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, August 29, 2007

When Simple Faith is Not Enough...

If someone believes Jesus in His promise based upon what little they may know about Him, are the headed for hell unless they furthermore assent to ontological details about His person? Is someone who entrusts his or her eternal destiny into Jesus' hands lost because of ignorance of some bullet points on an orthodox doctrinal checklist?

I would not want to be in the position of stating that anyone who simply trusted in Jesus for eternal life is lost for lack of understanding or knowledge of things about Him.

Man-made theology says such things. But the promise of the Savior flies in the face of such doctrinal legalism and is surprisingly simple, precise, and complete:

"Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (John 6:47)

Imagine someone solely trusting Jesus as His certain hope of heaven and Jesus letting him down. Envisage a man relying competely upon Jesus for eternal life through His promise yet Jesus reneging because of the man's ignorance of a doctrinal stipulation, thus missing heaven by a creedal technicality.

Picture a man believing only in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation and leaving empty handed. This unquestionably impinges on God's faithfulness. What happened to:

Faith alone in Christ alone?

The Checklist Evangelism being espoused by the Duluthian antagonists and their sympathizers has it dying the death of a thousand qualifications.

They would invalidate the simple act of faith which indeed appropriates eternal life, unless one jumps through each theological and doctrinal hoop to their satisfaction.

27 Comments:

Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 29, 2007 4:21 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antoni:

You wrote, "If someone believes Jesus in His promise based upon what little they may know about Him..."

You should be more forthcoming.

Your position is that the lost man does not need to know or believe anything about Jesus, the Son of God. Nothing about the Son of God's deity, as His title "Son of God" clearly implies; that He lived, died on the cross and rose from the dead.

Your theology dictates that the sinner does not need to know, understand or believe any of the biblical facts I cited above about Jesus.

You have stated a sinner does not need to know that he/she is a sinner, and yet "simple faith" for eternal life in an unknown, nondescript person that goes by the name of Jesus results in eternal life.

Reductionist to the point that there is almost nothing left to recognize as or call the Gospel.


LM

August 29, 2007 4:26 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Lou,

If I entrusted my eternal well-being to Jesus, am I going to go to hell if I do not understand that He is God?

Lets say that I completely put my eternal salvation into Jesus' hands by believing in Him as my certain and only hope of eternal life. But let's say that I didn't understand, therefore didn't believe, that He was God. Then I died a moment later.

Would Jesus say, "You believed in Me through My promise, but since you didn't acknowledge me as God I must send you to hell?"

Is faith in a doctrine, namely that Jesus is God, a theologically required condition for eternal life in addition to simple trust in Jesus for eternal life? Or are you saying that it is merely a necessary psychological necessity, in other words, no one would believe in Jesus unless they knew He was God?

So you are saying that a person will go to hell on the basis of your imposed creedal stipulations? They will miss out on life with Christ for lack of assent to your orthodox doctrines?

You ought to be ashamed of such teaching.

Antonio

August 29, 2007 5:16 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I agree and know that Jesus is God, sinless, died on a cross, and rose again from the dead.

Let me ask you a question. Is it possible to have major misconceptions about people? I think the democrats completely distort who George W. Bush is. They say that Katrina was his fault, for instance. Yeah, he guided it to New Orleans. But because they distort him so bad, when they talk about George W. Bush, are they actually speaking about a spurious, fake, imaginary George W. Bush, and not the real George W. Bush?

Is it not possible to cite someone who you have misconceptions about? Of course. To say anything else is nonsense. All it takes is one unique reference to delimit identification of any individual in the world.

John 3:16; 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-27 talk about the real Jesus. They are referring to the historical, biblical, Jesus. If someone reads these verses, and believes in Jesus through them, they are believing in the biblical Jesus, for they are believing the Scriptures that infallibly refer to Him, no matter what misconceptions they may have about Him.

Would someone believe in Jesus for eternal life apart from being persuaded that He is authorized, qualified, and able to impart eternal life to the believer through the preaching of Christ's miracles, teachings, compassion, cross and resurrection, and deity? Probably not. But if anyone ever does, your argument is not sufficient to deny them salvation since verses like John 3:16 etc are very sweeping and universal.

Lou, there is a new post on Unashamed of Grace. It asks what a person must do for eternal life. Your answer to the question would be much appreciated.

Antonio

August 29, 2007 5:20 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Antonio:

You asked, "If I entrusted my eternal well-being to Jesus, am I going to go to hell if I do not understand that He is God?"

Your question reveals a basic misunderstanding of Biblical terms and ideas of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and His Father.

If you want to reword and try to ask your question again, based on a biblical text that is properly handled, I will be happy to answer your question.


LM

August 29, 2007 7:33 PM  
Anonymous Angela said...

Antonio, can one believe in the "God" of Islam and be saved? Is there nothing unique about the Jesus of the Bible that makes him stand out among the other false religions? I think you are treading on a slippery slope here...


Angela

August 30, 2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 30, 2007 1:04 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Angela, what is unique about Jesus is that He gives eternal life.

If one believes that Jesus has given one eternal life, one believes in the Jesus of the Bible.

God Bless

Matthew

August 30, 2007 1:05 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Angela:

You are never going to get a straight up answer to a question like you just asked.


LM

August 30, 2007 1:54 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Myers said...

Lou,

LOL. You said...

Your question reveals a basic misunderstanding of Biblical terms and ideas of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and His Father.

If you want to reword and try to ask your question again, based on a biblical text that is properly handled, I will be happy to answer your question.


Nice tactic. I wonder where you learned that...? It's almost verbatim.

I am at least glad that you are using something from our previous dialogue...

August 30, 2007 2:16 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Angela,

thank you for taking the time to read the post and respond.

You say:
----------
Antonio, can one believe in the "God" of Islam and be saved?
----------
The Bible clearly states that one must believe into Jesus (with the specific content that He guarantees eternal life to the believer) in order to receive eternal life, and thus be eternally saved.

Do me a favor. Read this short article by me and you may respond if you like:

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

You write:
----------
Is there nothing unique about the Jesus of the Bible that makes him stand out among the other false religions?
----------
There are MANY things, Angela. But for reasons of soteriology, there is one essential and definitive uniqueness:

Only the real Jesus, who is the Christ, is the Guarantor of eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it.

You write:
----------
I think you are treading on a slippery slope here...
----------
With all due respect, you will see if you read the aforementioned post, why I believe that your position on the gospel is a dangerous slippery slope.

I sincerely thank you for your comments.

Antonio

August 30, 2007 5:56 PM  
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Jeremy:

Works well doesn't it?

Thought I'd demonstrate on Antonio's blog how you evade questions. Not very nice is it, Antonio?

I had the "2+2=Red" all set to go as well.


LM

August 30, 2007 7:31 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Myers said...

Lou,

Actually, I think it is a fair question. We need to understand that the differences between us are not so much with theology but with exegesis and the proper definition of Biblical terms that define that theology.

So, by way of asking Antonio's very good question, I submit the following people:

Nathaniel in John 1 puts "son of God" in apposition to "King of Israel." It appears he believed in Jesus for eternal life, but not that Jesus was God.

More clear is the woman at the well in John 4. She only thought that Jesus was a prophet, even though Jesus indicated to her that He was God. Even after she starts telling others about Him, she only refers to him as "a man." She clearly doesn't believe He is divine.

Again, the terms "Messiah" and "son of God" are understood by most commentaries and Bible scholars as not at all references to divinity...not that they are all correct...but if you think "Messiah" "Christ" and "Son of God" refer to divinity, the burden of proof lies on you to prove this exegetically, not based on tradition.

Then there are the disciples, who, after they had believed in Him, and He calms the storm, ask, "Who is this, who even the winds and waves obey him?" (Matt 8:27). They clearly don't believe He is God, and on and on. I have numerous other examples, but these are sufficient.

This is my understanding of these texts. I would like to see yours in answer to Antonio's excellent question. I don't want you to just call me a heretic without an explanation of thest texts. I want to see how you explain these texts. Prove to me from Scripture that Nathaniel, the woman at the well, and the apostles all knew that Jesus was God before or concurrent with their faith in Him for everlasting life.

(BTW, don't expect frequent responses from me...I really am trying to find the balance between ministry and family...blogging often falls near the bottom of my priorities...)

August 31, 2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Jeremy,

If the title "the Son of God" does not refer to Christ's unique relationship with the Father in which he is equal in Deity, what is the meaning of the term, "the Son of God" as it applies to Christ?

August 31, 2007 7:02 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Why does it not denote a unique relationship to the Father, period?

If I am the president and my son says he is the son of the president, is it assumed that my son is equal to me in my presidency?

Antonio

August 31, 2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 31, 2007 8:43 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Okay, then just tell me what "the Son of God" does mean in reference to Christ.

August 31, 2007 8:45 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

It is a term that denotes a unique relationship to the Father.

Furthermore, John imports specific, objective soteric content into the term as evidenced by John 11:25-27.

In John 11:25-26, Jesus asserts to the be the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to all who simply believe in Him. He asks Martha if she believes this.

In vs 27, Martha answers that question with "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God..." Mirroring the purpose statement in John 20:30, 31.

John persuasively shows that to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, is to believe that He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him.

Notice that it is sufficient to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God to have eternal life in John 20:30, 31. But Roman Catholics believe that import you give to them! But they are not saved.

Reason they are not saved: The Roman Catholics do not ascribe to these terms the import that the gospel writer John imports into them, as illustrated clearly in John 11:25-27.

Antonio

August 31, 2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

So the statement, "Jesus is the Son of God" (e.g. Mat. 16:18; 1John 5:5) simply means "Jesus has a unique relationship with the Father" but it does not imply Deity?

In what sense is "the Son of God" explanatory of "the Christ"? In your view, "the Christ" itself means "guarantor of eternal life".

Thanks,
Greg

August 31, 2007 8:58 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Jeremy, I'm also wondering if you believe "the Son of God" denotes a unique relationship Christ has to the Father? In another post, you said many people are called "sons of God" and it is not a legitimate distinction to point out the definite article in reference to Christ. So what is the significance of "the Son of God" in reference to Jesus? Does it denote anything particularly unique about Him?

August 31, 2007 9:10 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Greg,

you write:
----------
So the statement, "Jesus is the Son of God" (e.g. Mat. 16:18; 1John 5:5) simply means "Jesus has a unique relationship with the Father" but it does not imply Deity?
----------
When used by Jesus Himself in context, and by those referring to Jesus, it means a unique relationship to the Father, with a connotation that Jesus uniquely came from Him (which will answer your question to Jeremy). Does this infallibly denote deity? It is yours to make the case from Matt 16:18 and 1 John 5:5. So please be my guest.

I see you are staying away from this argument:

1) Greg and Catholics ascribe to the term "Son of God", when referring to Jesus, in the same way: deity

2) Catholics believe that Jesus is the "Son of God" in this sense (the same as Greg)

3) John 20:31 states that whoever believes that Jesus is the "Son of God" will have life in His name.

4) Catholics are not saved.

---------

Therefore the content that Greg and the Catholics ascribe to the term "Son of God", when referring to Jesus, is inadequate in some way.

Greg and the Catholics do not see that what makes believing that Jesus is the Christ salvific is that John has imported specific, objective soteric content into the term, namely, that as the Son of God, Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to all who simply believe in Him for it.

August 31, 2007 9:44 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Antonio, you and Jeremy are arguing what "the Son of God" does not mean, but you are not saying much about what it does mean. So far it means Jesus has a "unique relationship to the Father" which is extremely vague and it also means the same thing as your definition of "the Christ".

Rather than disputing with you, I was hoping to get information from Jeremy and you.

August 31, 2007 10:03 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

What is wrong with my syllogism, Greg? I think it is a strong argument against your assertions.

Furthermore, where have I defined "Christ"?

I don't think that "a unique relationship to the Father" which connotes that "Jesus came from the Father" is vague at all. It is full of meaning.

It means that in light of such a relationship, He has an intrinsic authority. And at the very least, He speaks in such authority. This is instrumental content to the term "Son of God". He has a unique relationship to the Father, and has come from Him.

But the objective, soteric content is as already discussed.

Antonio

August 31, 2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Antonio, you said "the Son of God" means Christ has a "unique relationship to the Father". I agree this COULD be full of meaning, but you left it very vague and said it does not refer to His Deity. His relationship to the Father is unique in what way?

Now you added that it connotes "Jesus came from the Father". Does that mean He came from the "bosom" of the Father (John 1:18) from eternity past? Did He "come from the Father" in a way that is different than prophets are sent by God?

You also just added that it means he has an intrinsic authority? Is this authority equal to that of Deity?

Finally, I have a question about your example of the President's son. To explain "The Son of God," you said this "If I am the president and my son says he is the son of the president, is it assumed that my son is equal to me in my presidency? Are you saying the Son of God is not equal to the Father in Deity?

Thanks,
Greg

August 31, 2007 10:49 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Myers said...

Greg,

I like Antonio's definition. Here is D.A. Carson's from his commentary on John:

"Readers of John's Gospel will quickly learn that the categories 'Son' and 'Son of God' are used to depict the unique relationship of oneness and intimacy between Jesus and the Father" (p. 162).

Earlier, he explains, as Antonio and I have pointed out, that "The expression 'the son of X' can have an extraordinarily wide range of meanings, owning in part to the influence of Hebrew on the Greek of the New Testament. Hebrew does not have as many adjetives as do some languages, and compensates for the lack of variety of idiomatic structures, including this one [i.e., the son of God]. Thus a 'wicked man' might be called 'a son of wickedness' (Ps 98:22), peopel in trouble are called 'sons of affliction' (Pr 31:5), valorous men are called 'sons of valor' (Dt 3:18). Those deserving death execution are 'sons of death' (1 Sa 26:16). Small wonder, then, that Judas Iscariot can be called (literally) a 'son of perdition.' In the sermon the mount, peacemakers are called 'sons of God (Mt 5:9), because their peacemaking attests that in this respect at least they are imitating God" (p. 161).

I have about twenty commentaries on John on my shelf here, and they all agree with this.

Your idea that "Son of God" = "God" is contrary to the way the phrase "Son of X" is used in Scripture, contrary to the other uses of "Son of God" and "sons of God" in Scripture, contrary to all extrabiblical literature, and contrary to nearly every commentary and word study book that is out there.

The burden of proof is on you to show that it means something else.

BTW, Carson has an excellent discussion of the word "Messiah" as well, in which he points out that not only is Cyrus called a Messiah in Isa 45:1, but also the king of Israel (1 Sa 16:6; 2 Sa 1:14), the high priest (Lev 4:3), and the patriarchs (Ps 105:15). (Carson, p. 155-156). The term Messiah (or Christ) therefore, cannot inherently mean "God." Again, nearly all the commentaries state this.

The bottom line, of course, is that I still haven't read an explanation of the texts I have listed above. I read a lot of questions, and a lot of accusations, but haven't seen any explanations. I have been forthright in explaining my position from Scripture - I hope you will do the same.

September 03, 2007 1:39 PM  
Blogger MrGiggs said...

No one can fully understand what "Son of God" means. Even bible scholars and 'mature' believers, much less the lost!

Sure, some might have it right, but no one will know until in the presence of God.

Sadly, a lost person will believe almost anything if they trust the person infoming them.

Here is what "Son of God" means...

It means "Son of God"

Yup, "Son of God" means "Son of God"

And thats ok.

It's ok to not know everything. I know thats hard to swallow for some of us, but having that kind of humble perspective usually works out better than ones that might 'appear' to be from some sort of stubborn arrogance.

*This doesn't mean one should take everything literally nor does it mean one should cease searching the scriptures.

The bible says Jesus is the Son of God. If someone believes this literal description but doesn't understand all it implies, will God punish him?

Everyone here believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Everyone here believes Jesus died on the cross and rose again as a sacrifice for our sins.

Everyone here believes we are eternally saved by grace through faith ALONE, not by anything else.

As an athletic coach its always sad to see a team full of brilliantly talented individuals.

The most important part of our job is forming diverse, individual players into a true team. There are great demands from the players such as humility, sacrifice, commitment, and acceptance.

The cost is high but the results are priceless.

September 03, 2007 6:58 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Jeremy, you said:

I like Antonio's definition. Here is D.A. Carson's from his commentary on John:

"Readers of John's Gospel will quickly learn that the categories 'Son' and 'Son of God' are used to depict the unique relationship of oneness and intimacy between Jesus and the Father"


Do you believe someone needs to believe Jesus is "the Son of God" (as you've defined it) to be saved?

September 06, 2007 8:33 PM  

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