitable anthropocentric practice of salvation. Remember this whole framework finds context and shape within the "Covenantal/Federal" conception of understanding. Seeing heavy continuity between Israel and the Church (new Israel--people of God)thus the usage of the "Mosaic Law" as the external standard by which one determines whether they are indeed part of the Covenant/Elect people of God.

Sadly this perspective fails to recognize the discontinous nature between the old cov. and the new cov. New Cov. concerned with the circumcision of the heart vs. old cov. circumcision of the flesh.

This is the broader context and framework Lordship/Calv./Nomists are operating in--this is much greater than the minutiae of detail, although important, being discussed here.

Antonio if you want to send an defeater the Lordship way, that will actually undercut their position, I think in the future you're going to need to place more focus on the superstructure from which the Lordship guys are speaking.

Maybe point out the "artificiality" and super-imposition of the covenants reflected in their Federal theology, i.e. cov. of works, grace, maybe redemption (depending on the theologian/student). Point out how these covenants are not something that find correlation with the covenants find in scripture. Demonstrate the fact that our great salvation is founded upon the unconditional covenant God established with Abraham (Gen 15), prior to the conditional covenant (Deut 28-30; Lev 26) established with Moses--which the Lordship guys build their edifice upon; subsuming the New Covenant with the conditional Mosaic Cov.

I think this would be the most effective tact when approaching your theological opponents in the future.

Peace in Christ,
Bobby

February 09, 2006 11:54 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

For such a simple gospel message (believe in Christ and you will be saved), it sure seems to get complicated. That simple gospel message is the only one I've heard - in my church and from reform believers - but there are times indeed when it's also necessary to talk about submission, obedience, works (gasp!), etc. The Bible addresses all those things too. I've never heard it said you need to DO anything but believe to be saved.
I don't recall a single reform person I've 'met' on the Web saying the words you've put in their mouths here, Antonio, in essence convoluting the gospel. Nor do I ever hear them condemning you to Hell. Perhaps we should all spend more time in prayer for one another and less time picking one another apart. As Bobby Grow noted in an earlier post, it's unfruitful and unproductive. In fact, it's counterproductive.
I am reminded of Jesus' words: "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that you sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one. I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me." -John 17:20-23
I guess you're saying that those of us who don't agree with you, Antonio, don't have Christ in us -even if we believe in Him, but don't say it exactly as you do.

February 10, 2006 5:11 AM  
Blogger Screaming Pirate said...

good job just deleteing my post and not telling me about it. You really trying to skirt the issue here man. i had some really good questions here. thank goodness i saved my post. But seriously man deleting my post with no explination that is really not cool. I would say very underhanded of you

February 10, 2006 5:37 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Antonio writes, "Imagine this presented to the sinner:

'For you to have salvation, it will be both free and costly. You must count the cost. Jesus in His call and invitation to give you eternal life is demanding obedience, He is calling for us to exchange all that we have for all that He is. You must count the cost or you cannot be saved.' . . . This is a false gospel. If someone heeds the message of this gospel, how is it that he can be saved?"

Was Jesus preaching a false gospel to the rich young ruler? Call it "pre-evangelism" if you want, but for some reason Jesus did not follow your tidy method of evangelism.

February 10, 2006 7:35 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Jonathan,

If I might comment...Jesus saw the extreme pride in this young man who thought he had kept all the law. When his greed was exposed he could not deal with it and went away very sad. To simply tell this man to believe was not the issue, this man had not yet seen his need for Christ but thought he could work out his own salvation.

He did not see Christ as Lord but simply as a master or teacher.

The law is used to humble the proud and grace is given to those who see their complete helplessness.

God bless,

Jim

February 10, 2006 8:36 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Amen Jim!

Bang on!

Antonio,

I am sorry if I offend you. There are things that you have helped me see and it is good. There are other things I can't ignore though and that is why I agree with what Jim said here.

I am your friend. Though we differ in some areas God is fashioning us into his image by use of the blacksmith.

God has a deep and abiding love for you. Enjoy the God who saved you.

I am weak and forgive me if this sinful flesh has offended you.

February 10, 2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

It seems to me that the problem is that if a person is told that they must repent to be saved, then they have already been led to believe in Christ but have not trusted in Him for salvation.

The potential convert at the point of discovering the truth of Christ's saving work is directed not to receive it until he meets the condition of repentance.

Will his subsequent repentance grant him eternal life? No, because he has already rejected the efficacy of Christ's work.

In that I can see that a false gospel is being proclaimed by both Arminians and Calvinists.

This is quite deadly.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

February 10, 2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger Pastor Jim said...

I thought they were simple questions?.? Again, can we sin if we have faith in God? Is it o.k. to sin?

antonio???????

February 10, 2006 11:28 AM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Antonio,

You do not know me, and that's fine. I am less willing to jump into the overall conversation because, well, many have already stated my opinions quite clearly so there is no need for redundancy. However, there is one thing I have to disagree with you on that no one else has addressed: that Gordon Clark's book 'Faith and Saving Faith' is a Free Grace book, or even a Free Grace-ish book. I like Clark, and I even just read this particular book recently. Clark does, in fact, link faith as assent and good works, and does so explicitly. Thus, he is not "Free Grace" but actually stands in the traditional Reformed position. In fact, he actually quotes Charles Hodge favorably, and you are not favorable of Hodge. I just wanted to clarify some facts.

Chuck

February 10, 2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger J. Wendell said...

Hi Antonio,

I'm back at my blog now.

brother John

February 10, 2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Great to see you back there, John.

February 10, 2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Antonio,
I agree with your interpretaton of Pauls letter to the Galations.

This IS the biggest reason today so many fail to go on to maturity. The letter kills the Spirit brings life.

Men preach the free gift of salvation by faith in Christ alone and then legalism for acceptance after becoming His child. As soon as the do's and don'ts enter in we are walking by works in the flesh instead of the Spirit.

This only leads to frustration and giving up for those caught up in it because legalism has no power over the flesh.(Colossians 2:23)

I am probably even more dogmatic about killing legalism when I see it than anything else. I know why Paul was so enraged. I lived in legalism and taught others, I was of all people a most miserable wretch and made people around me miserable. I fell away after seven years of trying in 1995. Then in July of 2004 I knelt down on my couch and gave up trying to get back. I told God that I had nothing left but to trust in His grace to restore me. The burden lifted and I saw His unconditional love once again after "I" quit striving in my flesh.

I praise Him now before you all, not in vainity for all to see, but because I love Him because He first loved me.

As God is my witness, I did not intend for that to be poetry, it came purely from my heart through the Holy Spirit. Amazing grace!

grace & peace
Kris

February 10, 2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger Moo Zuba said...

Um... wow. Antonio, I do believe you're the only person I've ever run across who holds to the beliefs you so ardently fight for. But even so, a number of concerns jump out at me.

First, how can you claim that faith is the be-all-end-all of the gospel and still claim to be a New Testament Christian? Faith is not the gospel. Christ is the gospel. It is not faith itself, but faith in Christ that saves. The Savior Himself spells this out in His conversation with Nicodemus. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). These verses define faith for us. Faith is looking at Jesus. Period. But it is not the faith that saves us, it is Christ. It is not the looking, but the One who to Whom we look. Reading your posts and arguments, I get the distinct impression that you have made an idol of faith. And I fear for you, lest you set your sights (so very much like those you accuse of teaching a false gospel) on what you have done (that is, your faith/belief) than on what Christ has done. True faith... repentant faith... persevering faith... the type of faith that you attack and demean... this is the faith which sets its sights upon Christ and not upon itself. One is a saving faith, the other is not. Saving faith is, of necessity, focused on the Savior. That is why it conforms the believer into the image of his Savior.

Secondly, I'd like to add here that Jesus' first evangelistic sermon was a one-liner. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). Did Christ neglect the need for faith? Most certainly not. But why does He instead preach "repent"? Because repentance and faith go hand-in-hand in conversion. They cannot be seperated (at least not rightly so). True faith is a repentant faith and an unrepentant faith is not true faith. Christ preached repentance just as John and the prophets of old did. Just as Peter did on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). They preached a message of repentance because it is an integral part of conversion. Before a person can be saved from his sin he first has to acknowledge that he is a sinner. The process of acknowledging that fact is known as repentance. And apart from that, faith is a non-issue. As for perseverance, well... I feel that's been covered adequately enough by others, so I'll defer to them. I do hope that you will come to understand the distinction that so many are striving to make here. We do not repudiate salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. But we would not acknowledge the sola fide to the exclusion of the solo christo. Nor would we dismiss any of God's written word to accomodate theories such as yours.

I leave you with a quote that, I feel, sums up the matter quite effectively: "Whoever says 'I know him' but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:4-6).

In Christ alone,
moozuba

February 11, 2006 7:21 PM  

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