XI. Of the Justification of Man.

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136 Responses

  1. Kevin H says:

    I haven’t posted in a little while, but I might as well go ahead and claim a FIRST since it is there for the taking.

    I agree wholly with this one. I believe it is an essential to the faith, however, I don’t necessarily believe that one needs to agree with it in order to be saved. Meaning that I think that one may not believe in justification by faith only, thinking that works or other means also play a part in it, but as long as they have a genuine faith in Christ, they will still be saved.

  2. Not gonna be much argument on this one. I agree, and this is primary, in my opinion.

  3. Em says:

    “Is this essential? Is it at least essential in understanding salvation? ”
    maybe the question is then, do we have to understand salvation to receive it? if so how much?

  4. Xenia says:

    To tell you the truth, I don’t even understand what this means anymore, if I ever did.

  5. Xenia says:

    … because, it’s not as simple as explained in the Article. A belief in “justification by faith ALONE” involves many corollary doctrines such as Imputation, penal substitutionary atonement. It involves the Five Solas and a whole slew of other doctrines of the Reformation.

    Not at simple as it first appears.

  6. Babylon's Dread says:

    I will agree as far as it goes… I am still looking for those who believe we are saved by some other means. I have yet to find any Christian denomination that avows to believing in works that merit salvation. Loads of them believe works must co-exist with faith for faith to be valid but none that I know of espouse straight forwardly that we are saved other than by the work of Christ and his merits alone.

    I often these days find myself wondering if we are baying at the moon in our doctrinal debates… one thing sure the moon is unperturbed.

    Surely someone will point me to the Roman church but over and again the Romans argue that the sacraments are a means of accessing the grace of God and not a work done to merit his favor.

    You have to enter the world of cults to find those who avow works….

    So with that in mind… YES this is a necessary doctrine.

  7. Xenia says:

    I agree with Dread, more or less.

  8. but, if there is no definitive passage of Scripture on the subject, perhaps the definition isn’t cut and dry (on our level of understanding) as we want to make the entering into God’s redemption – i am convinced that it occurs in our hearts, however – at some point between an individual and the Triune God, we enter into a transaction where we realize and confess, “my Lord and my God” – not a self induced conjure or conjecture, but just a glimpse of our sin and His holiness perhaps? … or, in the case of the child raised in the Church perhaps it is just the gradual affirming as their lives unfold – dunno – the only thing i’m sure of is that it involves our hearts and only God can judge those accurately 100% of the time

  9. It depends on how the parties nuance their statements – the Lutheran confession on Justification was simple in the Augsburg. The Rome responded in the Confutation, which led to the more detailed confession on Justification in the Defense of Augsburg.

    http://bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.php#article4

    Article 4 is the simple. If you look under, you can click on the Roman response (Confutation) and also the Apology (defense)

    Note that the Confutation does say ” For it is entirely contrary to holy Scripture to deny that our works are meritorious.”

  10. This was such a big deal back then, that people don’t realize that this was the birth of the… wait for it… the Roman Catholic Church.
    The response to the Lutheran writings, teachings and rebellions led to the Council of Trent which officially separated Rome from any other church affiliation

  11. CANON 9: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.”

    CANON 12: “If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified … let him be accursed”

    Canon 14: “If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.”

    The Lutheran Church is still under this anathema.

    There are more – see Canons #23; 24; 30; 33

    Until Trent is revoked, I take issue with Babs’ comments

  12. Xenia says:

    It’s the word “alone” that is problematic. As you all know and I’m embarrassed to trot it out again but I guess I must, the only place in the scriptures where the phrase “by faith alone” is mentioned is James 2:24: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone” which means exactly what it says with no need to explain it away by appeals to Greek dictionaries, etc.

    But what are works, that’s the question.

    1. Do we believe that a Buddhist (for example) who is full of kindness, humility and generosity but has no faith in Christ is saved? No, Do we believe that the New Ager who rescues cats is saved by her good works? No. Do we believe that the baptized person who has no faith or interest in Christ but gives to charity is saved? Not yet, maybe he will be eventually, God is at work!

    2. Do we believe that Jews who attempt to keep the OT Law are saved? No.

    So there’s two kinds of non-saving works, the good deeds and pleasant disposition of non-Christians and the Law-keeping of non-Christian Jews. These works will not save a person.

    If “works” include things like baptism, confession, the Eucharist and other sacraments- yes, they have a significant role in one’s salvation. I would not call them “works” but many do. Some people think that any activity that takes place outside the skull is a “work,” resulting in a very brain-oriented religion in contrast to a heart-oriented faith.

    If you want to say works are the proof of salvation, that is true but not all the truth. We are saved by cooperating with God. Synergism. Frankly, this is the only explanation for salvation that has ever made a shred of sense to me.

    If salvation is a one-time event (as we have discussed here many times) then I understand why people might adopt the “faith alone” doctrine because if you are going to make a one-time decision then yes, it would be by faith and not of any work (although you could even make the case that saying the Sinner’s Prayer, for example, is a work.) If salvation is a journey towards God then obviously, OBVIOUSLY, it’s a journey that’s going to involve works: receiving sacraments (food for the journey), prayers, fasting, good deeds of all kinds. <—- These things are part of the Christian journey and we believe- I believe- they are part of working out your salvation.

    I have found that faith produces more good works and good works increase my faith. There is no reason to force a radical divide between faith and works.

    There are many examples of this in Scripture. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" the lawyer asks? And Jesus does not respond with a Reformation-style sermon on "salvation by faith alone. No, he tells the story of the Good Samaritan.

  13. Another Voice says:

    If we reference James, (and we should), one thing is certain. The ‘works’ James speaks of in context have nothing to do with baptism, confession, or the Eucharist. They are not even remotely in his argument.

  14. Xenia says:

    I actually agree with the Roman Catholics in MLD’s post although I would not anathematize a whole group of people. However, those who believe they are saved because they have made a mental assent but have done nothing at all to demonstrate that they are truly saved, such people have anathematized themselves.

  15. Lutheran says:

    From my understanding of EO, I can see why someone like Xenia would see things like baptism, the Eucharist, etc. as playing a role in salvation. The EO see salvation as a process, not a 1-time event. Faith and works are intertwined. Saving faith is a process. In that context and from that POV, it makes perfect sense.

    If I’m wrong, please correct what I’ve said.

  16. Xenia says:

    Lutheran, God bless you, you got it!

  17. Xenia says:

    And “intertwined” was a very good choice of words.

  18. Lutheran says:

    Thanks, Xenia.

    I know enough to be dangerous.

    🙂

  19. Another Voice says:

    I see salvation as a process (well, the Bible does and I just agree). Salvation is tied with verbs in the past, present, and future tense. I’ve written this before.

    We have been saved from the penalty of sin. (Justification)
    We are being saved from the power of sin. (Sanctification)
    We will be saved from the presence of sin. (Glorification)

    Sure salvation is a process. It also is a one-time event. It also is something none of us have yet. Depends on what relationship to sin we are talking about.

  20. Xenia says:

    We say something like that, not exactly the same though:

    We were saved at the Cross
    We are being saved now
    We will be (fully) saved in heaven

  21. Xenia says:

    This sweet little video explains the Orthodox view of salvation and I apologize to MLD who won’t be able to watch it on his phone.

  22. Em says:

    yes, but … 🙂 …
    doesn’t logic tell us that the new birth is going to show up in our living? can’t we say that there is a different result from ‘seeing’ that God is perfect and i’m not and getting to the brink of Truth, then backing off with a conclusion that i’m good enough, or trying my best or i’m so bad what’s the use or whatever form of self justification or flagellation one chooses to use to shield oneself from a holy God – a difference from the seeing that results in losing oneself in God, searching His love, His salvation and provisions etc; isn’t this latter what defines Faith, the faith that justifies us in God’s sight?

  23. I think Xenia has made a very poor example of the lawyer’s conversation with Jesus.

    “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” – He is asking “what must “I” do. – does anyone do anything to receive an inheritance? No!! it is not up to the recipient – the decision is made by the donor / dead person. So, it is not good enough for him that Jesus has bequeathed to him eternal life, he wants to do it himself.

    As is seen in verse 29

    “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?””

    In other words, this is NOT the way to get save or to participate in your own salvation.

  24. Em says:

    #22 amen to one thing at least – our salvation begins at the cross where we crucified Christ and, now, continues at the cross (perhaps one can say we must submit to the crucifying of our own old rebel, sinful nature?) hard to talk about the wonder of this provision and stay succinct when the whole of it is bigger than my mind can contain in the first place

  25. Xenia says:

    Yep, well, the Reformed folks and the children of the Reformed are not going to accept the Orthodox view so there you have it. I’m just here today to explain another POV, not get into a debate.

  26. Xenia says:

    I should have said “Reformation folks,” not “Reformed folks.”

  27. I think all of you are saved. We might disagree on how that happened, but I see the love of Christ in each of you. Maybe you are confused as to the details, maybe I am wrong on the details. Either way, I think all of you are God’s children.

  28. Mark says:

    I believe there are many people, millions actually, who think they are saved becasue of their regular church attendance, baptism, confession and communion. There is no fruit of the spirit in their life- because they have never been indwelt with the Holy Spirit. They have never been born again. They are not saved. They believe in a doctrine of works. And that belief is reinforced by the religious system they adhere to.

  29. Xenia says:

    We have a prophet among us! Mark can look into the hearts of millions of people and can determine if they are saved or not! Wow, I am in awe!

  30. Lutheran says:

    Attaboy, Mark.

  31. Lutheran says:

    Should have added:

    SARCASM MODE OFF.

  32. I was just going to say the same. Mark – how do you evaluate fruit in someone’s life.

    Also, it is a typical answer from someone who does not believe that God uses physical means to deliver, grace, forgiveness and salvation.

  33. Another Voice says:

    There can certainly be no debate that Jesus was clear that many assume they are Christians and are in fact told “I never knew you” and sent to hell.

    Of course, on an individual basis, nobody can with 100% certainty speak of the salvation of another. We are not to judge in that regard, BUT we are to judge in anothe way.

    The Bible tells us not to be unequally yoked, instructs us on how to ordain leaders in the church and so forth, the Bible tells us that we don’t simply accept someone who says “I’m a Christian” – but we examine their lives.

    One of my favorite verses in this regard is Jesus’ words on church discipline when there is no repentance He says “Let him be unto you LIKE a tax collector” – only God knows whether the person is saved and just stiff in rebellion….but the church is to treat such a person as if they were unsaved in terms of their dealings with that person.

  34. Em says:

    Mark, there are many shades of grey where works are concerned from what i listen to folk say … so much of the Epistles’ teaching on the subject has contextual applications (yes, i believe some things, like the gospel of John 3:16, are blanket stand-alone statements) …

    would any of us defend the stand that some take: “I asked Jesus into my heart” = done deal, fire insurance accomplished and i’ll see You later (in Eternity) Jesus? … perhaps, but not me

    i just must say that it is a lifetime journey, detours happen, full of confusions and trials and choices based on a myriad of human-caused interferences = forgiveness sought and accepted, if Christ is our center – if not? if not we’re playing games of some sort or other IMHO? absolutely humble opinion – God knows, i ponder … or … God knows. i ponder.

  35. Another Voice says:

    When I apply to seminary, since they are only looking to educate people who already are Christians, I had to fill out an application for evaluation.

    It contained two major parts.

    1) I had to explain my beliefs on the essentials of the faith. Included was an explanation of how I became a Christian, and how long ago that was.

    2) I had to answer questions about my character. How many times had I been married (and explain in detail any divorces). Any arrests for any reason? I had to provide character references of people who knew me specifically as a Christian. This included pastoral references.

    Now, the seminary still can’t say that I am a Christian based on that information. But it gives them something to judge and evaluate. We do this in many ways in the church. It matters little if someone simply SAYS “Sure, I’m a Christian”

    Why do you call me “Lord”, “Lord”, and not do the things that I say?

  36. Xenia says:

    There is no fruit of the spirit in their life- because they have never been indwelt with the Holy Spirit. <<<

    Clearly the Prophet Mark does not know the same people I know.

  37. Em says:

    “Why do you call me “Lord”, “Lord”, and not do the things that I say?” that IS the question, isn’t it?
    Luke 6:47 – “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
    He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
    But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
    and then the question comes to mind (mine anyway) is that foundation salvation, itself, or is it the life we Believers live?

  38. Look, if the person says that “Jesus Christ is Lord”, is that not enough to take him at his word? The Bible says that no one can say that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit – and the only way you get the Holy Spirit is to be a Christian. (and I am not talking about some smart alec atheist saying it.)

    AV, I think your examples of the questions about seminary and who qualifies for a position is more about a person’s (and this probably is not the right term) good standing in living his faith versus are you in or out.

  39. Another Voice says:

    If the person says that “Jesus Christ is Lord”, is that not enough to take him at his word?
    —————————————-
    No.

    The Lord Jesus Christ came and visited a man named Joseph Smith and told him that he, Joseph, would be instrumental in restoring Christ’s ancient church to the world. Joseph Smith became the 1st prophet in modern times. like Peter or James or John from the new testament or like moses or Abraham from the old testament Joseph smith preached what the Lord taught him. under the direction of the Lord Joseph smith established the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints (from mormon.org)

  40. Xenia says:

    “Jesus Christ is Lord” works if you are talking about the right Jesus Christ!

  41. AV,
    OK – so I tell you Jesus is Lord and that is not good enough. So, now what kind of hoop are you going to make me jump through that will prove to you I am a Christian?

    This is where it get’s dicey – this is not much different than those who say you must speak in tongues to prove you are saved.

    This is why someone who looks outside of themselves for their assurance of salvation get blasted – If you were talking to some 100 yr old Bulgarian woman and asked her why she was saved and she answered – “because God bestowed his grace on me through my baptism when I was 2 weeks old” you would throw the yellow flag and yell foul!”

  42. Xenia says:

    It’s the Lord Himself who determines these things, ultimately.

    However, we can make an educated guess if we have to, for the purpose of hiring a pastor, choosing a spouse, etc. And as it says in James, all we can go by are works. If the person says he has faith but keeps it bottled up inside his skull and it never manifests itself in anything tangible then we have nothing to go on except what he says about himself.

  43. I think Xenia is bringing truth at 41 and 43.

    There are probably a bunch of little scriptural loopholes we can find, but ultimately, if the person loves Jesus, and it is the real Jesus…well, what else can we say. We can try to move them towards a deeper understanding of Him, as we are given faith to do so. But, if somebody tells me that Jesus is God and lives their life accordingly, I’m going to treat them as a family member.

  44. Another Voice says:

    MLD, Are you arguing that it is not physically possible for an unsaved person to speak the words “Jesus is Lord” – Or are you saying one can’t say those words IN SINCERITY and with the TRUE MEANING of what “Lord” implies? Because if the latter, you are no different than me. And if the former, then you need a course in biology or something.

    The ones that Jesus sends to hell that thought they were saved are addressing Him as Lord.

    I quoted from mormon.org (nice dodge as if I am the one with the weak point). There you have a Mormon describing the foundation of their whole faith – calling Jesus, Lord.

    Surely you have seen countless celebrities mouth “First, I want to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus” – I used to get excited about those until I realized that rappers who won Grammys singing about beating their ho’s jacked up on crack were also doing so.

    There must be hundreds of rock songs that refer to Jesus as Lord in a casual, sometimes blasphemous, manner. Are all those guys (at least the vocalists) saved. (Or do you make my point by dismissing all those examples as insincere?)

    Back to my original point. It does not matter if someone claims to be a Christian, because God will deal with all that at judgement. You don’t have to prove anything to me. What does matter is if I am supposed to be yoked in some way with this person, for I am commanded to not be yoked with an unbeliever. So, yeah, I’ll investigate, and I still may be wrong (in either accepting or denying) but it will be far more than simply saying “Dude, you believe Jesus is Lord?” – Sure, man. OK, you can marry my daughter. OK, let’s go into business together. OK, you can serve here.

    You’re simplistic question would definitely get you yoked with lots of Mormons. As well as lots of just garden-variety unbelievers.

    Go back and read the passage about church discipline again. What Jesus teaches there. Learn something. (And stay on topic. 🙂 )

  45. Another Voice says:

    I’m imagining all those sitcoms where some guy can’t physically say the words “I was wrong”….The joke is always “I was wrrrrrooo” “I was woooohhrrr” (I think the Fonz did that)

    Repeat after me. “Jesus is Lord” “Jesus is Lllllaaaah”, Jesus is Luuuaaa”

    How about reading Romans within a little context?

  46. Another Voice says:

    but ultimately, if the person loves Jesus, and it is the real Jesus…well, what else can we say.
    ————————————————-
    Yes. And we find out if they are talking about the real Jesus by asking them some basic theological questions. And we find out if they love Him by seeking whether they show a desire to keep His commandments. If you love me, keep my commandments.

    Which is what my seminary app that MLD objected to was all about.

    Xenia, Josh and I are all saying the same thing.

  47. AV,
    1.) My comments were on topic – based on what Mark said.
    2.) Of course I was talking of people who are sincere – that is why I eliminated the smart alec atheist.

    Your probing questions are not to find out if someone is saved – your questions are used to find out “how saved” – or if they line up with your views of how a Christian lives and acts.

    If you went back and followed some of the hippies who came to Christ in the 60s you would find many of them still living in the Laguna canyons smoking weed etc. – and you would declare them “unsaved” like the rap singers – even though over the years God worked to clean them up.

    What I am arguing for is I take people at their word – they may not be “holy” enough yet to marry my daughter, go into business with or work in my ministry … but I will still look at them as a brother / sister until I hear them deny the faith.

  48. And I do want to say that there are fake Christians out there – but we have no way of knowing who by what they say or what they do.

  49. Paul A. Lytton says:

    After reading all of these comments my question is not so much how to know if others are Saved, but how to know if I am Saved.

    Actually it is not the fault of these comments; I never felt it was “proper” for me to positively claim my own Salvation. All I can do is understand that God is Righteous and I am Worthless. I adamantly admit this and trust in Jesus to determine if I am Saved or not. If not, I agree and accept His decision.

    Jesus is my only hope; He is the only thing that makes any sense as to how to be Saved. (Living an entire life without one sin) If He can bestow me with His Grace and Mercy I am eternally grateful.

    Mean time I choose to Praise Jesus and live the best unselfish life I can without expectation of reward; just because I consider that it is the right thing to do.

  50. Lutheran says:

    I think Mark’s comment was probably especially directed at one particular church; without divulging who that is, it sounds similar to the Shmoman Shmatholic Church. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he was raised in that church. There’s an old saying, “The most violent anti-(fill in the blank) is an ex-(fill in the blank).”

    Of course, churches like mine and Xenia’s get painted with the same broad brush, quite often. I’ve had evangelicals along the way question whether I’m a “true Christian” because I’m a Lutheran. Doesn’t really bother me; usually I just feel sorry for them, that they think there’s only one way to come into God’s Kingdom.

  51. Lutheran says:

    The other funny thing is how very subjective our judgments of others’ “fruit” and salvation are. It’s almost totally subjective. I remember when I went through a Baptist phase when I was a teenager and their literature always outlined what a Christian did and didn’t do. Today, that’s changed. I remember in my charismatic phase, it was, “They’ve really got (or lack) the anointing.” Totally subjective.

    But depending on what circles you run it, spirituality is still judged among us. Kind of a waste of time, if you ask me. We’re better off living Christ to those around us!

  52. Another Voice says:

    Lutheran, I think that is why objective questions are far better. If you ask someone about his divorces, that is objective. Arrest record. And even there all I am suggesting is further examination because, let’s face it, if someone says they got saved in 1990 and then has 4 divorces in the last 22 years, the person still might be saved (only God knows) but it is likely not someone we want to partner with in ministry.

    I gag when people talk simply about ‘the anointing’

    MLD, So that guy in Corinth having sex with his father’s wife – was he simply a first century version of a hippy who hadn’t quite yet been ‘cleaned up’ by God, and therefore Paul was quite wrong to command what he commanded? Or was Paul acknowledging the possibility of salvation in the eyes of God, but that the sin warranted being treated like an unbeliever.

    If some hippy is regularly getting high and then telling me all about his love for Jesus, I’m going to tell him to get sober. I believe that is a great example of what I am talking about, because someone born again will WANT to do God’s will, and want to get sober – even if they battle and relapse. Someone who insists God is cool with them getting high every night is someone I am going to consider an unbeliever until I see repentance. And again, it only matters if this guy wants to have something to do with me. I’m not going to argue with him if he starts some sort of stoners for Jesus blog, or goes to the church down the street – let God deal with all that.

    And this has never been about taking people at their word. To repeat yet again, someone wants to call themselves a Christian, big deal.

    You offered some litmus test about calling Jesus, Lord. Even though that does not exclude Mormons and a lot of others.

    I’m glad you admit to what the Bible clearly teaches, that there are “fake” Christians out there. And glad to see you say that you would offer some sort of evaluation before getting yoked with somebody, just because they claimed to be a Christian.

  53. “And this has never been about taking people at their word. To repeat yet again, someone wants to call themselves a Christian, big deal”

    You misunderstand my original point about Mark’s comment. I am saying if someone in conversation tells me that they are a Christian or they state that Jesus is Lord, I take them at their word – just like I would expect others to extend to me.

    You on the other hand will hand out a questionnaire and say “prove it.”.

    And yes, I do not think that you understand the Corinthians passage either, if you think the guy was not a Christian – why else would Paul say “hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.”

    If he wasn’t a Christian, how was his spirit saved?

    Again, my point, no one would look at this guy and think he was a Christian – but he was. I don’t know of anyone who excommunicates non Christians from their church.

    When you teach through Corinthians you will figure this out. 😉

  54. Another Voice says:

    Ah MLD, you are so eager to argue you aren’t even reading straight. 🙂

    Try again some other time.

  55. Reuben says:

    Paul, here comes the saying.

    If you are wrong about Jesus, it just plain don’t matter what you are right about.
    If you are right about Jesus, it just plain don’t matter what you are wrong about.

  56. Mark says:

    You guys are unbelivable. Is there anyhting in my post at 29 that is false? Ifso- please point it out. The bible is clear that many wil lclaim salvation but the Lord “never knew ye”. The bible is clear that the believer is indwelt with the Holy Spirit and that you will see fruit in the life of the believer. I never stated I know who is saved or unsaved. However- I grieve for a religious system that deceives its followers into believing they can work their way into Heaven. To dismiss that fact is to be in denial.

  57. Mark,
    You are absolutely wrong on 2 points.

    1.) “who think they are saved becasue of their regular church attendance, baptism, confession and communion.”

    You deny the very words of scripture where Jesus himself says that he meets us to deliver grace, forgiveness and salvation – Church attendance to hear His word proclaimed – in the waters of baptism where he has promised to wash away our sins and to deliver to us the Holy Spirit – in confession, where he has promised to give us absolution and in communion where he has promised to give us his very body & blood.. the true and real bread of life.

    2.) “There is no fruit of the spirit in their life- because they have never been indwelt with the Holy Spirit.”

    Again, you deny scriptures that talk about these very acts being the”fruit of the spirit. But the worst part is, how do you know enough about these people to know that they do not have this spiritual quality?

    You speak in the abstract – but I am here to tell you that if I see someone in regular church attendance, having been baptized, confessing their sins and partaking in the Lord’s Table, I will believe them to be a Christian before I believe someone who just wears a fish necklace, carries a Bible and raises their hands during some praise song. Your denial that God delivers what he has promised to deliver during those activities makes me wonder who has the fruit of the spirit and who doesn’t.

  58. And to clear up one thing I said yesterday, when I said I do agree that there are fake Christians in the church. They are fake Christians, but they know that they are fake Christians. There is no one who is like Mark described and AV seemed to buy his description who really thinks that they are Christians, they confess Christ as Lord, they regularly hear the word, they are baptized, they confess their sin and partake of the table.

    The fake Christians are those who join a Church for their own motives, to gain respectability, business contacts, they are lonely, looking for a mate etc. And they go through the motions.

    But that wasn’t Mark’s claim.

  59. Why are they crying “lord, lord” if they knew they weren’t saved?

  60. I didn’t say that they didn’t think they were saved – I said that they were fake Christians.

    Many people think that they are saved, who don’t even go to church. Jews, Muslims and atheists all think they are saved will all say Lord, Lord and they never made the claim.to be Christians.

    But Josh, this is our difference, I believe that hearing God’s word, baptism, confession and absolution along with communion are efficacious – they do what they promise to do because they are God’s works and God’s promise to us… some folks deny that.

  61. But they’ll be calling Jesus Lord, Lord. Jews Muslims and Atheists are doing that.

  62. Another Voice says:

    MLD..a very simple question. Don’t dodge.

    You bemoan the ELCA regularly here. Now, are you saying that 100% ELCA members are saved and will not be denied heaven.

    If not, then those who are members of the ELCA, but are going to hell, do you honestly believe they all know they aren’t real Christians.

    The ELCA does have baptism and communion too, right?

  63. AV,
    I bemoan the denomination – not the individual churches.

    Obviously you don’t understand “efficacious” if you think I think 100% of the people who do these acts are saved. There is a law / gospel aspect to the preached word, confession and the communion – and it is 100% effective – it comforts or it condemns.

    So, if it condemns some, then yes the do know that they are not saved – we call them unbelievers.

    But here is the issue – you don’t think any of these do anything on their own.

  64. “But they’ll be calling Jesus Lord, Lord. Jews Muslims and Atheists are doing that.”

    I will assume you are saying “Jews Muslims and Atheists AREN’T doing that.

    So are you saying that only Fake Christians are at the judgement?

  65. Another Voice says:

    MLD, to repeat, every unsaved member of the ELCA church KNOWS he/she is unsaved. That is your position.

  66. I don’t know why you load your question with “every” and I don’t know why you identify the ELCA and I have a feeling is I say “yes” I will get an earful and if I say “No” I will get the same.

    But I will say this – we have a different view of how salvation works. I go back to my example of the 100 year old Bulgarian woman if she were asked “how or why are you saved (a question that only an evangelical would ask of a professing Christian) and she were to say “because Jesus saved me at my baptism when I was 2 weeks old” – you would not consider that sufficient – you would want her to explain her Christology and give her testimony about her life before Christ.

    I know many in my church that have no more of a testimony than that – that Jesus saved them as a baby and that they claim him as their savior daily. I do not put them to the test.

  67. Another Voice says:

    MLD, I’m just showing how, in the real world, your comments are so much wet tissue paper.

    I say ‘every’ because YOU make universal, absolute comments that then you refuse to actually apply to real flesh and blood.

    I asked you to say yes or no in order to actually hear your view. Don’t weasel out thinking you are in a debate trap. If you stand by your comments, then say ‘yes’. It was a simple question that followed your claims, not mine.

    YOU are the one who said that every fake Christian knows he/she is not really saved.

    This isn’t about me, except to the measure that you apply your knee-jerk objection to what it seems the Bible is fairly clear about – that many call Jesus Lord and are shocked and surprised when He sends them to hell.

  68. Actually, I think you think what I think but are afraid to say so.

    You don’t think that fake Christians who do not have the holy spirit don’t know that they don’t have the holy spirit?

    But let me see if I can be more clear – I think anyone who hears God’s word proclaimed, confesses Jesus Christ as lord, believes that baptism has washed away their sins and has delivered to them the holy spirit, who confesses their sin and receives absolution and who partakes of the body and blood of Christ for the grace that is promised to be delivered is saved. Each of those acts are their silent reception of God’s good gifts..

    Remember, my comments about this are in answer to Mark who flatly denies that any of this saves a person.

  69. Xenia says:

    Remember, my comments about this are in answer to Mark who flatly denies that any of this saves a person.<<<

    Not only does Mark deny that these things save a person he believes that those who believe they do are not born again.

  70. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Mark said:

    “I believe there are many people, millions actually, who think they are saved becasue of their regular church attendance, baptism, confession and communion. There is no fruit of the spirit in their life- because they have never been indwelt with the Holy Spirit. They have never been born again. They are not saved. They believe in a doctrine of works. And that belief is reinforced by the religious system they adhere to.”

    This^^^^^^^^^^^

  71. SolRod,
    But then many if not most evangelicals think they are saved simply because they followed The Formula.

    Finney has won the battle in American Christianity.

  72. I guess we can put it in a nutshell.
    Some Christians go back to their baptism for assurance of their salvation – because God did it.
    Some Christians go back to their own confession of faith for assurance of their salvation – because they did it.

  73. Em says:

    it seems to me that so much depends on whether the ritual (for want of a better term) is an *affirmation* of that which we believe (of where our hearts and minds are) or is elevated to a stand alone efficacy – a ritual with power in and of itself, no matter the mind or the heart of the participant – that seems almost … ? … pagan? … ? … dunno

  74. “Some Christians go back to their own confession of faith for assurance of their salvation – because they did it.”

    DO we continue to refute this strawman?….

    Nah, I’m worn out.

  75. Xenia says:

    You can make it real simple:

    Those who make it a habit of life to say Yes to God will join Him in the afterlife.

    Those who make it a habit of life to say No to God will not join Him in the afterlife.

  76. Xenia says:

    Even I, who believes “baptism does now save us” don’t believe evangelicals think they are saving themselves when they answer God’s call.

  77. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    For me it’s Just Belief, Baptism and Repentance

  78. Em says:

    “…evangelicals think they are saved simply because they followed The Formula …” forgetting your little escape hatches of “many” and “most:”
    confessing Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God? as Savior and Lord? … that’s a “Formula?” God have mercy on our souls

  79. Xenia says:

    I have to agree with Em here.

    MLD, let’s you and I not get so carried away with enthusiasm for our new-found churches that we completely disdain the folks we came from. Seriously.

  80. Em says:

    “Those who make it a habit of life to say Yes to God will join Him in the afterlife.” amen – that works for me …
    because our Shepherd won’t let us, perhaps? ahh, there’s the rub … it’s enough to agree that Life in Christ is a habit that we return to over and over and it is good

  81. Mark says:

    You can misstate what I said all you want. Here is what I said: There are millions who think they are saved because of their regular church attendance, baptism, confession and communion. That is exactly what I said. None of these works SAVE A PERSON. A person who is saved can, of course, particiapte in these works as an act of faith. But these works in and of themselves save no one. This is biblical. These works,. devoid of faith, are like filthy rags (dirty tampons actually). That is how much weight the Scruipture gives to tehse works. And I maintain again, that there are MILLIONS of people through the ages who ritually engaged in these works aceepting the teaching of their church that hese works saved them. You can keep believing that these works save people, but without faith you are in for a rude awakening.

  82. Em, what is the difference between me calling it a formula and you calling it a ritual … with the tag question Pagan?

    But if I can verbalize the Formula “if you prayed that prayer, and meant it, you are saved.” No definition of “meant it” 😉

    “confessing Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God? as Savior and Lord? … that’s a “Formula?” God have mercy on our souls”

    AV, doesn’t think that is enough as expressed in our previous exchanges

  83. ““Some Christians go back to their own confession of faith for assurance of their salvation – because they did it.”

    I wasn’t saying that they saved themselves – what I said was that the only thing they can go back to to assure themselves is the part that they see they did. (listen to any evangelical testimony and it still hinges on their action, even if it is in response.

    I know I get grief for people answering the question “how do you know you are save” when the answer comes back “because I am baptized.”

  84. Xenia says:

    None of these works SAVE A PERSON. <<<

    But actually they do as they represent cooperation with God's grace.

  85. Mark,
    “But these works in and of themselves save no one. ” – I don’t know what you are including here, but let’s just assume good deeds. In that case I don’t know anyone who would disagree.

    But how do you know what the motivation is of the people doing these works? Why do you assume that there was zero faith involved?

    This is where your arrogance is showing. Can you name a person you know, that is doing all good works for the church and has no faith, or is this just story telling?

  86. Another Voice says:

    AV, doesn’t think that is enough as expressed in our previous exchanges
    —————————
    Total misrepresentation. Thankfully, the transcript of the discussion exists for others to read, or this would be as profitable as a VP debate.

  87. AV,
    I love you brother 🙂
    But from my very first mention that I accept people’s confession of their faith that Jesus is lord on face value – your first responses were about vetting people – you brought up about your seminary questionnaire, about being unequally yoked in marriage and business and about who could serve in your ministry.

    Now, perhaps you weren’t addressing my statements, perhaps you had a completely different thought in mind – but it sure sounded like you were replying to me. 😉 .

  88. perhaps and probably, much that is said here is misunderstood as we all try to avoid pedantry (which only some of us have the ability to create in the first place) 😆

    again … my take away blessed thought will be Xenia’s “Those who make it a habit of life to say Yes to God will join Him in the afterlife.” sometimes that “yes” precedes, “forgive me, Father, for, yes, i have sinned … again”

    God keep

  89. Another Voice says:

    But from my very first mention that I accept people’s confession of their faith that Jesus is lord on face value – your first responses were about vetting people – you brought up about your seminary questionnaire, about being unequally yoked in marriage and business and about who could serve in your ministry.
    ————————————–
    I love you too brother. But you might re-check the chronology there.

    The posts are in number order for your convenience. 🙂

  90. AV,
    You are correct about the chronology – one for you.

    But our first conversation together – #40

    ME – “If the person says that “Jesus Christ is Lord”, is that not enough to take him at his word?
    —————————————-
    YOU – No.

  91. Mark says:

    I have witnessed to individuals who belong to these religious systems. I have shared the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ- for being born again of the Spirit. They tell me that their salvation lies in the sacraments. They tell me that they go to church and partake in the sacraments and they are going to heaven. They have no clue what the Holy Spirit is- they call it the Holy Ghost and think it has something to do with Caspar. You call me arrogant. I grew up in this church and practiced this false religion for 34 years. I myself believed I was gonig to Heaven becasue I was baptized and I partook in the sacraments. That is a lie- a decption from Satan that will keep millions of people from eternity with Jesus. You can keep your head in the sand on this and contnue to belive the lie. I know better.

  92. Mark says:

    It grieves my heart to think that Christians reject what I am saying. That you would call me arrogant- sarcasticly call me a Prophet- say I’m 100% wrong- it is sad to think you are OK with millions of people being deceived. Do you also believe that Mormons are saved? Jehovah’s Witnesses are saved? If so, we have a radically contrasting view of what Scripture teaches about salvation.

  93. Mark,
    The objection was how you presented it. Let me ask you this – are these people you are talking about, are they denying Christ, are they denying the Holy Spirit?

    If not. let’s take an inventory – they confess Christ (I am sure they say the creed), they sit and hear God’s word, they have been baptized, they confess their sin and receive absolution, they pray the prayers, including the prayer given by Jesus, and they receive the body and blood of Jesus – all of these things delivering what Jesus promised to deliver… and because the use the term Holy Ghost (in good KJV style) and don’t have a strong understanding of the Holy Ghost – you proclaim them unsaved.

  94. Em says:

    i think that “ritual without reality” is a term we’ve all heard and Mark is right in his observation that many depend on a casual *performance* of rituals with no time spent thinking on the reality that the rituals are designed to focus one on … they don’t take God personally

    now this is surely not true of MLD or Xenia and, evidently, those folks who are so casual have not appeared on their radar either, but there’s a lot of mindless observers of rituals out there? … don’t know how it does or will affect them when they appear before the Lord on that day … but so sad to be so spiritually dry, at the very least

    or so it seems from here as i sit recovering from unloading half of a floor to ceiling book case – (1 and 1/2 more to go) … they didn’t seem that heavy as we brought them home one at a time over the last 50 years

  95. Reuben says:

    Mark, here is the dividing line in theological trains of thought. Some here would believe that salvation is entirely a work of God. In reading your comments, you seem to think that it must be proven. So I would challenge you with this. Is it your place to look into the book of life? You may think, “of course not!” but the reality is that you would judge the lives of people and determine on your own what it is that constitutes “saved”.

    I have known many folks like you describe. Some of them have grown immensely. Some seem content to sleep through Sundays. My perception matters not. The Holy Spirit draws. Jesus saves. We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings.

    You may reject this premise, but I postulate this. You were saved even when you believed you were gonig to Heaven because you were baptized and you partook in the sacraments. It was not something you turned on one day. Your understanding changed, and your salvation was continuing to work out. God was working. It was God. You did not say something right, or pray something right. You were being transformed and renewed. IT WAS GOD.

    So I now look at the folks sleeping through Sunday service, and instead of assuming that they are dead, I assume that God is working. I reflect on my own life, and see the hand of God. He walked me through different seasons. He will continue to walk me through different seasons. My understanding will change more. Reuben did not do that. Mark did not do that. God did that.

    If you are wrong about Jesus, it don’t matter what you are right about. If you are right about Jesus, it don’t matter what you are wrong about.

  96. This is actually getting a little funny. In my #94, I listed as bunch of things that go on in a liturgical church – that actually requires participation and input from the congregation – and we are the unsaved.

    But on a typical Sunday in an evangelical church, there is no straight reading of God’s word, outside of the sermon, there is no falling to your knees to confess your sin, no sharing of your faith by stating the creed, no corporate prayer (just an amen at the end of the pastor’s prayer) – there is no “passing the peace” to your bothers & sisters (which is our code word for “I forgive you, please forgive me”) – unless you are there at the once a month or once a quarter there is no communion and surely the constant refusal to say the prayer that Jesus told us to pray.

    Now I ask in all sincerity, who is doing “ritual without reality” – or as I say, 4 songs, announcements, a lecture & passing the plate… now get out we need to get the next group in.

  97. Xenia says:

    it is sad to think you are OK with millions of people being deceived.<<<

    But I do not believe Roman Catholics are deceived, if that's the "millions" you are talking about. I think they are closer to the truth than you are.

  98. Lutheran says:

    Nice job, Reuben.

    It’s always interesting to me that in my experience, people who come out of authoritarian churches often hold authoritarian, “black and white” viewpoints long after they’ve left.

    I’m also having a really tough time. You see, I can’t find “having a personal relationship with JC” anyplace in God’s Word. But it is popular in revivalist and fundagelical circles, especially in the US.

    Fact is, it wasn’t even invented until after 1850. Hmmmm.

  99. Reuben says:

    “fundagelical”

    !!! 😀

  100. Reuben says:

    That is seriously the best/funniest thing I have heard for weeks!

  101. Reuben says:

    I am going to use it. Followed, of course, by “Lutheran©™®”

  102. A Believer says:

    Since Jesus said that no one enters heaven without being “born again”, we should all just line up and tell others what that term means to us.

    I think we would ALL agree with His statement.

    It’s always interesting to me to see what responses a discussion on regeneration births.

    When and how does it occur? Is it an event? a process? or both?

    Is it irrevocable? forfeitable? permanent?

    Are you baptized into this state? …and then confirmed?

    Can others bring you into this state?

    Is personal faith even required? Does it have to be maintained?

  103. Xenia says:

    In the book of Acts, as soon as a person heard and believed the Gospel message they were baptized. <—- This is being born again.

    After that, hands were laid upon them for to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

    In Acts, sometimes people were baptized but didn't receive the Holy Spirit- Apostles had to come lay hands on them. So yes, other people are required.

    I have never seen anything like this happen in an evangelical churches. I never saw anyone have hands laid upon them to receive the Holy Spirit upon conversion. I've seen it done to attempt to confer the gift of tongues but not to receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is the biblical practice.

    Question: Why don't evangelicals do this? How and when does the Holy Spirit indwell the new believer?

  104. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

  105. “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins,”

  106. Xenia says:

    MLD, right. Baptism is “being born of the water” and afterwards, hands are laid upon you to receive the Holy Spirit. This is the biblical pattern.

    This is a curious thing. Groups that claim to follow the Bible to the letter don’t believe this or practice this. They have come up with a non-biblical tradition of their own.

    Yet they fault groups that follow the Bible to the letter on this and call it dead ritualism, vain traditions of man, etc.

  107. Reuben says:

    Amen to 106 & 107

  108. Reuben,
    A funny story about falling asleep in church. An guy fell asleep in our church one day and his wife poked him to wake up. My pastor stopped where he was, and said to the wife, “why are you doing that? Be glad that he has found a place where he feels peaceful enough to sleep” and then he carried on.

    Perhaps we should judge churches by the number of people who find them peaceful enough to sleep. 🙂

  109. A Believer says:

    Maybe there is a little wiggle room for some of us evangelicals. 😉

    In Acts 10:44-48, we have water baptism commanded AFTER the Holy Spirit had already fallen upon the gentiles who heard the word and believed.

    ” While Peter was still saying these things, ithe Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.

    For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.”

  110. Reuben says:

    MLD @109 LOL!

    Too many children in our church to fall asleep. When my son is attempting to make weapons out of hymnals, to beat the head of the kid in the pew in front of him…

  111. AB,
    I take all of these events in Acts as one continual event. In Acts 2 where it says “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    I choose to look at it this way (Repent + Be Baptized) are like a single action. Add in the laying on of hands and switch the order if you want. The main thing is that all this actions go together. But you don’t leave any out.

  112. Xenia says:

    In Acts 10:44-48, we have water baptism commanded AFTER the Holy Spirit had already fallen upon the gentiles who heard the word and believed.<<<

    But you know why that was. Peter never would have baptized those gentiles if God hadn't made it manifestly clear that something supernatural from God was happening.

    Nevertheless, baptism was part of the process of these gentiles' salvation.

  113. Em says:

    FWIW – the “ritual without reality” can happen anywhere … but the more the rituals, the more the opportunity … 🙂

    more germane is the extent to which we count on prescribed participations to implement our faith and the argument that ours are the true requirements of The Faith that saves us … that has proved to be a discussion has not reached a consensus here – ever – but the focus here on The Faith in Christ Jesus is a beautiful thing nonetheless, i think anyway

  114. A Believer says:

    But it is true Xenia, isn’t it, that since you see regeneration as a lifelong process, and not a singular event, the order of the events surrounding it is really a non issue, and failure to maintain one’s regenerated status, such as failure to continually participate in the primary means of grace (the Lord’s table), can derail the entire “process” altogether?

  115. A Believer says:

    Well MLD, We both know I was pretty thorough.

    One baptism as an infant in the Lutheran church, and another as a young adult who felt the need.

    I’ve got nothing against baptism, or obeying the command. Not sure why anyone would.

  116. Xenia says:

    You have to be born again to begin the process, thus, start with baptism. You need the Holy Spirit to enable you to lead the Christian life so follow baptism up quickly with a laying on of hands. You need to start the journey. These two events in the believer’s life starts the journey. The other sacraments- confession, the Eucharist, etc- are food for the journey.

  117. Another Voice says:

    WHat a shame to think that God’s desire to give the Holy Spirit could be thwarted by the disobedience and/or ignorance of other people.

    Apparently almost nobody in our church has even begun their journey with God, and they all are sitting there deprived of the Holy Spirit.

    Including their pastor.

    In fact, what a shame that when God saved me by the power of His Spirit working with the Word of God, He was not able to give me the gift of the Spirit because nobody was there to administer Him.

    And please don’t reply with “God has His ways” – either it is NECESSARY to lay hands to receive the Holy Spirit and begin the faith journey or it is not.

    And all of us who have never had that happen do not as yet have the Holy Spirit.

    And the Bible is VERY clear that unless you have the Holy Spirit, you do not belong to Christ.

  118. Reuben says:

    What a shame, the comment I had to delete before I started another tribal war.

  119. AV,
    All of the mentioned are necessary… however they are not absolutely necessary. God can save through several means.

    But I think Xenia’s question was quite valid – Why don’t evangelical lay hands to receive the holy spirit?

    Look, if nothing else, the simplest of Jesus’ commands was to go out and make disciples – and he said how to do it – baptizing and teaching.

  120. Xenia says:

    #118 The ball is in your court. It’s your job to explain why you don’t follow the scriptures in this.

  121. Em says:

    FWIW – the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit has been practiced in some times and places in what is referred to here as the evangelical world, as has washing feet and anointing the sick with oil …

    receiving the Holy Spirit
    there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit entered into me when i went forward and declared for Christ, confessing Him as Lord and Savior … i won’t even enter into a discussion on that

    that said, we can then grieve Him, separating ourselves from Him by pride and carelessness, so it’s better to be led to confess because it’s in the program or on the calendar, than to not confess at all

    i can respect anyone who has left a church when they became aware that they weren’t meeting God there … i think it is humility, not gullibility nor even the worship form that leads one on in The Faith – the reason that God hates pride isn’t because He just doesn’t like uppity people, IMV – He hates pride because it blinds us, leaves sins unconfessed and separates us from Him, no matter what the church

    MLD and Xenia have found 2 centuries old traditions to lead them soundly in their walk with God? well, find all the floundering, like-minded wandering sheep that you can and bring them into your folds (which if, of course, why you both are here making your cases, eh?)

    AV, amen and many thanks

  122. Mark says:

    Reuben it appears you do not believe in the supernatural transformation that takes place upon receiving the Holy Spirit . That is the moment of salvation. You are right. I don’t accept your premise that I was saved at infant baptism. That is a deception. I was saved when I truly believed and surrendered my life to Jesus. And this concept oh salvation did not begin in 1850. That is another deception

  123. Once again, Mark has clearly stated the evangelical position – I thank him as he is the only one with the guts to state the position clearly.

    “You are right. I don’t accept your premise that I was saved at infant baptism. That is a deception. I was saved when I truly believed and surrendered my life to Jesus.”

    Now that the position has been presented it can be clearly disputed.

    Infant baptism requires that the person being saved can do absolutely nothing – which is really representative of our position on all people’s salvation.

    The evangelical position laid out above is solely dependent on the “I” – when “I” truly believed and when “I” surrendered.

    Editorial Note: I don’t understand how the person with the corrupt mind and will can now “know” that he has “truly believed and surrendered. It does seem like this position is “when I finally gave God permission.”

    Now if only the rest of the evangelicals here would stop hiding behind fancy words and incomplete explanations and just put your stamp of approval on Mark’s statement, we could have a real dialogue.

  124. Em,
    “well, find all the floundering, like-minded wandering sheep that you can and bring them into your folds (which if, of course, why you both are here making your cases, eh?) ”

    I won’t speak for Xenia, but I have never invited or advocated for people to go to a Lutheran Church – it would be too great a shock to have people walk into the presence & glory of God. 😉

    I advocate for proper theology, and although I may speak from a Lutheran perspective, there are other who have closely held theological and liturgical views to mine.

    But in the end, I try to point out the big difference, which I see as this – first let me put a IMHO and a couple of 🙂 🙂

    Lutherans and some others who are confessional, creedal and liturgical let our doctrine dictate our practice –

    What you see with evangelicals, is that their practice dictates their doctrine.

    At this point I won’t divide between who is right and who is wrong – I just want to point out the sharp difference.

  125. Reuben says:

    Mark, if you imply that I do not believe that when a person receives the Holy Spirit, they start talking in tongues, you have me pegged. Again, in your quest for “proof” that you achieved salvation, and became a proper disciple of Christ, you would have to show me as well that you can withstand snake attacks, drink poison, heal the sick, and perform a legitimate exorcism. If you truly believe, these things must be done! These signs shall follow them that believe!

  126. MLD, i don’t endorse Mark or condemn you – however, as to the theological position that you call “proper,” that is another matter entirely – you speak with the confidence of one sold out to his church as does Xenia, but you throw punches of glittering generalities, distortion and error and confuse debate with discussion

    call out all the hypocrisy that you can – there is much to be called out, but watch your footing as you do so, the ground on which you stand is not as solid as you trust it to be

    (no caveats, no smilies and no modifiers inserted)

    hope that is direct enough – got a lot to organize and do and not much energy or patience today

  127. Em,
    Just point me to those generalities, distortions and error and I will look at them.

    Now to the point you make about my claim here to “proper theology” you have hit the nail on the head and I plead guilty. I do not accept all theology as equal nor correct… even if it comes from people here I call brothers.

  128. As I was doing my vacuuming, it dawned on me. I took a walloping yesterday for my #73 and I tried to clarify in my #84

    and then along comes Mark in his #123 confirming my points when he again states the “I”s

  129. Another Voice says:

    The fundamental mistake at the starting line is to think Acts was written to teach us doctrine. Guys who think that tongues are necessary to prove salvation – point to Acts, because they can’t find it taught in the epistles (in fact, the contrary is taught in 1 Cor)

    Crazy televangelists that claim their sweat rags can heal, point to Acts. Of course the reaction to such nonsense as these two claims is that Acts and the Apostles are unique.

    Acts also tells us the early church practiced a communal living under the financial authority of Peter and the apostles. Anyone doing that today?

    Xenia has already allowed for an exception to her and MLD’s supposed rule of the Spirit coming after baptism and laying of hands by pointing to the Gentiles receiving the Spirit before such things. What needs to be understood is Acts as a whole is an “exception” to a large degree. It is very important, truthful description of the growth and practices of the early church. Do we see healings like in Acts? Do we see God striking down hypocrites on the spot like in Acts? Acts was “lived” without the New Testament.

    Of course, this is not just opinion. Even allowing for the early date for Acts authorship would still place it after Paul’s epistles were written (except likely 2 Tim). So how could God expect ACTS to be our doctrinal study when it didn’t even get written until after Paul taught all that doctrine through his letters? Pretty slow of God on that one, right? Or was God saying, forget the stuff Paul teaches you, look at the special way I worked through these guys in Acts and then do that! (Well, don’t do a bunch of that like the tongues, communal living, striking of hypocrites…but do the hands’ thing)

    Paul wrote, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”

    Paul also wrote “Lay hands suddenly on no man” in the context of leadership, not to impact the Holy Spirit!! Imagine God saying to keep the Spirit away from new converts until they showed themselves worthy – meaning you would have to live worthily WITHOUT the power of the Spirit? Lunacy. And of course, not the teaching at all.

    So the answer why I “don’t follow the Bible” is that this is one of many areas where Acts is unique. Paul explains CLEARLY in that Ephesians passage when the Spirit comes, and there is no mention of baptism or laying on of hands here.

    I write this today, and then will be gone most of the day. I write it for Em, and anyone else interested. I know that Xenia and MLD have committed to the teachings of their church. Neither has ever said, to my knowledge, that they disagree with a teaching of the men who proceeded them in their church. Their churches have the authority to interpret the Bible, and that is fine. Some CC guys do that with Chuck. I think it is a huge mistake (and find very little theology personally from Chuck on any challenging issues)

    Personally, I seek to draw from all the scholars ahead of me, from whatever their tradition, and include their opinions as I wrestle with Scripture as a whole, and seeking how the entire revelation of God fits without contradiction.

    And it is to be noted, my point about one having to believe that neither I nor my church has the Holy Spirit still stands as to Xenia. And MLD’s answer was to allow an “exception” meaning it sure isn’t necessary – which is of course what Paul taught in that Ephesian epistle.

    So in conclusion. No, I don’t think I am disobeying God, but I am disobeying a church or two out there. Guess all that matters is Who I stand before in that day. I’ll take my chances.

    Yes, I think the Christians in our church, including me, have the Holy Spirit. It would be nice to be extended that courtesy, or else be consistent and stop calling those from other churches ‘brothers and sisters’ because the Bible is clear (Romans) that if you don’t have the Spirit you do NOT belong to Christ

  130. Xenia says:

    Years ago I asked my spiritual father what he thought about my participation on the PP. He answered that he was 100 percent in favor if I limited my comments to explanations and never become argumentative. Obviously I have gone off the rails many times but that has always been my intent, to explain but not argue- or at least, not be argumentative.

    I enjoy the back-and-forth we have here. It gives me the opportunity to explore and compare what I used to believe with what I now believe. These discussions bring this into a sharp focus. After (how many years? 8 or 9?) I am more convinced than ever that I made the correct move. Sometimes if I am overly enthusiastic here it’s because a light bulb just went off over my own head, when something that always puzzled me becomes crystal clear. It’s in those moments when I’m most likely to forget Fr. John’s counsel about being argumentative.

    The one thing that has come into the sharpest focus is the impossibility of consistently maintaining the Protestant doctrine of Sola scriptura, and without Sola scriptura there is no Protestantism. Yet to maintain this doctrine- no matter who tries- it requires manipulating the scriptures, making Yes mean No and Up mean Down.

    Would I like to see all the sad and hurting people of the world become Orthodox? Oh yes, I definitely would. The Church is the hospital that dispenses the Lord’s medicine that heals our wounds. Of course I would like to see everyone partake of this medicine. I don’t apologize for that.

  131. I like AV’s obvious little jab “. I know that Xenia and MLD have committed to the teachings of their church” – as if he and others are “too holy” to do such a thing. But therein lies the rub, the CC mantra”we only follow the Bible” – which is the teaching of his church… but as AV says they do not teach the same thing – so, so much for following the Bible.

    With AV’s use of Paul in his examples I can now see why guys like G, and Brian McLaren want to use only the Red Lettered words of Jesus. So I will use Jesus’ example of how to make disciples… baptize them.

    This same Paul, who emphasized that we have only ONE baptism (I CAPS that because some have been deluded to believe there are several) says that through this baptism that we are buried and raised in Christ. Paul also says that in our baptism we are clothed in Christ.

    AV, I think you misused Paul or you are saying that unbaptized Christians are still not yet buried, raised and clothed with Christ but are still Holy Spirit filled Christians.I guess this is why baptism can be put off until the weather warms up. 🙂

  132. PS – this is not an issue about baptism. It’s much larger than that.

    PS #2 – I do agree with AV that most of the things in Acts are descriptive and not prescriptive.

  133. “Paul wrote, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise””

    Through baptism!

  134. Lutheran says:

    Actually, Mark is correct that “decision theology” didn’t start in 1850. It was more like 1825. with Charles “Chuck” Finney (1792-1875). The Finn Man used all sorts of techniques to foster instant conversions that are still used today in fundagelical circles.

    He’s the “Father of Modern Revivalism.”

    “His innovations included having women pray in public meetings of mixed gender, development of the “anxious seat”, a place where those considering becoming Christians could come to receive prayer, and public censure of individuals by name in sermons and prayers.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Grandison_Finney

  135. Just one more thought on AVs accusations;
    “Neither has ever said, to my knowledge, that they disagree with a teaching of the men who proceeded them in their church. Their churches have the authority to interpret the Bible, and that is fine.”

    But we have questioned the teaching of the people who preceded us – that is why we are out of where we were and are where we are. I will speak only for myself here.
    I evaluated and rejected the teachings of CC after years of evaluating the masterminds behind the scenes who provide the influence of the teaching we see today (or at least when I left 6 1/2 yrs ago.)

    I evaluated and rejected the teachings of;
    Charles Finney
    John Nelson Darby
    Aimee Simple McPherson
    Billy Sunday
    All the way down to Chuck Smith who blended all of the above together to come up with what today are the unwritten CC dogmatics.

    I left and went to a place where the teaching was vetted 450 years ago.

    When you say that “Their churches have the authority to interpret the Bible” … are you saying that you are open to and / or are searching for a new interpretation of the Trinity – or something similar? I don’t think you are, but I do hear that daily on “christian” radio and it does disturb me.

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