Dialogue

During the last few weeks, I’ve invited Wayne Jackson, who posts at the popular Christian Courier website, to come over here to discuss the Regulative Principle. He never responded.

Then about two weeks ago, I invited the speakers at the “Profiles in Apostasy Lectures #1” to post over here to discuss what causes a Christian to become an apostate. I also sent Dub McClish, one of the speakers and the editor of The Gospel Journal, an invitation via Facebook to engage in the same dialogue. I’ve received no response.

However, one of the speakers at the lectures, David Brown, did ask me to help him find an opponent to debate the proposition, “The Scriptures teach that salvation is by grace only” in a four-night oral debate. He was looking for someone to take the grace-only side. I responded, “I’m confident no one among my readers — conservative, progressive, non-institutional, etc. — would find that an interesting proposition for a debate.” I’m pretty sure that’s true. I certainly find the prospect of such a debate uninteresting.

I’m not surprised at this lack of response — and I’m not going to say that this is some kind of victory. A refusal to discuss differences is not any kind of victory at all.

So I think we’re left with what has always been the best form of communication known to man — word of mouth. The most effective way left for us to spread the truth of God’s gift of grace among the conservative congregations is for friends to share the good news of the kingdom of Jesus Christ with friends.

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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6 Responses to Dialogue

  1. Barry Bullington says:

    Jay,
    I would not recommend conversing with David Brown and the Contending for the Faith crowd. Their recent personal attacks disguised as a meaningful review of books was especially telling. After repeated emails and being called everything but a Democrat I finally told them I did learn how hateful they are, but beyond that if they did have something for me to learn I couldnt hear it because their ugly fruit was so obvious.
    Bottom line they love the war, it unity broke out they would be so dissapointed.

  2. Jason says:

    Interesting that Mr. Brown was interested in a debate but not a conversation. I assume he reads "salvation by grace only" as antinomianism – the classic legalistic counterargument.

  3. K. Rex Butts says:

    I have no interest in debating anyone but my first question is what does he mean by "grace" in the proposition but I am not sure what there would be to debate about anyways since scripture clearly says tha"by grace [we] have been saved THROUGH faith…" (Eph 2.8, NRSV) not 'and' faith. The question is what does it mean to revceive salvation by grace through faith? The answer to that question is a big one, to big for this comment. However, in light of a biblical context that thoroughly stress salvation as God's work alone (not cooperative effort between God and man), any answer to that question must avoid speaking of salvation as somehow our work either in part or whole.

    And this is where the contentious rub would be. I firmly believe that baptism is the means through which God intends to raise us into the saving vicotry of the crucified and resurrected Jesus (Rom 6.3-7) but I believe that God is the one doing the work for us in baptism (which is why Paul uses the passive voice to speak of the Christian's baptism – "…all of us who have BEEN baptized into Christ…", Rom 6.3, NRSV). However, much of the language that has been used to describe baptism in the CoC has spoken naively of baptism as though it was our work (and for that, those who accused us of works-salvation had a point). Do we recall the phrase "God's part and Man's part"?

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  4. As soon as I began to understand salvation as walking the narrow path, I don't think much about grace only or works only. I concentrate on walking … and enjoy the scenery. I move on, I stumble, but I may get up again and move on again. I see the Golden City in the distance, and that's where I want to get.

    On my way I passed some road workers. They worked with their shovel to make the narrow path wider. They said to me, that a lot more people would be willing to come to the Golden City, if they could go there by car. But they did not make much progress towards the city. I had a lenghty conversation with them, saying: You can't drive cars in the Golden City anyway … (these were the progressives).

    A few miles further down the road the path was almost blocked by a group of people sitting on the road studying the Scriptures. They said to me, it is so good to be on the right path, and asked me to join their Bible Study. It was all about being right and others being wrong; they were on the narrow path, all right, but they did not move. I said: Sorry folks, but I want to reach the Golden City, and I moved on (these were the conservatives).

    I'd say: You cannot sum up the Gospel in a phrase like: "Saved by grace through faith." It's more like a journey along the narrow path. You have to move, you have to be fixed to the goal. You will experience in as something that costs sweat and effort, but you will also realize that without Grace you could make no progress. But you won't spent much time figuring out the percentage of Grace … just keep on walking, if you want to get there.

    Alexander

    P.S.: Jesus could preach the Gospel without ever using the word "Grace" (check it out for youserlf!)

  5. The older I get — and I turn 60 this year — the more difficult it is for me to engage in intellectual debates about issues of faith. On some kind of individual level, I find them fascinating — perhaps because I've engaged in them for so long.

    But then I step back and look at the value and effects of such debates — and I cannot help but wonder about their usefulness. And I don't mean to be harsh here.

    It seems to me somewhere out there we need to find the right point between debating about Christianity and living Christianity.

    Obviously, debating about Christianity can affect how we live Christianity. But where the line is between those two may be impossible to delineate.

    The older I become, the more I think the focus should be on living Christianity, and let the debate grow out of our living it. I fear too much of our debates come out of talking about it rather than living it out.

  6. Guy says:

    David,

    i really appreciate your words. Thanks for the encouragement.

    –Guy

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