The Future of the Churches of Christ: Generic Evangelicalism

Most readers will know this, but I need to explain this for those who aren’t familiar with the Christian world outside the Churches of Christ.

“Evangelistic” means “tries to convert the lost to Jesus.” You knew that, of course.

“Evangelical” refers to a subset of Christians who are theologically conservative, Protestant, and not legalistic. Saddleback and Willow Creek would be considered evangelical by most. Most Bible bookstores cater to an evangelical audience. Young evangelicals like contemporary Christian music.

That’s not a good definition, but I can’t present a good definition, because there isn’t one. A practical definition of “evangelical” might be: people who would show up to support a Billy Graham campaign. Obviously, traditional Churches of Christ are not evangelical.

Now, with this definition in mind, it can be observed that the progressive Churches of Christ are headed in an evangelical direction. We read C. S. Lewis, the patron saint of the evangelical churches. We love Max Lucado, even if our more conservative Church of Christ brothers call him a heretic. We shop at the local Baptist bookstore and find plenty of good books to read.

But in the larger Protestant community, there’s a lot of unhappiness with evangelicalism. For example, there is this quote from Christopher Benson regarding “generic evangelicalism”

… I am still restless with “evangelical” … as a descriptor of my own religious identity. That restlessness owes to what I perceive as the cultural captivity and politicization of the movement during my lifetime. Add to this “the anointed” authority structure, pointless heresy hunting, institutional weakness, ad hoc liturgy, anti-intellectualism, middlebrow aesthetics, and flaccid theology (“moralistic, therapeutic deism”)—and you will begin to understand the winter of my discontent. (There are exceptions to the above generalizations, but apologists often make too much of those exceptions.) Some of my evangelical contemporaries have found vernal promise in Catholicism or Orthodoxy. I investigated both traditions and could not be at home there for theological reasons.

Sound familiar? Do we really want to leave behind the Church of Christ community only to find ourselves a special interest group within the Republican Party, pursuing a party’s agenda rather than Christ’s? Do we really want to divide over evolution and Creationism? Do we want to leave one group’s fights only to join another’s?

Benson suggests post-evangelicalism –

So, where shall a person like myself go? The answer, I believe, is toward post-evangelicalism—not to be confused with ex-evangelicalism or anti-evangelicalism. A post-evangelical can retain the ethos (lowercase) while leaving behind the movement (uppercase).

That is, he proposes to hold tightly to the virtues of evangelicalism. He lists these as –

  • Crucicentric. Evangelicals are Christocentric in their piety and preaching, and emphasize particularly the necessity of Christ’s salvific work on the cross.
  • Biblicist. Evangelicals affirm the Bible as God’s Word written, true in what it says and functioning as their supreme written guide for life.
  • Conversionist. Evangelicals believe that (1) everyone must trust Jesus as Savior and follow him as Lord; and (2) everyone must cooperate with God in a life of growing spiritual maturity.
  • Missional. Evangelicals actively cooperate with God in his mission of redeeming the world and particularly in the proclamation of the gospel and making of disciples.
  • Transdenominational. Evangelicals gladly partner with other Christians who hold these concerns, regardless of denominational stripe, in work to advance the kingdom of God.

Amen. But how do we hold fast to these virtues while escaping the worse elements of contemporary evangelicalism? He suggests –

Post-evangelicalism is a return to confessional Protestantism—or what Robert Webber calls “ancient-future faith.”

“Confessional” refers to a denomination defined by a creed. Yep. In other words, he says, it’s better to join with an established community of saints — a non-exclusive community, for sure — than to try to re-invent the wheel and be entirely independent or even to create a whole new movement.

And the “ancient-future faith” movement seeks to restore traditional liturgy and the Christian calendar — Lent, Advent, Pentecost, etc. And many churches are experimenting with various blends of high church and low church — sometimes for very serious theological reasons and sometimes as a marketing tool.

The point is not to advocate adopting a creed or celebrating Lent. The point is that we’re not the only ones who are struggling to find our feet in this post-denominational world. And we’re a bit naive if we imagine we can just add a band and find instant tradition and stability. No, it’s not that easy.

This is a conversation that we cannot avoid. Where do the progressive Churches of Christ go from here? Do we become independent, autonomous congregations answerable only to our own elderships? Do we form yet another denomination? Do we cling to the rapidly shrinking Churches of Christ? Do we merge with the independent Christian Churches?

Do we jump into evangelicalism? Or is evangelicalism a dying relic of ancient battles? Do we instead jump into the nearly dead emerging church movement? Do we become a loosely affiliated league of unbranded community churches?

Where do we go for theological structure? What defines “us” other than memories of Church of Christ affiliations that will be foreign to our children?

Do we take our worship practices from the Baptists? The Pentecostals? The mega-churches? The Episcopalians? Do we blend? Just who are we going to be?

Will we be defined by our institutions — the universities? the missions programs? what?

Can we be Christians only and not the only Christians if there is no definition of “we”? Who is “we”? Those who attend the Pepperdine lectureships?

The boundaries are a bit fuzzy, and maybe that’s good. But we should at least think about them.

I mentioned in the last post that we’re quickly being forced to actually honor the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery

Imprimis. We will that this body die, be dissolved, and sink into union with the Body of Christ at large: for there is but one body and one spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling.

That’s the earliest document of the Stone-Campbell (Restoration) Movement. Kind of scary to imagine actually doing what it says, isn’t it?

After all, we don’t have a clue as to how to do that. If we don’t merge into an existing denominational structure and don’t form a new one, then I suppose we become free-standing, autonomous churches. Is that good? Is that even scriptural?

The Church of Christ teaching and practice of congregational autonomy has always been a problem, as we don’t see the First Century congregations being so radically autonomous. They submitted to the apostles. They sought guidance from Jerusalem. They cooperated. And there was but one denomination. They didn’t pick a subset of churches to cooperate with.

(I mean, can you imagine Corinth saying they’d send money to the East Apollos Church in Jerusalem but not the Central Paul Church across the street? Can you imagine what Paul would have said to that?)

So what would it mean to “sink into union with the Body of Christ at large”? How does being entirely independent mean “union”? I don’t see how.

How can we be united in a scripturally sound way? How can we be edified by other churches? How can we build up other churches? How can we become accountable to other churches? How can we cooperate with other churches? I mean, doesn’t unity require those things?

And how do we become accountable to other churches without creating some kind of hierarchy that brings with it its own set of problems? Would we be trading one flawed organizational pattern for another?

Or am I wrong to insist on accountability among congregations of the Lord’s church? If a congregation goes nuts and begins preaching, oh, say, the prosperity gospel, should the other churches even care? You see, I think we’ve adopted the American corporate model, which says we compete with all other storefronts, and if a competitor messes up, we celebrate the opportunities that creates. That’s the American independent, autonomous ethos, isn’t it? Where is the Golden Rule? Where is love?

But I’m struggling to type a sentence that doesn’t end in a question mark. Maybe the readers can help. What do you think?

This entry was posted in The Future of the Churches of Christ, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

173 Responses to The Future of the Churches of Christ: Generic Evangelicalism

  1. Alan says:

    Maybe you’re thinking too hard. IMO the solution is really quite simple. Fear God and keep his commandments (Ecc 12:13) Make disciples, and teach them to obey the scriptures (Matt 28:19-20). Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Those simple principles define the church of Jesus. They tell us what we need to be individually, and what we need to be as a congregation. I think if we’ll excel at those things, we’ll be united with others who do those things. And we can leave the bigger picture in God’s hands, where it belongs.

  2. It’s easier to quote scripture than to show the outcome of doing what it says.

    Part of the church’s problem is a separation between publicized rhetorical platitudes composed of the current buzzwords mixed with enough scriptural terms to sound spiritual and the actual operational outcome of these statements. Jesus, Paul, John, and James said over and over it is what one does that is measured. Competition promotes advertising and advertising promotes amplified representation of what might even be a fragment of truth. But we are “fully committed,” “fully redeemed,” “complete gospel,” “the loving church,” “the accepting church.” How about “the tell you what you want to hear in your itching ears church.”

    For years I have taken secular advertising slogans, internal sales emails from corporations, and “how to grow your church” messages from church gurus and substituted a few key terms from corporatese to churchese (or vice versa), such as interchange between “members” and “customers,” “minister” and “manager,” “budgets” and “sales quotas,” “contribution and cash register,” etc. and sent those modified mutations around as an example of the free terminology exchange between the fleshly goals of the world and those of the church. That’s not a message anyone wants to hear.

    The Internet and web pages have made this problem worse because this medium promotes even more visibility. In the USA, the FTC or FDA will nail a company for “false advertising.” — “This ingredient is not in there; you said this product would treat this disease; you claimed people could use this for (.. whatever..).” To the FDA, proper labeling of medications is as big a deal as the purity of the medication itself. Some drugs have been pulled from the market because something in the package insert was an inaccurate representation of the drug action or side effects. Nothing wrong with the tablets, themselves. Sometimes companies will sue one another for false advertising, because the claim of product action would give a competitive edge to the other company. “You say this makes your teeth 100% whiter and your data do not back that up.”

    What analogies might there be in the scripture to the FDA? A revelation of all false advertising. Competition for limited resources for measurable outcomes (attendance and contribution). Doesn’t the scripture talk about an accounting for false representation? Can you see the churches of tomorrow suing one another over false advertising? “You claim to be ‘fully redeemed’ but you’re not because you haven’t been water baptized.”

    Does this sound silly? Only because it is an exaggeration of what exists. What it exaggerates is something that is real and actual, and that is worldly post-modern values in the church. By their fruit you shall know them. You shall know them by the difference between their advertising misrepresentation and what they actually do.

    Sounds like the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation.

    If the church glories in the size of the membership, that will decrease. If the church glories in their preacher, he will fall. If the church glories in their contribution, it will fade away. If membership decreases, if preachers fail, if contribution decreases year after year after year, is it time to get analytical as to cause and effect?

    To the extent that the church copies the values of the world, the terminology and the approaches of the world, and the measures of the world is the extent to which the church is sowing to the flesh. And from the flesh the church is reaping corruption. God set up the physical realm to follow the laws of thermodynamics. If the church adopts the values of the world, the church places itself under the same physical laws that God made for the universe, including the second law of thermodynamics. The church is reaping entropy.

  3. hank says:

    What he said ^^^^

  4. Steve W. says:

    I have proudly considered myself part of the Evangelical community for years, and I think that your basic definition of Generic Evangelicalism is pretty good. I chaff at the term “generic”, since it can imply something of lesser quality. However, the ideals of “unbranded” evangelicalism that you identify seem to be accurate and they also seem to be comfortably within the frame work of the early restoration movement. To be sure both of these movements have been hijacked at various times to serve either political (Republican vs. Democrat) or sectarian (our movement vs. their Movement) ends, but those hijackings do not necessarily invalidate the legitimacy of the original movements or diminish the spiritual impulse toward unity that sparked them.

    I expect this to be a fairly lively conversation that I will read with great interest. I have often thought it ironic that the foundation for Christian unity and congregational autonomy to which the Restoration movement had aspired had given birth to three new (non)denominations, while the Evangelical movement that sprang up from within a multitude of congregations and denominations has allowed for cooperation and a spirit of unity with almost no awareness of the history of the Restoration movement.

    Blessings on you all as you strive for the unity of Christ within the framework of the tradition that has made you distinct.

  5. Gregory Alan Tidwell says:

    Jay;

    I find your presentation of Evangelicalism to be overly facile.

    Please note George Marsden’s __Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism__ and Francis Schaeffer’s __The Great Evangelical Disaster__.

    These books show how neo-evangelicals have highjacked congregation’s and institutions which formerly had certain convictions (notably faith in the inerrancy of Scripture) but now have abandoned these convictions. They want the structure put in place by men and women of faith, but they have abandoned that faith for another.

    This is exactly what I see happening as Progressives (who reject what churches of Christ have believed and taught) are highjacking congregations and institutions which were founded to promote a distinct faith, but now are promoting a different faith. I detailed this process in a series of articles in the Gospel Advocate a few years ago. You were gracious in reviewing that series at the time.

    The union you are seeking with neo-evangelicals is very like the union the Disciples are seeking with the United Church of Christ. “You don’t believe much, we don’t believe much, so there isn’t much keeping us apart.”

    GATidwell

  6. Adam says:

    Jay, these are big, big questions.

    First, we can talk of “fear God and keep his commandments” like Alan says, but while that is, of course, true, it is completely useless in answering your questions. Aren’t all churches trying their best to do this? Aren’t all believers? (please answer yes to this)

    So the question of accountability comes down to a question of leadership. And the question of leadership comes down to submission, service, and humility.

    So my thought is then about an idea – any specific thing – around which accountability could be developed. The idea isn’t that important – it is the practical living out of submission, service, and humility across denominational lines that is important. It could be a mission trip. It could be a church plant. It could be a prison ministry. It could be funding for a summer camp. Etc, etc, etc.

    To make this idea a little more concrete, imagine a joint account funded by multiple churches in an area across denominational lines that is to be then used for something (that “something” is really not the point). If we, as the body of Christ, can do that, willingly submitting to each other in “circles of reciprocity”, I think we would be well on our way to answering a lot of your questions.

  7. nick gill says:

    A New Frontier for a Church Birthed by Pioneers

    http://theologicalvacillation.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/why-am-i-a-member-of-the-churches-of-christ-shawn-duncan-a-new-frontier-for-a-church-birthed-by-pioneers/

    I think this is an excellent response to several of the questions Jay is wrestling with here. I would also assert that interdependence with one another born out of radical dependence upon God describes the 1st century church far more accurately than either independence or autonomy.

  8. nick gill says:

    Gregory, you wrote:

    This is exactly what I see happening as Progressives (who reject what churches of Christ have believed and taught) are highjacking congregations and institutions which were founded to promote a distinct faith, but now are promoting a different faith.

    How can you so radically miss the whole thrust of the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery (not to mention Thomas Campbell’s Declaration and Address)??? The whole reason the Springfield Presbytery needed to die was *because* it was an institution “founded to promote a distinct faith.” Would that all “congregations and institutions founded to promote a distinct faith” would die, be dissolved, and sink into union with the Body of Christ as a whole.

    Once again, the GA shows how woefully far it has strayed from the historic (flawed, but historic) foundations of the Restoration Movement.

  9. Monty says:

    And who hijacked what the restoration fathers taught? “Chrisitians only, but not the only Christians” could not even be taught in most non-progressive churches of Christ today. Why? Because they don’t believe there are any “true” Christians but themselves. You would be branded a heretic. How ironic that a movement that started as a call for Christians to unite without creeds or labels, can’t even imagine that there are any Christians outside of their own circle to call. Was that really Campbell’s and Stone’s goals or did heresy overtake the movement?

  10. Doug says:

    You can’t merge with the Independent Christian Church, they are just as independent as any Church of Christ so there’s no institution with which to merge. But, you can bring the walls of separation down by doing work and fellowship together. Nobody has to change anything except for their exclusionist attitudes. Liturgy? Sure, why not but just like that last topic, it should be done as at the congregation level and no fair condemning things done at that level. I’ve always thought a well thought out prayer receited by the congregation beats a worn out prayer recitation by Elder Brown. Denomination forming? I don’t see the merit of that as the denominations are probably having more problems than we are. In short, I think we could go a long way by just simple acceptance of each other as we are or as we eventually change to be. The CofC is proabably in the worst place it could be right now. It has it’s back up against the wall and hurls insults at everyone who refuses to join it at the wall…. mercy!

  11. hank says:

    “You don’t believe much, we don’t believe much, so there isn’t much keeping us apart”.

    LOL

    Reminds me of the church my father in law goes to down in Mexico where all different types of Christians can worship together in harmony no matter what they believe. The secret to their success he claims, is in the fact that they “don’t teach ANY doctrines”.

    Which of course means that they don’t teach any teachings.

    BTW, its not accurate for anybody to make it seem as the early restorationists would have been cool for everybody coming together and “uniting” all the while contradicting each other

  12. nick gill says:

    BTW, its not accurate for anybody to make it seem as the early restorationists would have been cool for everybody coming together and “uniting” all the while contradicting each other.

    That’s a fine assertion, Hank. Evidence is required, however, to move it beyond the status of opinion. Stone and Campbell didn’t agree on a whole host of issues – the Trinity was just one of them. The GA used to publish articles allowing different authors to (gasp!) disagree with one another in print and yet remain in fellowship. One of the founding points of the movement was the recognition that there were Christians in the sects, and that if the sects would all choose to “sink into union with the Body of Christ as a whole,” the work of the kingdom would advance far more rapidly and effectively.

  13. Alan says:

    Adam wrote:

    First, we can talk of “fear God and keep his commandments” like Alan says, but while that is, of course, true, it is completely useless in answering your questions. Aren’t all churches trying their best to do this? Aren’t all believers? (please answer yes to this)

    My point is that it’s not up to us to answer those questions. It’s not our church, but God’s. And he is not sitting idly by waiting for us to fix it.

    God has told us pretty clearly what he wants us to focus on. We just seem to prefer to argue about other stuff.

  14. hank says:

    You’re right, Nick. I actually hit “submit ” prematurely, which is why there was no period at the end of my last post (I am actually in a booth working at a county fair and on my phone here).

    The point I am (and was) trying to make is that the early restorationists weren’t quite like many here want to make it seem. Here is why I say that:

    When they appealed for men and women to come on out of their sects, they ALSO appealed for those same men and women to LEAVE their sectarian doctrine behind as well. Take, infant baptism as one example. Of course, the early restoratiinists had all themselves come out of the very sects they so opposed and as such, had to navigate out of the fog by which they had for so long been engulfed. They learned a lot as they went and as the view cleared up, if you will. But, make no mistake, they did not ever intend to welcome, accept and/or embrace their sectarian doctrines for the sake of “unity”. Rather, they opposed them! When I next have opportunity to get behind a real computer, I will provide as much evidence to back my assertions here as you care to read. Although I know you already know as much.

    But, here, many progressives are not at all like the restofationists in terms of opposing and even debating against sectarian doctrines. No, they prefer to “not judge” and “accept” them all as equally true and valid. That way, they will not be legalistic and/or attempting to be saved by works and/or doctrinal perfection.

    They say grace makes doctrinal accuracy not that big a deal. Certainly, nothing to fuss over and block unity.

    A lot of people now are like “you take the Bible, I’ll take Jesus” as if its an either or. For real, one guy here last week said we need to think of God more like the songs we sing than the God of the sermons we preach. I told him that if the songs we sing paint a different picture of God than the sermons we preach, then either the songs or the sermons are wrong.

    Anyway, the point is that the restorationists vehemently opposed both sectarian names as well as their unique and differing doctrines. Which is hardly in line with the progressives here. That much is easy to prove.

  15. Bob Brandon says:

    Alan wrote: “God has told us pretty clearly what he wants us to focus on. We just seem to prefer to argue about other stuff…”

    So very, very true.

  16. Doug says:

    Maybe the restorationists got it right, maybe they didn’t. But, one thing for sure, they didn’t live in our time and our conditions. I guess the fear is that if you share ministry or any kind of fellowship with a denomination, restoration movement church or any CofC other that your particular sectarian brand… you’ll be accused of agreeing with their theological stance too. I understand the fear but I also understand that Jesus never let fear control His actions. We should be “Strong and courageous”… not just sing about it.

  17. Jerry says:

    I just posted an article, “Congregational Autonomy? Or Isolation?” While it does not specifically answer the questions Jay raises here, it does address some of the issues we need to consider.

    Above, Greg seems to think there is no problem – except that the progressives are doing a repeat of the late 1800′s. Nick had some excellent observations. For example,

    I would also assert that interdependence with one another born out of radical dependence upon God describes the 1st century church far more accurately than either independence or autonomy.

    To me it is obvious we do not really believe in autonomy of congregations. Let one congregation in town “step out of line” and see how the others (at least some of them) will howl. It is also obvious we do not really believe in working together, except in rare instances. We all seem to be afraid of spending too much time with fellow-Christians from other churches – especially in actually working together with them. Why this should be, I do not know. It has not always been so – but I know preachers who seldom fellowship with other preachers, and congregations who seldom participate with other congregations even in working for common goals in the same city. Are we afraid we might do something for which others will receive credit or benefit? Are we afraid we might become contaminated by rubbing elbows with those from other congregations?

    These are serious questions Jay raises, but Alan may be right. Get back to basics. He said,

    IMO the solution is really quite simple. Fear God and keep his commandments (Ecc 12:13) Make disciples, and teach them to obey the scriptures (Matt 28:19-20). Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Those simple principles define the church of Jesus. They tell us what we need to be individually, and what we need to be as a congregation. I think if we’ll excel at those things, we’ll be united with others who do those things. And we can leave the bigger picture in God’s hands, where it belongs.

    If we will do this, we will live, “yet not ‘us’ but Christ in ‘us’”

  18. Alabama John says:

    Hank,

    My money is on the songs being right. Why?

    We in the COC have embarrassingly disagreed into 25 plus divisions, but, we all can and do sing the same songs without disagreement. Well practically, as I know a few COC that will not sing a song to Jesus like “Have a little talk with Jesus” or “In the Garden” and others like that.

    Can the same high percentage of agreement be said of the preaching? We all know the answer and we would be better off if we all just sang during our services and quit preaching.

  19. hank says:

    Doug, I believe that strong and courageous is precisely what those men were. It takes more strength and courage to actually stand up and defend whatever it is you are convinced to be the truth. Surely, it takes less strength and courage to accept , embrace and/or tolerate infant “baptisms” than it does to contend for the truth (assuming one is convinced that infant baptisms are unbiblical)? If a doctrine is clearly contrary to the word of God, it ought to be opposed and labeled as untrue. At least, that is how they felt about it back then. And that is why they debated those sectarians in public forums.

    Either way, it is absurd for progressives (those who would refuse to debate and/or oppose those who teach infant “baptisms”) to play like THEY are the ones in line with the likes of the pioneers under discussion.

    Finally, what do you mean exactly by sharing “ministry or any kind of fellowship”? Seriously, do you mean refusing to speak out against? Or what?

  20. Bob Brandon says:

    Hank:

    You wrote: “[e]ither way, it is absurd for progressives (those who would refuse to debate and/or oppose those who teach infant “baptisms”) to play like THEY are the ones in line with the likes of the pioneers under discussion.”

    I dunno; last time we had a debate as such in these here parts, the “conservatives” quit the battlefield. See http://graceconversation.com/ When your progressives start sounding a lot like those who signed off on the Last Will and testament of the Springfield Presbytery (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Last_Will_and_Testament_of_The_Springfield_Presbytery), it’s probably time to pause and reflect.

  21. Bruce Morton says:

    Bob:
    Let me ask that you adjust your conclusions a little about “Conservatives” (or whatever you want to call me) “leaving the battlefield” or some such. To be clear I have urged Jay to address a specific question about baptism — as God’s action (not ours) — and he has yet to tackle. He continues to tell me to read what he has written and that will answer my query. No, not the case. I have read what he has written. He genuinely struggles with Colossians 2:9-15 and similar statements that reveal baptism to be God’s action.

    Well enough. I do not know you well, so do not know if we are at cross-purposes or not. And therefore I am hesitant to make too much of your post. But I did decide to comment at a point.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  22. Bob Brandon says:

    Well, Bruce; I wasn’t responding to you but to Hank.

  23. hank says:

    Well, Bob; I wasn’t responding to you but to Doug (and Nick).

  24. Doug says:

    Hank, ministry and fellowship… I do prison ministry where about 7 or 8 denominations are involved. When you are introducing inmates to the loving Jesus, you are a long way from instructing them about baptism but every baptism that I have witnessed in prison has been by adult immersion. The other denominations rejoice in the baptism… They don’t attempt to sprinkle or pour. If I am asked, I defend adult immersion baptism but quite franklly it rarely comes up. You can share ministry and fellowship and not yield on your beliefs. Quite frankly, when I get together with that prison ministry team, I get the feeling that we are doing church the right way. That’s my experience.

  25. Bruce Morton says:

    Bob:
    Okay, brother, I’ll stay out of the discussion and let you guys chat (genuinely fine with me).

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  26. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank (and Nick),

    Alexander Campbell strongly advocated for the formation of a national missionary society. He allowed himself to be named as its first president. He strongly believed in cross-congregational cooperation.

    The first RM missionary was Walter Scott. He was sent out by the Mahoning BAPTIST Association. It was on that mission trip that he converted hundreds preaching the Five Step Plan of Salvation. http://www.christianchronicler.com/History2/walter_scott.html

    Very near the founding of the RM, a group of churches in association together held a quarterly meeting and sent out a missionary — from the association. Campbell’s congregation was one of the congregations in the association.

    Neither A. nor T. Campbell ever denied the sufficiency of infant baptism to save. This is from the Campbell – McCalla debate regarding infant baptism — A. Campbell said,

    “The blood of Christ, then, really cleanses us who believe from all sin. Behold the goodness of God in giving us a formal proof and token, of it, by ordaining a baptism expressly “for the remission of sins.” The water of baptism, then, formally washes away our sins. The blood of Christ really washes away our sins. Paul’s sins were really pardoned when he believed, yet he had no solemn pledge of the fact, no formal acquital, no formal purgation of his sins, until he washes them away in the water of baptism.”

    (p 135) http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/1824Cam1.htm

    I believe my teachings are far closer to those to the founders of the RM than those currently taught among the conservative Churches of Christ. In that sense, my views are more conservative than the conservatives’ views!

  27. hank says:

    Doug,

    That’s an amazing report. Usually, the “denominations” (non cofcs) are VERY firm on propagating the sinner’s prayer. And it usually only takes them a few short minutes to get from introducing themselves to leading that prayer. Virtually ALL of the non cofc ministers I have ever met not only deny what the Bible teaches about the meaning and purpose of baptism, but they get angry discussing the matter. (And its not because they are mad at me, they just seem to really be against what the Bible teaches regarding the purpose of baptism)

    For example, this week, my wife and I are working a booth selling bottled water at a county fair in Sarasota, FL. We are next door to a booth ran by “Amazing Grace Ministries” based out of Dayton, TN. They “save” I’m guessing around 100 people a day on average (mostly teens and pre-teens via the sinners prayer). They have a big display with three doors below theses words – “three things that wont save you”. The three things are “good deeds”, “going to church” and “baptism”. WHENEVER someone is mentions baptism, you can see their faces turn red. Last year, they handed out tracks titled “Acts 2:38 – Satan’s Favorite Verse”. For real, you can Google and read the whack tract yourself.

    My point is that these Baptists cannot stand the truth about the meaning of baptism and they don’t hide it. When I lived in CA, I attended a couple of Calvert Chapel’s “Harvest Crusades” at Angels stadium and the people there (Greg Laurie, Raul Reis, etc) pretty much felt the same way about baptism as the Amazing Gracers at the fair here.

    I say all of that to say this. I really have a hard time picturing someone preaching the truth about how and when God saves a sinner alongside of and or as “partners” with the denominations who actually teach that Acts 2:38 is the favorite verse of the Devil.

    I just don’t see how teaming up and “fellowshipping” such false teaches would work or even be a good idea. I wish they would repent.

  28. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Nick,

    Thanks for the link. I don’t see it as a complete answer, but it’s a really good start. (I wish I’d thought of it.)

  29. nick gill says:

    Jay,

    many good questions are good precisely because they cannot be completely answered – not this side of the eschaton.

    Precisely because the church needs to stay nimble and flexible in order to carry the full gospel to every people-group, I don’t think there’s one right way to address all these issues in the contexts of different communities.

    Paul’s insistence on unity in 1 Corinthians, even with the polytheists in 1 Cor 8, is a message we desperately need to internalize. The early leaders of the Restoration Movement extended the right hand of fellowship to incredibly diverse groups.

  30. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Greg,

    I’ve read Schaeffer’s “The Great Evangelical Disaster.” It has NOTHING to do with the post-evangelical thought of Benson. You confuse “neo-evangelical” with “post-evangelical.” The “new” or “neo-” evangelicals criticized by Schaeffer pursued a radically different agenda — ultimately rejecting the historicity of the resurrection. (That was the 1930s. Eighty years later, no one would call the “new evangelicals” evangelical at all.)

    Benson proposes nothing of the kind. Rather, he objects to the politicization and other errors common in CONTEMPORARY evangelicalism — the conservative kind — such as that found in most Baptist Churches.

    The points Benson insists on as essentially “evangelical” are –

    ■Crucicentric. Evangelicals are Christocentric in their piety and preaching, and emphasize particularly the necessity of Christ’s salvific work on the cross.
    ■Biblicist. Evangelicals affirm the Bible as God’s Word written, true in what it says and functioning as their supreme written guide for life.
    ■Conversionist. Evangelicals believe that (1) everyone must trust Jesus as Savior and follow him as Lord; and (2) everyone must cooperate with God in a life of growing spiritual maturity.
    ■Missional. Evangelicals actively cooperate with God in his mission of redeeming the world and particularly in the proclamation of the gospel and making of disciples.
    ■Transdenominational. Evangelicals gladly partner with other Christians who hold these concerns, regardless of denominational stripe, in work to advance the kingdom of God.

    I’m sure you agree on the first four. As to the fifth, I know we disagree, but if you’ll check your history, you’ll find that my views are much closer to those of Stone and Campbell than yours. That doesn’t make me right, but it hardly means that I reject core teachings of the Restoration Movement. Rather, I reject the corruption of the Restoration Movement by late 19th and 20th Century teachers who rejected the excellent work of the first generation, all the while pretending to be continuing in the original teachings.

    Finally, do you really believe that it’s fair to characterize the five points above as “you don’t believe much”?

  31. Gregory Alan Tidwell says:

    Jay;

    As the Universalism promoted by the Progressive’s flagship journal New Wineskins abundantly shows, the Progressives (as a movement) don’t believe much that matters enough to define a movement. For those who still have a shred of conviction left, turn back before you become like the Disciples.

    GATidwell

  32. aBasnar says:

    And the “ancient-future faith” movement seeks to restore traditional liturgy and the Christian calendar — Lent, Advent, Pentecost, etc. And many churches are experimenting with various blends of high church and low church — sometimes for very serious theological reasons and sometimes as a marketing tool.

    The point is not to advocate adopting a creed or celebrating Lent. The point is that we’re not the only ones who are struggling to find our feet in this post-denominational world. And we’re a bit naive if we imagine we can just add a band and find instant tradition and stability. No, it’s not that easy.

    This reminds me of my frequent inputs concerning the value of the Early Church Fathers. Church Autonomy and “We go by the Bible alone” are virtually based on the same thought: “We are fine by ourselves.”

    Yet, what both statements/attitudes miss: We are called to grasp God’s Love with ALL saints, which leaves no room for church autonomy, but calls us to grow closer to one another as we grow closer to the Lord. We NEED to learn from other Christians what we might have overlooked and vice versa. And this DOES include the historic faith, in fact the Ancient Faith becomes a common ground for all denomination since all of us more or less DEPARTED from that common ground.

    So, especially for Resorationists, the question is urgent: HOW was it REALLY in the beginning? Being convinced that the faith was delivered once and for all, we therefore cannot accept developments, that erode the faith, its boundaries and certainties (alluding to the New Wineskins), but we must again grow firm in the basics and foundations of the faith as it was in the Beginning. The ancient faith.

    I see no other way. Except: Liturgy and Lent are – historically – commendable, but must not substitute sound teaching. If they do they merely create an “ancient atmosphere” but not the ancient faith.

    Alexander

  33. Bob Brandon says:

    Greg:

    It’s been my experience to know quite a few Disciples in the mid-Missouri area of great conviction in the power of the Cross. I’m sorry that you have not had that experience in the Columbus area.

  34. nick gill says:

    It’s been my experience to know quite a few Disciples in the mid-Missouri area of great conviction in the power of the Cross. I’m sorry that you have not had that experience in the Columbus area.

    One of the clear symptoms that a restoration movement thinker has been infected with a denominational mindset is the tendency to treat a denomination as if it were something – to assume that all people affiliated with a denomination must fall in lockstep with all that group’s traditionally controversial doctrines. I’m blessed to know many brothers and sisters in predominantly African-American Disciples congregations that put my trust in the power of the Cross and Resurrection to shame. Freedom in Christ allows us, as you’ve described above, to get to know people and find out what they actually believe – not what the sign out front advertises that they believe.

    We know that a denomination is nothing at all in the world and that there is no church but one…. But not everyone knows this.

    Nick’s Denominational midrash on 1 Cor 8:4,7

  35. Alabama John says:

    Doug,

    God bless your efforts.

    I have only seen the multi-denominational teaching and worship attempted and it work great. It was in the military and in prison.

    In both cases, the extreme adversity and dangerous environment dispelled all the other minute differences.

  36. hank says:

    AJ,

    Did the multi-denominational teaching you saw that you say “worked great” include the sinners prayer? Did the teaching encourage sinners to invite Jesus into their heart via a prayer to seek forgiveness? Or, were they taught to repent and be baptized?

    Because, I honestly doubt the truth was being affirmed in a “multi-denominational setting”.

    And I sure would consider the matter to be a “minute difference”.

  37. hank says:

    And, I am quite certain that they (the denominations) wouldn’t see it as a minute difference either.

    Going by the Baptists from Amazing Grace ministries and Calvey Chapels around the nation…they hate what the Bible actually teaches about baptism.

    Kinda curious about the multi denominational folks of whom you are referring? The ONLY way I could envision it “working great” would be if you went along with their teaching of the sinners prayer….

  38. nick gill says:

    Because, I honestly doubt the truth was being affirmed in a “multi-denominational setting”.

    That’s exactly the same doubt that Barton Stone had, right up until the Cane Ridge Revival changed his mind forever.

  39. hank says:

    Nick,

    Can you reference one “multi-denominal” event or ministry wherein the truth about baptism was proclaimed (where sinners were NOT encouraged to pray the sinner’s prayer).

    Evidence is necessary to prove that such is actually transpiring.

  40. nick gill says:

    Actually, I can’t. I’ve never been to or participated in a multi-denomial event where sinners were discouraged from praying for forgiveness.

    That’s the kind of error I would stand up against.

    And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks ford a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

  41. Doug says:

    Hank,

    The prison ministry is only one multi-denominational ministry with which I am involved. There is another one that works with drug and alchohol addicts. The participants are Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Methodists, Southern Baptists, Prebysterians… and me, the only Church of Christ member. Why would I work with these people you might ask? Well, because the Church of Christ has no ministry outreach to these two groups….none, zip, nada! If I want to reach out to these kinds of people in a group ministry, I have to do it with denominational people. I guess if I stressed theological differences constantly at our team meetings, it might cause some issues but quite frankly, at these meetings we have bigger fish to fry. If you go looking for a fight, you’ll probably find it. But Jesus said that we should be as humble as doves and as wise as snakes. It just isn’t necessary to barge into a meeting with denomination people spouting CofC theology at the top of our lungs. They will come to you if you wait.

    One interesting by-product of my prison ministry is that I always run into inmates who are members of the CofC. In fact, as many as 10% of the inmates have identified themselves as CofC members in some past groups. These guys always come looking for me because they hear me identify myself with the CofC. What if I wasn’t there for them? I’m glad to be there for them and all the others too.

  42. Charles McLean says:

    Bruce, I think you should certainly be part of this conversation, but yet another reprise of a complaint about how Jay won’t argue with you about a particular doctrinal distinctive is a really poor way to get into the flow of the conversation here, which has nothing whatsoever to do with that topic.

    I really would like to hear your perspective on what Jay calls “radical autonomy”, which is something many of us see in the CoC. Perhaps you have a different take on it? Or your comment on the “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery”?

  43. Charles McLean says:

    “Going by the Baptists from Amazing Grace ministries and Calvey Chapels around the nation…they hate what the Bible actually teaches about baptism.”
    >>>
    “…they hate what the Bible actually teaches…”
    EQUALS
    “…they refuse to agree with me about what the Bible actually teaches…”

    I read the tract. Frankly what distresses me most about it is that I find its spirit to be almost exactly the same as that found in many old CoC tracts I have read, mostly hypocritical disdain, raging hyperbole, and dangling damnation for the deceived. They are two sides of the same coin. “If you don’t read Acts 2:38 the way I do, you need to repent!” fits tracts from both sides to a tee.

    I would get more outraged about stupid lines like “Satan’s Favorite Verse”, but they remind me of the tracts which say that the gifts of the Spirit are “of the Devil”. Same song, different key.

  44. hank says:

    Doug, you wrote – “I guess if I stressed theological differences constantly at our team meetings, it might cause some issues but quite frankly, at these meetings we have bigger fish to fry.”

    I never suggested to stress “theological differences constantly”. But let me ask, who gets to decide whatever theology it is that will be presented to the lost? Do you guys teach the lost in there that they can be forgiven and added by God to the church? If so, what is taught? if not, then what do you tell them?

    You wrote – “If you go looking for a fight, you’ll probably find it. But Jesus said that we should be as humble as doves and as wise as snakes.”

    I’m not suggesting to “go looking for a fight”. I’m merely suggesting we defend and uphold the truth, if and when it is being twisted.

    You wrote – “It just isn’t necessary to barge into a meeting with denomination people spouting CofC theology at the top of our lungs.”

    This statement is pretty strawy. I never said anything about “barging” into anything nor “spouting cofc theology at the top of our lungs”. That’s ridiculous. Besides, I couldn’t care less about “cofc theology”, I truly couldn’t. However, I find it interesting how in this here discussion about defending the Biblical purpose and meaning of baptism (as opposed to the sinner’s prayer), you style it as “cofc theology”. Do you really consider teaching the fact that baptism is for the remission of sins and the point in which God adds sinners to the church to be “cofc theology”?

  45. Charles McLean says:

    Greg wrote: “As the Universalism promoted by the Progressive’s flagship journal New Wineskins abundantly shows, the Progressives (as a movement) don’t believe much that matters enough to define a movement. For those who still have a shred of conviction left, turn back before you become like the Disciples.”
    >>>
    Is there a single proven fact or defined term anywhere in this paragraph? Or is it just the latest and lamest concatenation of innuendo, intimidation and ill-reasoned balderdash to be offered by a fellow who disdains answering for his own words to anyone here or anywhere else?

    Here’s a fellow standing elbow deep in mud, flinging it at us with both hands and yelling, “Come back, you unprincipled reprobates, come back!”

    He probably genuinely wonders why we don’t.

  46. Doug says:

    Hank, You know… all of our conversations seem to go the same route. You ask me questions, I answer your questions, and then you ask more questions about my answers. Furthermore, you add meaning to much of what I write that is incorrect. I was simply responding to the idea that the CofC could find meaningful fellowship and ministry with the denominational world. After all, if one CofC person could do it… why couldn’t a few CofC people do it and maybe even the whole CofC do it?

    But, I’ll try to clarify if you’ll just try to read what I write and leave it at that. The prison ministry only teaches broad based Christian beliefs and avoids areas of theological controversy. We avoid instruction about communion for example (at least 14 different theological beliefs). And since I was taught that baptism is for the remission of sins in the Independent Christian Church, no… that isn’ t a CofC theology. The Independent Christian Church doesn’t stress the exact instant a person is added to the Church. If it’s important to the CofC to pinpoint that time (I don’t think it’s important to God since He works in the absence of what we call time), maybe that could be one of the things we just don’t talk about in an effort to have joint fellowship and ministry together? I could go along with that… how about you?

  47. Steve W. says:

    I really didn’t want to chime in any more than I already have, but the conversation has been engaging and I have found myself mulling over some of the things that have been said and wanting to add just a bit more. First, I thought that the conversation was on evangelicals and whether or not there were points of convergence between them and the restorationists, the Churches of Christ and especially the progressives. The idea that it has turned into a debate on baptism (again) is evidence of where the rubber will meet the road for many. If a person can not accept the idea that someone baptized according to another tradition can be a real follower of Christ or that a person who has not yet been baptized can have a legitimate faith in Christ then there can not be any convergence and little to no cooperation. One of the strengths of what I have experienced amongst Evangelicals is their ability to stand firm on the centrality of Christ and faith in him as a unifying reality of their theology. They value doctrine as part of the vocabulary of convictions that give strength and heart to individual denominations and traditions, but they do not treat these distinctive doctrines as equal to or superseding of the centrality of Christ and his work on the cross. For me, it has been helpful to refer to the uncompromising core as dogma and the unifying distinctives as doctrine. Modern Evangelicals do not insist that everyone agree with them on every point of doctrine as though it were dogma. They have their convictions and have reached them with as much prayer and study as has anyone in the Churches of Christ. If you ask, they will gladly share those convictions with you, but they would never insist that we agree on doctrine before we can do the work of Christ in reaching the lost or ministering to the hurting.

    To most evangelicals, like myself, the issue of baptism is an important doctrinal issue, but it is not an issue of dogma. We are open to the idea that baptism is a better, more Biblical rite of passage to accepting Christ than is the sinner’s prayer, but we are not interested in getting bogged down with whose tradition gets to determine the kind of baptism and the acceptable terminology that has to be used when discussing it. This is the argument to which tradition-bound Church of Christ people must go and the argument that most evangelicals think is distracting to unity and building the kingdom. If the progressive Churches of Christ can learn to hold their convictions dear and their love of Christ and the larger church dearer, then there can be a great amount of mutuality in ministry. This will be anathema to the conservative Churches of Christ, but then again there are so many doctrinal issues that are anathema to the dogmatic churches that one shouldn’t be held back out of concern for offending them. My observation is that taking offense is how they validate their faith. The rest of us have to get involved with prison ministries, homeless shelters and the like, where evangelicals have been happily at work for years.

  48. hank says:

    Doug,

    I haven’t ever known anybody who claims he knows how a sinner is forgiven to admit that he does not know when (at which point) it happens. For example, my Baptist friends in the booth right next to me, tell every person who prays the SP “welcome to the family of God, you are now a forgiven child of God”. No doubt, they are convinced that they receive forgiveness as soon as they receive Jesus via the prayer.

    But I haven’t really ever heard of a teacher of the Bible to say he is not sure of when one receives forgiveness. They just say it is as soon as they sincerely pearly the prayer. The Bible says its when one is baptized into Christ. Which is why they say those verses are the Devils favorite ones.

    But, no matter how much you want to team up with and harmoniously work alongside the denominations, at some point you’re going to have to troll a sinner how he can make things right with God… how he can receive forgiveness. At that very point, you’re going to have to flip a coin or something in terms of encouraging them to pray for forgiveness or to be baptized. Perhaps you can alternate? I’m not trying to be difficult, but its a legitimate question.

    Personally, and knowing what the Bible teaches, I couldn’t walk away from a sinner who thinks he got saved via the sinners prayer, leaving him to think such was the truth. Because it simply is not taught like that in the Bible.

    I wish I could be more supportive to the people who believe they are saving souls (the Baptists next door just “saved” two more) but they did it in a way that is nowhere taught in the Bible. Three years ago, I asked them about that, and their leader said, “I know who you are….”.

    And really, he was right, I am from the cofc. Don’t really know of any other churches who teach what the Bible does about how a sinner is really saved and when he is added to the church.

    Lastly, this is a big deal. So, no, I couldn’t in good conscience just “go with it”. And for whatever its worth, I don’t care about if a church calls themselves a cofc or not. I swear I could be just fine in any of the denominations that taught the truth.

  49. nick gill says:

    I swear I could be just fine in any of the denominations that taught the truth.

    Good luck finding that denomination – the one that teaches the whole truth, as you apprehend it, without any error.

  50. Bob Brandon says:

    Charles:

    You wrote: “Here’s a fellow standing elbow deep in mud, flinging it at us with both hands and yelling, “Come back, you unprincipled reprobates, come back!” He probably genuinely wonders why we don’t.”

    Well, I do, and I have, and I shouldn’t. Will try to do better in the future; although to attempt to be fair to Greg (which I probably won’t be despite my best intentions), he’s a man in his 50s wondering why the Church of Christ of the 2010s isn’t more like the Church of the 1980s when he was in his 20s. That’s a sentiment shared by quite a few people, Looking back, however, I think, in its own way, that this is a better time to be a Christian: there is much more uncertainty in this time than it was for my parents at my age. That’s tough on folks from my age group; there are a lot expectations not being met and that will not be met: a lot of promises our society cannot and will not keep. But for the young now in their 20s, that’s a lot of baggage they’re not required to carry and a great opportunity to distinguish their faith in the power of the Cross from any faith in any other power, any other idol. And we all know that many idols are not made from wood, silver, and gold, and that many idols live, not in splendid buildings, but safely in the minds of their devotees.

  51. Doug says:

    Hank, what Nick said…

  52. JMF says:

    Bob –

    Are you a minister? Are you at the church in Columbia where “James F” attends? Just curious…my parents were there a couple weeks ago.

  53. hank says:

    Nick and Doug,

    Technically, by “truth”, I was refering to baptism as opposed to the “sinner’s prayer”. Wasn’t implying that their were churches free of any error. But, fortunately, there are thousands who teach what the Bible does about the meaning and purpose of baptism (I do understand that the numbers are dwindling). I also understand that many of the churches who still do teach the truth (about Baptism) are not really willing to defend it. It just seems so judgmental and legalistic to do that. It for sure hurts the ability to work with and unite with those who don’t.

  54. Alabama John says:

    Hank,

    Doug is right!

    I never heard to sinners prayer in any of our studies or services where everyone was invited. No one even mentioned it.

    The ones I met with came to learn and were seeking to learn as many had never read a bible or heard anyone read from it and most of all seeking forgiveness, not to preach.
    There were also those that had been studying for 1-30 plus years and wanted to study what you had to say as well as the others in the groups to learn more of God.

    I observed eleven baptized at one time, which was the most, and before you ask, it was by immersion in makeshift facilities for sure.

    On the other hand, I also was praying, holding the hand of one who believed, repented, confessed, wanting to be baptized but was too sick and he died.

    Importantly these are folks that are not attending because its what is expected by their families and community or out of expectation by their local church, but out of really wanting to, and by doing so, be willing to go through inconvenience and hardship.

  55. nick gill says:

    It for sure hurts the ability to work with and unite with those who don’t.

    Unite? Sure, I can see it being a roadblock to the kind of unity God dreams of.

    Work with? Nope. That makes absolutely no sense to me. I can work alongside anyone, and even share with them a Petrine-style defense for the hope that is within me, with fear and trembling lest my behavior towards them nullify the grace I’ve received.

    Sadly, I don’t think that’s the kind of defense you mean, hank.

  56. Bob Brandon says:

    JMF:

    No, not a minister.

    We are members at one of the other congregations in Columbia.

    (and I am also one of those folks in their 50s. Our family goal is for the kids to survive in the middle class, whatever that turns out to be…)

  57. Alabama John says:

    Hank,

    In a setting where many faiths are present, you do have to listen and bite your tongue many times. Wait your turn. If what you are teaching is found to be truth, you will be listened to more and more.
    Some groups all get on their knees to pray. Interesting how encouraging but different their different prayers are worded from the normal Guide, Guard and Direct of the COC.
    It is supposed to be a study and believe it or not, you will learn a lot by listening to those others. you have to use tact.
    To rush in telling all this is the way it is and none of you can teach me anything, will cause you to lose all respect and most importantly your audience.
    Best to keep a humble heart and try to teach, not dominate.

  58. Doug says:

    Let me come at this truth thing that Hank keeps mentioning from a different angle. Hank keeps saying he has to have truth but what I perceive is Truth=CofC for Hank. He says he could go to a denomination church if they taught truth but, you know… what Nick said. Now I would say that Truth=Jesus. If we are doing what the Word taught, we’re doing Jesus’ business truly. Now can we honestly say Truth=Jesus=CofC with the CofC being in its’ current state? I don’t think so. Jesus desires unity and we don’t even have unity within the CofC much less the rest of the denominational world. So Hank can talk all he wants to about “truth” but the truth is, the CofC doesn’t have it and by it, I mean Jesus. We need to stop doing religion and start doing Jesus.

  59. Bob Brandon says:

    Doug wrote: “We need to stop doing religion and start doing Jesus.”

    Well, that’s Paul’s point in Rom. 14-15.

    Not to mention Jesus’ in Lk. 9:49-50.

  60. hank says:

    Doug,

    That was deep.

    However, that baptism is for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins is true.

    And the idea that praying the sinner’s prayer to become a Christian, is nowhere taught in the book of God and untrue.

    And such will be the case no matter how you do the math. How about this one:

    The Bible + the sinners prayer – baptism = not true!

  61. hank says:

    And why do people believe that contending for te truth about what the Bible teaches regarding the meaning and purpose of baptism equates to “doing religion rather than Jesus”? That’s just nonsense.

    Like I said, more and more people are saying “you can have the Bible, I’ll take Jesus”. The truth (for lack of a more acceptable word), is that you can’t have one with out the other.

  62. nick gill says:

    The religion vs. Jesus divide is unscriptural, unhealthy, and impossible to maintain while trusting scripture for spiritual formation.

    That being said, nowhere does scripture say that baptism is either “because of” OR “in order to obtain” the remission of sins. Asserting either goes beyond what is written.

  63. hank says:

    Nick,

    I agree with you first statement. It is discocuraging to hear so many trying to separate Jesus from religion and/or the Scriptures. As if some are more spiritual by emphasizing Jesus more and the Bible less.

    Your second statement surprises me. Doesn’t the “and” in Acts 2:38 (as a conjunction) make repentance AND baptism be “for” the same thing? Without citing all the passages that speak of the meaning and purpose of baptism, allow me to ask, are you saying that you simply have no idea as to whether or not baptism is “because of” or “in order to” the remission of sins?

    Logically, it MUST be either one or the other, right? It cannot be both. Isnt that so? And is it really your position that the truth regarding such is unascertainable?

    If so, while your humility may be admirable, your position is not. For, in your position, you would not be able to help anybody (with any certainty) in regards to whether or not they must be baptized in order to be forgiven? In your case, you must always reply, “there’s just no way of knowing how to answer that question about baptism, I just don’t know which is true”.

    For according to your position, there is just no way of knowing. At any rate, I can see how a guy in your position makes it easier to play it both ways.

    I don’t believe I have ever heard a Bible student such as yourself take such a position. Ever…

  64. Doug says:

    Hank, let me turn the table and ask you a question. Based on Jesus words, which one of these do you think Jesus most wanted his followers to do in the correct manner.., baptism or unity?

  65. nick gill says:

    If either “because of” or “in order to obtain” were primary definitions of eis, you might have a point, Hank.

    But they aren’t, so the dilemma upon whose horns you’ve tried to gore me is false. Missed you, too, brother!

  66. Doug says:

    Nick, I agree that the religion vs. Jesus divide is unscriptural but that doesn’t mean we don’t do it anyway.

  67. hank says:

    Doug,

    I think Jesus wanted unity between us regarding the truths of God’s word, which does not exclude baptism. He wants us all to teach the same thing, the truth.

    1 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV

    Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

  68. hank says:

    Nick,

    Still, the “and” (being the conjunction that it is), makes the “repent” and the “be baptized” be “eis ” (for) the same thing.

    And we ought nor separate that which God has joined together, brother.

  69. nick gill says:

    We aren’t talking about “and” – we’re talking about “into.” you can’t repent into something, but you can be immersed into something. Also, the different tenses of the two verbs is a strong clue that both aren’t intended to be modified by this particular prepositional phrase.

  70. Royce Ogle says:

    Greg Tidwell said:

    “As the Universalism promoted by the Progressive’s flagship journal New Wineskins abundantly shows, the Progressives (as a movement) don’t believe much that matters enough to define a movement. For those who still have a shred of conviction left, turn back before you become like the Disciples.”

    In addition to being completely false, someone tell me where in the Bible followers of Christ are told to promote, defend, or teach about a “movement”.

    Again and again the Restoration Movement or some other less well known movement is a reference point in these blog comments. May I remind us that the Campbell’s noble ambition was not to start a “movement”, it was exactly the opposite. I know history is troublesome for some folks as Jay’s writings prove by evoking the ire of those whose identity is shaped by and depends on a “movement” rather than Jesus Christ himself.

  71. hank says:

    Well, we should be talking about it seeing how God did say it. It is in there. And the conjunction does join them together.

    Besides, there are scores of other passages which deal with whether or nor Baptism IA “because of” or “in order to”. If you insist on saying there is just no way of knowing for sure, you will be the first I’ve ever heard of to say so.

    Can you name another?

  72. nick gill says:

    Keep moving the target to keep yourself comfortable.

    YOU brought up the debate over whether eis means “because of” or “in order to obtain” in the phrase “all of you repent, and each one of you be baptized eis remission of sins.”

    When I suggest that NEITHER phrase conveys the most common, primary meaning of eis, you shift the conversation to the apostle’s use of “and,” as if that had any bearing on the question at hand.

    And I didn’t think the COC promoted that kind of dancing.

  73. hank says:

    Check again, Nick and see that you were/are the one seeking to limit the discussion to the one word “eis”. Pretty sure the record will show as much.

    I’ve just been since seeking to point out the fact that if you actually believe there is no way to know whether the Bible teaches that baptism is because of or in order to receive forgiveness of sin (as you did assert) then you are the first I have ever heard of to make that assertion.

    And the COC doesn’t promote any type of dancing bro, you know that!

  74. nick gill says:

    Eis is the word that establishes the relationship between the immersion and the remission. Therefore, its definition seems pretty germane to a discussion about the relationship between immersion and remission.

    I’ve just been since seeking to point out the fact that if you actually believe there is no way to know whether the Bible teaches that baptism is because of or in order to receive forgiveness of sin (as you did assert) then you are the first I have ever heard of to make that assertion.

    My assertion is actually that Scripture teaches neither that baptism is “because of” or “in order to obtain” remission of sins. That’s simply not what the passages say. So find someone else to accuse, please. I’m tired of your games already, and I’ve only been back here for a day.

  75. hank says:

    Nick,

    I reread the above and see that you did not actually assert that the Bible does not TEACH Sutherland baptism is because of or in order to. You merely said it does not anywhere SAY it either way. So, allow me to back up and ask – do you believe that the Bible anywhere TEACHES it one way or the other?

    Or, do you maintain there is just no way of knowing for sure?

  76. nick gill says:

    You merely said it does not anywhere SAY it either way.

    Correct.

    do you believe that the Bible anywhere TEACHES it one way or the other?

    No.

    Or, do you maintain there is just no way of knowing for sure?

    No. You’ve presented three options –

    A. The Bible teaches that baptism is because of the remission of sins;
    B. The Bible teaches that baptism is in order to obtain the remission of sins;
    C. The Bible does not teach why a person should be baptized.

    I do not agree with any of these options.

  77. hank says:

    Nick,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    What then, is the meaning of the word eis in Acts 2:38? If you don’t believe it is either “because of” nor “in order to obtain”, how do you see it?

    Thanks, and sorry for the oversight.

  78. nick gill says:

    The same thing it means in most of the other passages in which it appears.

    “Into.”

  79. hank says:

    Thanks, but can you help me see how “into” means other than “in order to obtain”?

    I honestly don’t see how there is a difference. If one is baptized “into” remission of sins, does that not imply that before getting “into” forgivess…is not one yet “out of” the same?

    Does that make sense?

  80. nick gill says:

    Sure. Getting into something is not the same as obtaining it.

  81. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank,

    “In order to obtain” implies a subjective intent. “Into” implies an objective result. “Into” is the most natural translation and is in fact the one normally given by modern translations when EIS follows “baptize.”

    (Act 19:3 ESV) And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”

    (Rom 6:4 ESV) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

  82. hank says:

    But, if by repenting and being baptized would enable them to “get into” the forgiveness of sin, how would that not mean that they would “obtain” as much?

    I mean, having repented and being baptized and “getting into” the forgiveness of sins… would they still be unforgiven? And yet, having “gotten into” the forgiveness of sins, they were also promised the gift of the Holy Spirit as well. Right?

    Wouldn’t receiving the gift of the HS imply that they had actually been forgiven?

  83. hank says:

    I guess my point is that those 3000 that repented and were baptized were added to the church and were recipients of the gift of the HS, right? If so, then when they were baptized “into” the forgiveness of sins…it must mean that they were forgiven.

    Jay – was not the “result” of them repenting and being baptized mean the forgiveness of sin? If so does not repenting and being baptized imply that such was necessary in order to obtain as much?

    And does not the “and” connect the two acts “into” the same result?

  84. nick gill says:

    I don’t think that’s what Luke describes – rather, the result of their repentance and immersion into the forgiveness of sins is salvation, receiving the gift-which-is the Holy Spirit, and addition to the Lord’s congregation.

  85. Gregory Alan Tidwell says:

    Royce;

    In criticism of my comments concerning the Progressive movement, you wrote: “…someone tell me where in the Bible followers of Christ are told to promote, defend, or teach about a ‘movement.’”

    This shell game continues. The entire point of this thread is what common cause the Progressive Churches of Christ can find with the Evangelicals. This discussion is not dealing with a member-by-member exposition. (Jay’s initial essay was not “how will I as an individual Progressive Church of Christer engage an individual Evangelical. Nor was Jay’s premise “how will the Progressive Church of Christ of which I am an elder engage a local Evangelical congregation.” The essay on which this entire thread is based was framed in a discussion of the Progressive Churches of Christ as an identifiable entity, in other words, a movement.

    I find it disingenuous, when card carrying members of the Progressive club discuss the future direction of their movement, it is one thing, but if I comment on the direction they are taking, it is another.

    As a side note, I am very sorry we are able to discuss different movements among Churches of Christ. But wishing it were not so does not change the reality, and it is always better to tell the truth about how things are than to pretend they are the way we want them to be.

    GATidwell

  86. Royce Ogle says:

    Greg,

    We agree on one thing. Truth wins.

    I think the problem is generalizing. I am guilty and so are you. All “conservatives” don’t deny the deity of Jesus, only a few wackos do. So it would be wrong for me to say “conservatives don’t believe in the deity of Jesus”. So, I get my hackle up when someone says something in a general way that describes some “progressives” but does not describe me and many whom I know to be just as devoted to the Lordship of Jesus as I suppose you are. Perhaps we, and others might be more thoughtful before we make sweeping statements about other Christians.

    Royce

  87. hank says:

    Nick, you wrote:

    “… the result of their repentance and immersion into the forgiveness of sins is salvation, receiving the gift-which-is the Holy Spirit, and addition to the Lord’s congregation.”

    That’s what I’m saying! But, if salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit and addition to the Lord’s church is THE RESULT of repenting and being baptized (immersed), then repenting and being baptized must be in “order to obtain” each of the above mentioned blessings.

    For, the result of an action can not logically precede the action itself. Otherwise, it would not/could not be the result of such. Right?

  88. nick gill says:

    But, if salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit and addition to the Lord’s church is THE RESULT of repenting and being baptized (immersed), then repenting and being baptized must be in “order to obtain” each of the above mentioned blessings.

    False. In fact, this idea is related to one of the most common logical fallacies – post hoc ergo propter hoc.

    Literally translated “After this, therefore because of this,” this logical fallacy points out that there is no essential link between chronology and causality. When we turn on the TV and our favorite sports team starts to lose, if we believe we’ve jinxed them, it is because we’ve fallen prey to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    Related to this is the idea you propose, that because A leads to B, A must have been done in order to cause B. But the Law of Unintended Consequences that has wrecked so many of our good intentions nullifies this idea.

    When I leave work today, I will get into my car in order to go to dinner and then to church. I will also cool off from the warmer temperatures outside, but that doesn’t mean that I got into my car in order to obtain a cooler temperature.

    The fact that a particular condition is the end result of a series of actions in no way necessarily signifies that that series of actions is essential in order for that condition to be experienced.

  89. hank says:

    Nick,

    If somebody thinks that their favorite team starting to lose was actually THE RESULT of their tuning in, then said person is not that smart.

    That’s because the definition of result is:

    a : to proceed or arise as a consequence, effect, or conclusion

    If a death came after a disease but was not the actual consequence of the disease then could not be correctly deemed THE RESULT. For it to be THE RESULT, it must in fact be the consequence of the disease.

    Your example doesn’t work. I’m not sure what the name of your fallacy is, but it is one indeed.

    Now, if forgiveness of sin is truly THE RESULT (the consequence) of repenting and being baptized…. then repenting and being baptized is directly related to (it results in) the forgiveness of sin. Or, forgiveness of sin is the consequence of (the result) repenting and being baptized.

    The only way around this, is to make up your own definition of the word “result”.

  90. hank says:

    In fact, see if you can use “result” in a sentence where the first thing does not actually and directly cause, lead to, and/or be the reason for the second thing, and the read it and see how silly it will seem.

  91. nick gill says:

    Perhaps that’s why Scripture doesn’t use result to talk about the relationship between the immersion and the remission.

    Perhaps (echo, echo, echo) the relationship between the immersion and the remission cannot be adequately explained as cause-and-effect, in either direction.

    Perhaps the relationship is not transactional at all.

    Perhaps.

  92. hank says:

    And you accused me of “dancing”? Lol

  93. nick gill says:

    Brother, in this conversation, I’ve consistently said the things above – doing my best to limit myself to what Scripture says and not what I was told that it says.

    I’ve consistently rejected your either-or.
    I’ve consistently said that you are not saying what Scripture actually says.
    I’ve consistently focused on the stated relationship between immersion and remission – not switching the focus of the talk to other relationships between other concepts.

    If that’s dancing, it is one monotonous dance!

  94. Royce Ogle says:

    Hank,

    You said “Now, if forgiveness of sin is truly THE RESULT (the consequence) of repenting and being baptized…. then repenting and being baptized is directly related to (it results in) the forgiveness of sin. Or, forgiveness of sin is the consequence of (the result) repenting and being baptized.”

    Forgiveness of sin is not the result of repenting and baptism, it is the result of the work of Jesus for sinners. You are making repenting and being baptized the gospel. It isn’t, both are responses to the gospel. When were we reconciled to God? Not when we repent and are immersed! No, we were reconciled by the body of Christ. It was Jesus who appeased the wrath of God against sin. God doesn’t stand on his tip toes to see who he can forgive based on what they do. He freely accepts those who come to him based on what Jesus accomplished before any of us were born. We are accepted in the “Beloved” (Christ), we are not accepted because of one act or 5 acts, we only accepted by the Father based upon the work and worth of the Son.

  95. hank says:

    Royce,

    Nick also said that forgiveness and being added to the church is THE RESULT of repenting and being baptized. We both said that.

    The difference is that I believe it when I say it.

  96. hank says:

    By the way Royce, have you ever heard anybody argue that one thing can be the result of another WITHOUT it being an actual and direct cause?

    Just curious.

  97. nick gill says:

    Scroll through this conversation, hank, and please copy-and-paste where I said that forgiveness is the result of baptism.

    Good luck.

  98. Bruce Morton says:

    Royce:
    I know from your previous posts the depths of this area for you. You have been clear that you see a considerable divide between the saving work of Jesus and the ritual of baptism. And I know that is what fuels your statement: “Forgiveness of sin is not the result of repenting and baptism, it is the result of the work of Jesus for sinners. You are making repenting and being baptized the gospel. It isn’t, both are responses to the gospel. When were we reconciled to God? Not when we repent and are immersed! No, we were reconciled by the body of Christ.”

    Yes, it is by Jesus’ work that our sins are taken away. And let me also offer what Paul says in Colossians 2:9-15 as further clarity about “the work of God.” Will leave with you to read. You know that I will be glad to discuss further, even by phone if you desire.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  99. hank says:

    You wrote:

    “I don’t think that’s what Luke describes – rather, the result of their repentance and immersion into the forgiveness of sins is salvation, receiving the gift-which-is the Holy Spirit, and addition to the Lord’s congregation.”

    Would you be more comfortable with me saying:

    “Nick believes that THE RESULT of their baptism IS SALVATION? (Along with the gift of the Holy Spirit and being added to the church). Cause you said precisely that.

    IF you want to take the position that they received salvation, the gift of the Holy Spirit and were added to the body of the saved APART from their receiving forgiveness, then I stand corrected.

    But, is that what you believe?

  100. hank says:

    Thanks, Bruce.

  101. laymond says:

    Royce you said; “All conservatives” don’t deny the deity of Jesus, only a few wackos do.”

    Royce, do you know the meaning of “deity” ? A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being. A supernatural immortal being is not susceptible to death.
    Royce what you are saying is the death, and resurrection of Jesus was a farce.
    Mortality is the condition of being mortal, or susceptible to death; the opposite of immortality. According to what is written in the bible Jesus was susceptible, because it is said that he did die. Therefore he did not come under the description of “deity”.
    You can’t have it both ways, either Jesus was deity, and did not die, or Jesus died, and was not deity.

  102. Royce Ogle says:

    No one can say Jay doesn’t have a diverse group of readers and commenters.

    Bruce, not interested in a discussion. I know your positions well. You have said it over and over here.

    And Laymond… Really?

  103. Todd Collier says:

    Laymond, you actually got my eyebrows arched on that one. Your definition of “deity” includes immortality and yet throughout the ages all sorts of religions have included gods who died or were killed: Osiris, Baal, Mithras, Krishna, Dionysis, Adonis to name just a few. So as a “comparative religion” question your definition fails.
    Paul clearly states that Jesus was equal with God but would not exploit that equality and emptied Himself and became a man. John describes Jesus as the pre-existent Word Who took on flesh. The man born blind and Thomas worship Him and call Him Lord and God – one before the passion the other after thus sinking adoptionism.

    Amazing, a hang up on something that I actually believe is a salvation issue.

  104. Alabama John says:

    Jesus was both at the same time.

    He was diety at birth with the cloak of man. The cloak died, but diety lived on. Diety came and lives as man. “As” is not the same life we live and the proof is His life was sinless, none of ours is.

    One thing all this over 100 comments discussion demonstrates is how regardless of what direction the church of Christ takes in the future, all of us ultimately will still believe individually and even differently at various points and after experiences that changed each of us during our lifetimes. We all will ultimately be judged individually same as in the past. That part will never change.

  105. Bruce Morton says:

    Royce:
    Okay. So, let me listen a little more to your understanding of “my position.” How do you read Colossians 2:9-15? Paul links baptism to the “work of God.” What do you make of that? How do you understand the circumcision of Jesus being baptism into Christ in the text?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  106. Bruce Morton says:

    And Royce, let me comment that your “over and over” sounds critical of me. And you have not shared your conclusions about baptism over and over in this webforum?

    I hope you will have the same patience to hear me as you expect others to have toward you.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  107. laymond says:

    Todd, as for what you said about (other gods) dying. they not only didn’t dye, they didn’t live. Todd, I ran a bible search on the “gods” you mentioned none except baal, turned up, and according to the bible baal is not a true god. therefore could not be deity.
    The definition of Deity I quoted is not mine. look it up.

    Todd said; Paul clearly states that Jesus was equal with God but would not exploit that equality.
    Todd, Paul did no such thing, he said the exact opposite, most people when they say what you said refer to the following scripture.

    Phl 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
    Phl 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
    as Peter said some of what Paul wrote is hard to understand. ” not robbery” is the part that makes what Paul said, not plain.
    Lets look at the later versions, which I must admit clarifies a lot of what is written in the KJV. but lets not forget who wrote these versions, either. and lets not forget the Footnotes, which correct what is said before the *
    NLT Though he was God,* he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
    Footnote:
    * Or Being in the form of God.
    NIV
    Who, being in very nature* God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    Footnote:
    * Or in the form of

    No I am not denying Jesus was made in the form of God so were you. But as Paul said, being in the form (image) of God does not make you equal to God.

    ESV (this pretty much says what Paul intended)
    who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

    This is the real description Paul gave of God’s son Jesus.
    Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:
    Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
    That doesn’t sound to me like Paul was pushing this idea that Jesus was really God in disguise.

  108. Charles McLean says:

    That giant sucking sound you hear is this thread being pulled into the whirlpool of baptism doctrine, where all good CoC threads go to die– in all kinds of forums. All someone has to do is trail this old fox tail in front of the hounds and off goes the pack, baying in Greek down the deeply-rutted trail. We really should know better by now.

    Oh, a correction to the above: sometimes it’s not baptism, sometimes it’s a piano. Same giant swirling-down-the-drain result, however.

  109. hank says:

    Charles, you’re right. Its a crying shame so many people insist on rejecting all of the many passages that teach the meaning and purpose of baptism (to be saved, to get into Christ, to be united with the death and resurrection of Christ, to be forgiven, to put on Christ, etc.) and instead try to replace it all with a “Sinner’s Prayer).

    Gee whizz, so much time gets wasted because of that!

  110. Todd Collier says:

    Laymond, of course I looked it up and the definitions I saw included the phrase “usually” immortal. And I did not cite the other gods to say that they were real gods, but to point out that the accepted definition of deity includes gods that some people at some time believed died. Scripture is not subject to individual interpretation, nor are commonly used words.

    Let me share with you some of what you failed to find. As I have tried to show even the Goyim believe in gods that die and are raised:
    Osiris – hacked to pieces and reconstituted by Isis except for his manly bits. He became the god of the dead and the pharoahs were believed to be his living incarnations.
    Adonis – Plutarch tells us that his death was celebrated every year with mourning and then the next day all proclaimed “He lives!” and enjoyed the Bacchanalia in his honor.
    Dionysis – was eaten alive by the titans except for his heart, Zeus took the heart and buried it in his thigh and Dionysis was “reborn” from his father.
    Baal – was murdered by Mot but was mysteriously discovered to be alive, his death and return were celebrated annually.
    Krishna’s story matches Jesus in many points.
    (Actually most civilizations included deities who died and rose again and worshipped them as representations of the agricultural cycle.)
    So again deity means “usually” immortal.

    Early Christians used the Egyptian/Greek/Roman/Persian myths in their apologia to show that Christianity was not as “out there” as the pagans said while at the same time presented a complex theology of how these myths came to so closely resemble Christian Truth. (Basically satan reading God’s blueprints and leading men into counterfeit religions.)

    In pondering what I wrote earlier (or later depending on how we view o’dark thirty) I believe John’s anathema against those who deny Christ came in the flesh is an even stronger argument for Christ’s deity. No one would care whether He came in the flesh or not if the early Christians weren’t calling Jesus a God. This is what the Greeks objected to. Their dualist view of spirit/flesh could not accept a “god” belittling himself to live as a man and then submit to humiliation and death. Their gods might take a temporary physical form but it was followed by displays of their power against any who couldn’t see through the disguise – a la Lystra. (Acts 14)

    You do have the proper wording down pat for Phil 2, but you miss the meaning by a mile. This is a hymn of descent which makes no sense unless the first step that Jesus surrendered were a greater “form of God” than we possess. There is no way that I can exploit being made in the “form” of God if everyone else is also formed in the same form. The argument doesn’t fit with everything else.

    Further, Jesus accepted worship which would have been unthinkable if He were a mere man and not also God in the flesh. He claimed the names, titles and roles of God – study John thoroughly – and for this reason the leaders of the Jews tried to kill Him. They understood fully what He was claiming! – John 10:31-39
    And even though you might latch onto Jesus “you are gods” defense note that He differentiates Himself from us by His comparison, not identifies Himself with us and further He reminds them that He was “consecrated” and “sent into” this world. Again this makes no sense unless He was Deity in the flesh.

    As for His death burial and resurrection, it is a pretty arrogant assumption that God cannot do a thing because Laymond or even 10,000 scholars say He cannot. Did He not say “Let God be true and every man a liar?”

    Further since you and I cannot agree on how the text should be interpreted let’s look at how it was interpreted by the early believers:
    70′s AD The Letter of Barnabas “And further, my brethren, if the Lord [Jesus] endured to suffer for our soul, he being the Lord of all the world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, ‘Let us make man after our image, and after our likeness,’ understand how it was that he endured to suffer at the hand of men” (Letter of Barnabas 5).
    @80′s AD The Shepherd of Hermas “The Son of God is older than all his creation, so that he became the Father’s adviser in his creation. Therefore also he is ancient” (The Shepherd 12).
    140 AD Aristides “[Christians] are they who, above every people of the Earth, have found the truth, for they acknowledge God, the creator and maker of all things, in the only-begotten Son and in the Holy Spirit” (Apology 16).
    150 AD Justin Martyr “The Father of the universe has a Son, who also being the first begotten Word of God, is even God.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch 63)
    150 AD Justin Martyr “Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Dialogue with Trypho, ch, 36)
    150 AD Justin Martyr “Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Christ] is witnessed to by Him who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ.” – Dialogue with Trypho, ch. 63.

    150 AD Justin Martyr “We will prove that we worship him reasonably; for we have learned that he is the Son of the true God Himself, that he holds a second place, and the Spirit of prophecy a third. For this they accuse us of madness, saying that we attribute to a crucified man a place second to the unchangeable and eternal God, the Creator of all things; but they are ignorant of the Mystery which lies therein” (First Apology 13:5-6).
    150 AD Polycarp of Smyrna “I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you, along with the everlasting and heavenly Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, with whom, to you and the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and to all coming ages. Amen” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 14).
    160 AD Mathetes “[The Father] sent the Word that he might be manifested to the world . . . This is he who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old . . . This is he who, being from everlasting, is today called the Son” (Letter to Diognetus 11).
    170 AD Tatian the Syrian “We are not playing the fool, you Greeks, nor do we talk nonsense, when we report that God was born in the form of a man” (Address to the Greeks 21).
    177 AD Athenagoras “The Son of God is the Word of the Father in thought and actuality. By him and through him all things were made, the Father and the Son being one. Since the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son by the unity and power of the Spirit, the Mind and Word of the Father is the Son of God. And if, in your exceedingly great wisdom, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by `the Son,’ I will tell you briefly: He is the first- begotten of the Father, not as having been produced, for from the beginning God had the Word in himself, God being eternal mind and eternally rational, but as coming forth to be the model and energizing force of all material things” (Plea for the Christians 10:2-4).

    I could go on but these serve to establish that the early Church received from the apostles and believed in the deity of Jesus as Christ, as preexistent Word, as Co-creator with God the Father. The fact that many of these statements are made purely to defend Christian theology from the attack of pagan philosophy is even greater evidence of what was taught in private. If these first believers thought other than that Jesus was Lord and Christ in the sense of divinity they could easily have said so and saved themselves all the trouble. (I honestly tried to find some ancient father that denied or side stepped Jesus divinity but could not find even one.)

    It is also important evidence that the earliest Christian heresy arose no tin denying that Jesus was not God, but in denying that Jesus as God had actually incarnated to live and die as a man. As I stated above concerning John’s anathema, this development makes no sense historically if the early believers were not teaching the deity of Jesus who took on flesh, lived for a little while among us, submitted to a horrible and humiliating death, rose again by His own power and had ascended into Glory where He intercedes as High Priest forever.

  111. hank says:

    Great post, Todd

  112. Todd Collier says:

    crud, forgot to put in the bits about baptism and instrumental music…

  113. Jerry says:

    Laymond,

    You can add to what Todd wrote what Thomas confessed when he saw the resurrected Christ: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

    If Jesus were not God in human flesh, how does His death have power to forgive sin? Why would John (2 John 7) call those who denied that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh the anti-Christ? etc. etc. etc.

  114. Alabama John says:

    The point of Jesus being both God and man most preached by christians and for the longest period of time has been the virgin birth.

    We are born from sperm entering woman and Jesus was born by Spirit entering a woman.

    Many times we in the COC dodge stating that and take the long way around as it sounds way to catholic denomination.

    That birth and all surrounding it written in the bible answers all the age old questions very well and has for 2000 plus years.

  115. laymond says:

    Todd, let me congradulate you on writing a very long comment and not mentioning the context in which Philippians 2:6 was written.

    Phl 2:1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassions,
    Phl 2:2 make full my joy, that ye be of the same mind, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;
    Phl 2:3 [doing] nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself;
    Phl 2:4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
    Phl 2:5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
    Phl 2:6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,

    Paul, is writing a letter of encouragement to those in Philippi who were followers of Jesus, and telling them to have in their mind, that which was in Jesus mind.
    So if Paul was saying that Jesus was equal to God, what was he saying about the Philippians ?
    I know you are saying that Paul said a god became a man, but could Paul be justified in asking men to become gods.

  116. Royce Ogle says:

    Bruce as you likely know, I have explained that verse and many others in detail on this blog in answers to others.

    We simply disagree. It isn’t going to be resolved with more discourse. I agree mostly with Jay’s teaching on water baptism. I think you know what I have said about this subject and others. I have not been shy about what I believe and why I believe it. And, I am not upset in the least that not everyone agrees with me. Each of us will be held accountable by the One who really matters in the end. I’m ready for that appointment.

    I have a blog with over 450 posts on it, most dealing with the Bible and theology. I am not fond of using someone else’s blog to post my teaching.

    I will only say this, and this is final. Jesus has done all that is needed for God to justify an ungodly sinner, nothing else needs to be added to his work. He alone is the sinner’s way to forgiveness and peace, and finally immortality. I trust only in him.

    I wish you well,
    Royce

  117. Todd Collier says:

    Laymond you’re kidding right?
    It is obvious from the context that Paul is calling the Philippians to imitate Christ’s humility for the glory of the Father. No where does he call us to be “gods” or be found in appearance as men, or die on a cross. You yourself ignore the context in that Paul is trying to heal a breach in the congregation that only humility can mend. My “very long” comment merely places me in the overhwelming majority stance of Christian Orthodoxy since the very beginning. Seems like the humble position to me.

    On the other hand name one orthodox father of the first two centuries who support the non-deity of Jesus.

  118. laymond says:

    Jhn 8:39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did,
    Jhn 8:40 but now you seek to kill me, (a man) who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.

    This is something that is not a trivial matter to me, I believe it is important to know. It is not a matter of numbers, how many believe one thing or the other, if that were so then I win hands down. Read what the Jews and Muslims believe about Jesus, (I dare say you will be surprised at what Muslims say about Jesus) then try to discredit them using the bible – can’t be done.
    I have studied this subject a lot, I dare say probably more than most of you that comment here.

  119. Todd Collier says:

    I don’t think Jews or Muslims qualify as orthodox Christians. It is somewhat of a problem to give credence to their interpretations of texts they do not believe are the Word of God anyway. If we were talking about an issue concerning which there was even a close divide or decent representation for in Christianity maybe we would look at whether the numbers matter or not. But in the present case I have not merely been pointing to numbers themselves but to the overwhelmingly uniform early Christian witnesses and the total lack of contrary witnesses. From the beginning the deity of Jesus has been the orthodox position of the Church.

    Again, if you can find a single orthodox Christian writer of the first three centuries who agree with you I would love to know them. But they have to say “Jesus was just a man and not a god” just as clearly as the rest plainly wrote that “Jesus was God”.

    As for study time, I can waive my education around as well. Time in study is useless if the mind is not open to change.

    I agree that this is a key issue, in fact as I said in my initial post to you it is one of the few “salvation” issues that actually get brought up here. To deny Jesus was the Son of God Who came in the flesh, suffered and died and rose again is the very definition of “anti-Christ” according to the apostle John. There is no atonement or salvation if we adopt that which is patently against Christ. There are not a whole lot of things the apostles lumped in that category, this is one of them in deed.

  120. laymond says:

    Todd, you win, you win the trophy for scripture avoidance, or the ignoring of scripture, I quote scripture, and you come back with a personal opinion. If not your own, then the opinion of another. no scriptural evidence what -so-ever.
    So I give, I give you over to your own opinions, although they are void of scriptural truth. I guess we have to wait to find out who is right, those who lived with Jesus, or those who used him as political fodder. God Bless.

  121. Bruce Morton says:

    Royce:
    I hope you realize that when I ask questions from the text (just as Jay does ALL THE TIME in his essays…), I am urging you to rethink where you have landed at a point. Jay does that as well. Right? You put off responding to my questions as if… you have already answered ALL of them and are not going to use Jay’s website to describe what you believe…. However, you have described and taught your beliefs about salvation frequently on this weblog, Royce.

    And no, brother. You MISS the message of baptism into Christ. You keep saying “Jesus saves” and you should know that EVERYONE in this weblog AGREES with that. What you ignore is what Paul says in Colossians 2:9-15 (and other places). In baptism we PARTICIPATE in Jesus’ saving work. We join Him. THAT is part of what Jay seems to avoid seeing as well. To be clear I brought up Col. 2:9-15 to you for a specific reason. Some months ago you made it clear that you were sure Eph. 2:5 had no reference to baptism. Col. 2:9-15 corrects that conclusion. The texts represent a parallelism with Eph. 2:5 — which I now know (a new learning for me). I hope you consider.

    Finally, I think you want people to respect you enough to patiently read what you have written. Right? I have really listened (and even tried to call you to listen and ask questions). I get the feeling sometimes that you, Jay and others want free reign to say what you want to say… and everyone else just listen. When what you write is in conflict with apostolic teaching, you should expect someone to kindly question. Why? The brief answer is that I care about you enough to take the time to write and I care about what is taught in this weblog.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  122. Todd Collier says:

    What a load Laymond!

    I have quoted from John (The entire Gospel is about the “Word became flesh”) both in Jesus teachings and drawing on stories of His interaction with others recorded there. I quoted from Phil. 2 and from 1 John. So you can can the Scripture avoidance mess. I am handling the text the same way you do, you just don’t like what I am saying.

    You have disagreed with what those Scriptures teach so since we cannot agree on what the Scripture means I shifted the conversation to “commentary” What did others closer to the beginning than we are say about these passages and the person of Jesus?

    This is not a dodge as you suggest, it is the proper way to approach any Scriptural question and is used by everyone on this site every day to establish what the Scripture means and how it should be applied. Few believers feel that they and they alone have the right to interpret Scripture as they see fit.

    I have established firmly that my belief is in line with the text, both in specific verses and in metathemes.
    I have established that my belief is in keeping with the original beliefs of the Church by the overwhelming testimony of the church fathers.
    I have further established that the response of the pagan world to Christianity can only be understood in light of the early Church’s understanding of the deity of Jesus.
    I have established that the earliest heresies of the Church only make sense if Jesus was being presented as deity.

    “You have provided a handful of misapplied verses and a lot of arrogance. you wrote:
    I quote scripture, and you come back with a personal opinion. If not your own, then the opinion of another. no scriptural evidence what -so-ever.”

    Reread your own posts, you have done the exact same thing with one exception, at least there are others of note who share my opinions. You are out on a limb all by yourself and so either heaven has a population of 1 or you are greatly mistaken on an issue that John says goes to your salvation. And your not agreeing with my Scriptural evidence does not make it nonexistent.

    I have asked you to provide any early commentary supporting your position and instead of doing so you have attacked my methodology and the good character of the church fathers who acted not for politics but to preserve and defend their faith, A faith for which most of them died. None of the fathers I quoted were politicians or running for office anywhere nor had anything to gain personally from what they wrote. They wrote to defend the truth, nothing more. (You might have meant their preservation was politically motivated but again historically that doesn’t work since the teaching of the other major heresies were preserved, many in the original writings. If a major group had arisen teaching as you do we would know about it.)

    I would expand my original request and lower my standards and ask for any commentary at all from any recognized Bible believing Christian theologian of the past 2,000 years who would agree with you. Provide it and I will address it.

    But so far all I see is a single man who believes he can interpret Scripture any way he likes – I do believe there is a proof text for that. I’m not the one winning the avoidance trophies here.

  123. laymond says:

    Todd, do you really think that the same Paul that wrote the following;

    Eph 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:
    Eph 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
    Col 1:3 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
    1Cr 8:6 But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.
    Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.

    The same Paul wrote as you say, that, Phl 2:6 said Jesus is equal to god.

    Paul would have to be incoherent, to have written this with the meaning you applied to it.

    Malachi 2:10- Have we not all ONE FATHER? hath not ONE GOD created us?….
    Jhn 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
    John 10:29- My Father, which gave them me, is GREATER than all;…
    John 14:28- my Father is GREATER than I.

    I can’t believe that people use this small mis-translated vs. to make all the above scripture a lie.
    Phl 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

  124. Royce Ogle says:

    Bruce,

    (First, an apology to Jay and the other readers here. I didn’t intend to write more about this, however….)

    You are incorrect when you said ” You keep saying “Jesus saves” and you should know that EVERYONE in this weblog AGREES with that.” Everyone does not agree with that. A couple of guys here have admitted that they don’t believe Jesus is enough to save, that it takes more.

    I do not and cannot speak for Jay. However, I don’t personally know anyone who has written more extensively about baptism than Jay Guin. His positions on the subject are as clear as crystal. I seriously doubt that you’ve found an insight that he has not considered, or some truth he has not discovered. Yet you keep annoying him (in my opinion) and complaining that he is ignoring you. Why don’t you just read what he has written?

    You see, the problem is that Jay and others, much more educated and intelligent than I, have studied water baptism in the Bible for many years and simply reached a different conclusion than you have. I don’t agree with Jay 100% on the subject but largely agree as I said in the last comment. I don’t care if you disagree.

    What I strongly object to is your statement that what I have written ” is in conflict with apostolic teaching”. Since you are not an apostle you must mean Peter, Paul, and John, those apostles. I’m sure I write and teach what is in conflict with YOUR OPINION of apostolic teaching, in fact I know I do. You “opinions” and “preferences” are only that.

    Jay has asked that his readers be civil toward each other. With that injunction in mind I’ll stop here. You have the absolute right to right to write anything you please about me or anyone else and to teach whatever you choose. And, I have the right to ignore you. I will now exercise that right.

  125. Jerry says:

    Laymond,

    You want Scripture identifying Jesus as God? Here are a few:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. – John 1:1, NIV

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14, NIV

    No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. John 1:18

    So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him, not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. – John 5:16-18, NIV

    Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your had and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:27-28

    John said the Word not only was with God in the beginning, but the Word was God and that the Word became flesh and lived among us. He also noted that when Jesus called God his Father the Jews said he was making himself equal to God. When Thomas recognized the resurrected Jesus he called him “My Lord and my God.”

    This is the message the apostles went out to preach. It is the message still believed today by the faithful church. The Gnostic heresy, which began even in the 1st century, was that Jesus was God, but not flesh. That is the background for 2 John 7, 10-11. “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist…. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work”

    My friend, you need to be careful in demoting Jesus. Yes, he emptied himself of heavenly glory to take on flesh as he was born of the virgin. After his death and resurrection, he went back to the heavenly realm from where he rules the world. His disciples, as citizens of heaven, form a colony of heaven here on earth where they are already part of the new creation of which Jesus is the firstfruit. When he returns, he will come bringing the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells. “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

  126. hank says:

    Royce,

    Not too long ago you wrote as plain as day that you believe that sinners are saved “without one bit of obedience” needed from them.

    If that were true, then every sinner would be saved. Every sinner. Think about that.

    However, since you have said that not every sinner will be saved, it becomes evident that YOU don’t even believe what you say you believe about not needing “one bit of obedience.” As I have pointed out on several occasions – you contradict yourself!

    You repeatedly assert that if our obedience is necessary for God to save us, then it must mean Jesus was not enough.

    Of course, the book of God positively teaches that Christ is the author of eternal salvation unto all them “that obey him”.

  127. hank says:

    If Jesus work was such that sinners would be saved without needing to render “one bit of obedience” as you have said, why are they commanded to repent?

  128. laymond says:

    No Jerry, that is not what I want, I have heard every scripture that has been misused in order to call God’s Son “God” what I want is for someone to reconcile, that Paul said “Jesus is God” with Eph. 1:3, Eph. 1:17, Col. 1:8 , Eph. 4:6, and 1Cr 8:6 But to us [there is but] one God, the Father—-.

  129. laymond says:

    Jerry, thanks for the warning,”My friend, you need to be careful in demoting Jesus.” but I believe Jesus dislikes even more those who demote his God, and his Father. anyhow that is what he said.

    “His disciples, as citizens of heaven, form a colony of heaven here on earth where they are already part of the new creation of which Jesus is the firstfruit.”

    Jerry you need to be careful of what you quote. “firstfruit, I thought fruit was the result of work, when we produce fruit, it is produced from works. I don’t believe we are the fruit of our own works.

  130. laymond says:

    “the Jews said he was making himself equal to God. When Thomas recognized the resurrected Jesus he called him “My Lord and my God.” ”
    Jerry, I have read the same passages you have, but just because the Jews falsely accused Jesus, and Thomas( humbly) called him god, does not make it true.

    Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.

    I will guess you have also read this, so does that take away Jesus right to correct the man.even though it is untrue.

  131. Todd Collier says:

    Laymond,

    Cite one Bible scholar of note in the past 2,000 years that agrees with you. It is important that from the beginning all the verses you quote have been interpreted as Paul agreeing with John and if you examine each of them there is nothing that does disagree with John. Paul also wrote:
    Colossians 1:15-20 (NIV)
    He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.

    and
    Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV)
    For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, Who is the head over every power and authority.

    and
    Hebrews 1:1-3 (NIV)
    In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through Whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

    Though Paul might not have said “Jesus is God” in every mention of Jesus he ever wrote (any more than he said get baptized in every quote) it is difficult to not see that point being made in the passages cited above. Paul did equate Jesus with deity.

    John clearly and unequivocably devoted an entire Gospel to making Jesus eternal with God. The way you handle some of these passages is a bit strange. If Thomas was over enthusiastic in calling Jesus Lord and God why didn’t John include a note that this was the case (similar to the note he inserted when recording what Jesus told Peter about John’s remaining until Jesus came back if Jesus wanted him to) or record Jesus rebuke of Thomas worship – Just as Mark recorded the “none is good by God” rebuke. When Philip asks to see the Father, Jesus says “Don’t you know Me Philip?” Jesus is claiming to BE the Father. He then goes on to detail the inner connectedness of His ministry and the Church with the ongoing work and love of the Father. You may reinterpret this or that verse of John your way, but as Jerry has posted above, there are verses- such as the first half of Chapter 1- that cannot be interpreted in that manner. In Chapter 1 John clearly identifies Jesus with the eternal Word of God that was with God at the creation and in fact was the force and power of creation.

    It is far easier to reconcile what Paul writes with the deified Christ view of Jesus in John than it is to reconcile John with a Jesus is not God interpretation of Paul.

    John makes his case so strongly that the only possible outcome is that Jesus is either God and Paul focuses on His specific role in the Godhead when he describes Jesus,
    or
    Jesus is not God and the Gospel of John and 1 John are false testimonies about Jesus and the Church.

    Doubting that you would take up my challenge to find witnesses to support your views I did it myself and I have to say that I am more than ever sure of the ancient interpretation of the nature of Christ as God. The only opponents to this view are Jews, Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is what I have to show for two days of searching.

    Again Laymond, just once consider that what you believe might be wrong. It is highly unlikely that you are the only one who is right. We may often have to stand alone for the truth, but we are seldom the only ones who know the truth.

  132. Alabama John says:

    Anyone heard Handel’s Messiah?

    Revelations 4-5 when all the best beings of this earth was gathered with John and none could open the scrolls.
    Then there was a Lamb. The sacrificed Lamb. “Worthy is the Lamb” Wow, when its finished, the amens!!!!

    I also like the song many sing today about this same Revelations experience “There stood a Lamb”

    Check it out and listen to the words. Sung by a small COC group, without instruments of course.

  133. laymond says:

    Todd this is how I read, and understand what Paul wrote here.

    Colossians 1:15-20 He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God (The Father), the firstborn over all creation. For by Him (God) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him (God) and for Him (God). He (God) is before all things, and in Him (God) all things hold together. And He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church; He (Jesus) is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He (Jesus) might have the supremacy. For God (The Father) was pleased to have all His fullness (God’s fullness) dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him (Jesus) to reconcile to Himself (God) all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His (Jesus) blood, shed on the cross.
    Since the writings of Paul’s time did not include punctuation, we have to use context to other writings to understand what Paul said (at the moment)

    What Paul wrote has to be kept in context to the Jewish Scripture. (example)
    Gen 5:1 This [is] the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that (God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;)

    Peter warns us not to over emphasize some of the thing Paul said.
    2Pe 3:15 And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
    2Pe 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
    2Pe 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, (seeing ye know [these things] before,) beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (seeing you already know these things, don’t be led astray, by things hard to understand)

    Todd, I am not accusing you of being “unlearned and unstable” Just taught wrongly.
    If Paul’s writings seem to be contrary to “Jewish scripture”, Old Testament. We have to adjust Paul’s writings to fit with Old Testament, not vice versa. The facts of the relationship between God and Jesus are plainly written in Isaiah , and confirmed by Jesus in Matthew.

    “Again Laymond, just once consider that what you believe might be wrong. It is highly unlikely that you are the only one who is right.”

    And yet you named millions, if not billions who agree closer with me, than you.

  134. Todd Collier says:

    Millions and billions who deny Jesus. You ally with them? You don’t find this the least bit horrifying that you take your key theology from the stated enemies of the cross?

    We always read the Bible – OT through NT with an understanding of ongoing revelation. We know little to nothing of life after death, heaven or hell or salvation outside of a circumcision based covenant with God without things being made more clear in the NT. You interpret Paul according to your own private means. I think your way makes no sense. I have arrived at my conclusions via my own study and yes they coincide with the rest of the Christian witness because I allowed that Christian witness to help me see what was being taught.

    Sorry dude, I’m not going to reject 2,000 unbroken years of straight theology on Who Jesus was just because Laymond disagrees. In fact I am going to worry about Laymond’s soul and think him rather hard headed and closed to learning new things. I’m a “progressive” remember? I’ve spent the past thirty years rethinking and re-examining my theology and doctrine and reducing requisites as much as possible. I’ve had to adjust my thinking on dozens of topics as a result of further study. The list I have left is short but the deity of Jesus is the foundation of all of it.

    I repeat my request – name any reputable Christian Bible scholar who agrees with you.

    I have already agreed that Paul does not always speak of Jesus as God (Though I have also argued that in other key passages he does call Jesus God and I believe that in the passages where he does not he is emphasizing the differing roles of the Godhead.) but you have not explained how your skewed doctrine reconciles with the fact of the gnostics, John’s anathema or the pagan response to Christianity. For your doctrine to be correct it must not just fit the Biblical context (and I argue it does not anyway.), it must also work against the historical context, which it obviously does not.

    Reconcile these issues please.

  135. Bruce Morton says:

    Royce:
    Okay, I feel ignored. Also: perhaps you can help me see sometime how rants about me and not even showing me the common respect of answering questions I have asked you… represents love toward a brother.

    And no Jay does not answer some questions put to him regarding baptism (Ask HistoryGuy and Alexander, Royce; they have drawn the same conclusions that I have drawn — and shared such with Jay). Jay avoids some questions as well. And speaking of scholars, I can think of one scholar who has put more time into better understanding the teaching of baptism than has Jay… and has drawn different conclusions than has Jay. And who is that? Everett Ferguson, for one. I have urged Jay to review Everett’s recently released 953 page study of baptism; I hope he tackles. But I will halt the discussion with you at this point, brother. I can tell this is an area of Christian teaching you do NOT want to discuss further with me or I gather others who challenge your conclusions.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  136. Bruce Morton says:

    I will also note that a recent conversation beyond this weblog has helped me to better see how easy it is to slip into the situation of “seeing the water ritual” of baptism — and no more. Paul helps us to see more than that in Colossians 2:9-15 (and Ephesians 2:5ff.). He calls us to see the supernatural work of God during immersion baptism into Christ. But I realize that can sound… sacramental. Nothing in the NT indicates the water is anything more than water. I’ll let all consider.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  137. nick gill says:

    Bruce,

    Do you believe that those descriptive texts on baptism are also limiting texts?

    In other words, is God limited in that he may only convey those blessings that way? Has He thus limited himself?

    If so, how do you explain the fruit of the Spirit borne with such power and vitality by so many people who have not experienced water immersion into Christ?

  138. Bruce Morton says:

    Royce:
    I really want you to think about something… separate from baptism. You take issue with my candid speech about a conclusion being in conflict with apostolic teaching. I think you have seen that Jay has been JUST AS CANDID with others about teaching from Galatians and legalism. Correct? He has announced that legalism is wrong and is in conflict with Christ… and cited misinterpretation of Scripture within churches of Christ. Correct? (and he has been on-target at that point) And I gather you have had no problem with that. Correct? But you have an issue when I speak with equal candor about apostolic teaching about baptism.

    That, brother, is called a double-standard.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  139. Bruce Morton says:

    Nick:
    Glad to wade in a bit (but increasingly I find weblogs are tough for good conversation — but I will try). Let me make sure on the front end that I understand where you are. Are you asking me how God can be “limiting himself” (of if He is) when people who have been sprinkled show the “fruits of the Spirit”? Does that get at your question?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  140. hank says:

    I have known lots of non Christians who’ve manifested love, joy, kindness, self control, etc. And I’ve known lots of Christians who have manifested uncleanness, drunkenness, idolatry, etc.

    If some person is being VERY patient… it does not equate to him being forgiven of sins.

  141. Charles McLean says:

    Laymond, as long as you keep trying to count the persons of God like marbles in a sack, you will never get any further in your understanding. God is One. And he is not a number. I know that sounds like a paradox, but there you are.

    There are aboriginal peoples who have no concept of zero. To them, the idea of counting something that is defined as nothing is completely absurd. So, they find no meaning in the numeral zero and don’t use it. It’s kind of like that here. Sometimes, “I don’t get it,” is the truth.

  142. Bruce Morton says:

    Charles:
    This chain of posts has been indeed difficult to follow. I just saw your 3/20 queries to me re autonomy and the Springfield Presbytery, and your chiding me about my “reprise of a complaint” as a poor way of my getting involved. Yes, I agree; it was.

    As for my “take” on Jay’s essay: Jay is wrestling with the current Evangelical dilemma as he urges “progressives” (or whatever the term) to essentially line-up with Evangelicals. And certainly I am not surprised about the stake he has put in the sand, given his conclusions about baptism and music.

    However, Jay has not noted that Benson and other like voices are essentially wrestling with… “Progressive Christianity” in the broader sense of the term (and specifically with the Phoenix Affirmations). Note: John MacArthur’s “take” on all of this is that “Evangelicals” are as close to dust in the wind as Jay thinks are churches of Christ — unless people pick up their Bibles and read them.

    Additionally, two recent Wineskins articles on fellowship indeed announce just how far the Phoenix Affirmations (in substance if not in name) have penetrated folks’ thought even within churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches. And that is not a surprise; they have penetrated FAR more deeply than has been discussed on this webforum. And issues with sexual ethics among more than we probably guess is adding jet fuel to a burning fire. So… we are in actually a LONG ways from the ‘Springfield Presbytery’ in terms of the broad American perspective regarding “Christianity.”

    As for me I am hopeful; I have also seen how teens and others LIKE to read the Word together. When they slow their cyber-networking and opt for other uses of their time, they discover that the words of Jesus (including those of the risen Christ) help them heal. And yes Revelation 1-3 shows me that the Lord sees His people on a congregation-by-congregation basis (though they certainly worked together from time-to-time).

    I think that answered your question; and I believe I have written quite enough!

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  143. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    Your views on the Trinity are now of record and have been thoroughly presented and discussed by both sides. I don’t believe there would be any profit to the readers in continuing the discussion further. I would appreciate it if we could move to other topics.

  144. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bruce,

    I’ve stated before that I want to move the conversation away from baptism and instrumental music. Both are very important topics, but both have been covered at great length, and I’m not seeing new arguments or fresh insights from anyone.

    Unless you have something to add on those topics not previously said, let’s move the discusion to other issues. There’s no sense going in circles over and over on the same topics.

    The Churches of Christ define themselves by those topics, and they matter, but they are not the only topics that matter.

  145. HistoryGuy says:

    Todd,
    I appreciate your posts, agreed with many of your statements, and encourage you to continue examining hermeneutics and a range of correct beliefs in light of historical evidence as you study Scripture, our highest authority.

  146. HistoryGuy says:

    Jay,
    Glad to see you back. I pray your trip was wonderful.

  147. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bruce wrote,

    I get the feeling sometimes that you, Jay and others want free reign to say what you want to say… and everyone else just listen.

    Bruce,

    I have been nothing but gracious to you. At your request, I did not post a review of your book. I have not moderated you. You have posted over 600 comments here.

    There have been 151 comments posted since I left town. I know of no site associated with the Restoration Movement with a more active commenters — many of whom disagree with me and do so often.

    Unlike most, I do not routinely moderate or block comments. I don’t believe I’ve ever blocked or deleted a single one of your comments (and this is not the first time you’ve been rude to me).

    And you respond to me by accusing me of not giving you free reign. In reality, I’ve given you freer reign than I have taken.

    Your comment is unfair and unkind. I kindly ask that you apologize.

  148. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    I appreciate when you have shown graciousness — and it has been most of the time. However, your note tells me that you have not seen a couple of things.

    First, regarding a view of my book, I know you have forgotten that I sent an email after a few months interacting on One in Jesus indicating that I did not take issue with your reviewing the book. I left the decision with you — and I still do.

    Second, there is one subject where you have not tackled some questions I have asked you. I know you do not want to say so, but others (HistoryGuy and Alexander) have commented to you (and I) that they have seen that as well. You have said, “Read what I have written and it will answer your questions.” However, I have read what you have written and it has NOT answered my questions — and I have indicated such to you. But you have been adamant that I am misreading.

    If you want I can restate my questions to you here so that you can tackle. It is up to you. I have agreed to not press further. But I am glad to reopen the discussion in that area for a bit if you wish.

    That is why I said that, at times, you have wanted free reign in your weblog without engaging some of what folks have asked you (HistoryGuy and Alexander specifically).

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  149. laymond says:

    Jay said “I would appreciate it if we could move to other topics.”

    I say “happy to oblige” I thought we had done that very thing, once or twice, but like Jesus , it was resurrected.

  150. Royce Ogle says:

    Hank,

    You write about what I have said leaving the impression that I believe God saves sinners with no obedience required, before or after he saves them. Of course you conveniently forget what I have repeatedly said about obedience so I’ll briefly remind you.

    What I believe and teach is what the Bible clearly says, sinners are justified based upon the obedience of Jesus (Romans 5:18-20). I also teach that God does not count ones works, or good deeds before he saves them (Ephesians 2:4-9, Romans 4:6, Titus 3:5) I consistently teach that God justifies ungodly sinners based wholly upon the worth and work of Jesus and him alone.

    What you don’t mention in your criticism of me is that I believe the only way you and I can know if one is a Christian or not is by their obedience. In fact I have again and again mentioned this passage in Ephesians 2 which teaches that God saved each of us for a specific purpose, “for good works”. God decided long ago that his own should live lives of good works (obedience) which he designed and planned (Ephesians 2:10). God is the one who produces those good works (Ephesians 3:20, Philippians 2:12-14) so neither you nor I or anyone else can boast of our personal goodness (Romans 7:8)

    To be clear, Yes, God demands obedience of believers but he does not save sinners because they become good people. He saves ungodly, wicked people by his grace. If you want to call faith a work fine. The Bible talks about the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5, 16:26) and that the work God is looking for is for sinners to put their trust in Christ (John 6:28-29).

    Sinners are unable to submit to the law of God (Romans 8:7) they think the things of God are foolishness (1 Corinthians 2:14). They are dead in their sins and it is these dead, helpless and hopeless people, that God by the gospel grants repentance (Acts 11:18) and faith (Romans 10:17). It is these people who are proper candidates for water baptism, those who believe with all their hearts in the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:37).

    I want you to get this Hank. No person who is not obedient to God according to what he knows about God and his will is not saved. In our churches on earth there are believers and make believers, there are baptized saints and baptized hypocrites who are going to destruction. No person will finally be saved who can say “I did…bla bla bla..and because of that I’m saved” No, the true gospel and God’s work through it leaves such boasting completely out. We can only boast in the Lord Jesus Christ who is our life, our righteousness, and our blessed hope.

    I wish you well,
    Royce

  151. Todd Collier says:

    Sorry, Jay it was my fault. Somehow though I was aware of Laymond’s views on the Spirit I was not aware of his views on the nature of the Christ. It blew my mind that anyone could deny the claims Jesus made about Himself and yet claim to be a Christian.

  152. laymond says:

    Jay, I know the Christian way is to be meek, kind, and submissive, but there are very few who confronted with such statements as Mr. Ogle made on March 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm, would keep quite and let it be thought that he was right.
    So I spoke up at March 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm with a repeat of Mr. Ogle’s statement, and a question.
    Royce you said; “All conservatives” don’t deny the deity of Jesus, only a few wackos do.”
    Royce, do you know the meaning of “deity” ? A deity is a recognized preternatural or supernatural immortal being. A supernatural immortal being is not susceptible to death.
    I don’t see where I called anyone a name, or said anything demeaning. I do believe I have heard you respond in like manner. sorry if I offended anyone by standing up against such language.

  153. laymond says:

    Todd, I have greater respect for you now, than before you made this statement. You could have let me bear the burden alone, but you didn’t, You sir are a Christian and a MAN.

  154. hank says:

    Royce,

    I merely QUOTED a previous statement of yours. You (or somebody logged in under your name), has written that sinners are saved by the finished work of Jesus alone and “without one bit of obedience”.

    Brother, if you don’t like the impression those words leave people with… then you should not have written them. But, don’t accuse me of misrepresenting you.

    Now if you don’t believe what YOU said (wrote) about sinners being saved “without one bit of obedience”, then just admit that you were mistaken in claiming as much. But, if you are going to stand by your statement and then turn around and ALSO claim that obedience is in fact required in order to be saved – you end up contradicting your own self! Which is why I said you are contradicting yourself.

    As others have pointed out, we all believe that sinners are saved by the “worth and work of Jesus” (as like to put it), but you are mistaken to assume that to mean that they are saved “without one bit of obedience”.

    For IF obedience upon the part of the sinner is required to be saved, then your claim that they are saved “without one bit” of it, is false.

    Its an “either / or” proposition. Just be more careful with you words. But don’t get mad at me.

    I wish you well, as well.

  155. Royce Ogle says:

    Hank,

    I guess you didn’t read my last comment or you don’t understand it?

    I’ll make one more attempt. A man’s works before he becomes a Christian are not meritorious. God does not save sinners because of what they do. He saves them because of and on the basis of what Christ has done.

    Now, that being said as plainly as I am able, God expects and gets obedience from every child of his. Those who are not obedient, do not walk in the light, are impostors, not disciples.

    Disagree if you want but don’t expect anyone to believe that I am contradicting myself. Read the Scripture references I gave in the last comment.

    Laymond, Evidently you assume the definition “whacko” since I didn’t name you specifically. “Whacko”, or “wacky” is hardly harsh language. But in the interest of good will I offer an apology. I am disappointed that you speak often against the Christ.

  156. Hank says:

    Royce,

    For the sake of clarification, would you take a few seconds to answer the following?

    1. Do you or do you not believe that a sinner who is saved, is saved before and without “one bit of obedience”?

    2. Haven’t you repeatedly argued that IF a sinner is required to obey a command of God IN ORDER TO BE SAVED, that that would imply that the work of Jesus was not enough?

    3. Do you remember writing that a sinner is saved “without one bit of obedience”?

    4. Does “without one bit of obedience” mean the same thing as “no obedience at all”?

  157. laymond says:

    “Laymond, Evidently you assume the definition “whacko” since I didn’t name you specifically. “Whacko”, or “wacky” is hardly harsh language. But in the interest of good will I offer an apology. I am disappointed that you speak often against the Christ.
    Royce, evidently you assume, that I assumed that you were talking about me, which I did not necessarly do. But sometimes you have to stand for others as well as yourself, I am not a black man, but it certainly angers me when I hear someone call a black man derogatory names, so I speak out about it. I believe we are our brother’s keeper. As for “wacko not being harsh languags, I believe it would have been kinder to just have say “crazy” .
    Royce I don’t believe I have spoken anything about Jesus that he didn’t say first. or is not spoken of in the bible.
    I am truly sorry I can’t say the same to you that I said to Todd.

  158. Royce Ogle says:

    Hank,

    Not one microscopic bit of a man’s obedience contributes to appeasing the wrath of God against sin. Jesus FULLY paid the penalty for our sins. If you don’t believe Jesus fully paid the penalty for our sins then of course you will not agree. In fact, wasn’t it you Hank that was one of two people here who admitted that Jesus is not enough?

    Salvation (the complete scheme of redemption including justification, sanctification, and glorification) is: 1. All the work of God. 2 All the work of man. Or 3. A join effort between God and man.

    Now think about it. God was the offended party. We, you and I and everyone, sinned against him. We broke his law. We did not and do not have the ability to keep God’s law to his satisfaction since his standard is sinless perfection. So how could a sinful man help God save? The answer is he can’t. That is what the good news is all about! Jesus came into the world in human flesh, the very son of God with no human father. He lived the life God always wanted, he did the Father’s will not his own, and he did it without one offence against God’s legal code. The good news is that this God/man Jesus Christ gave to God on our behalf the God honoring life of perfect faith and obedience we could never give him. And, he suffered the full penalty of a law breaker who had committed a capitol offence by breaking God’s law.

    By Christ’s coming, living, dying, and rising again in a human body sinners can be reconciled to God. Christ’s record is accounted to guilty sinners who put their trust in Jesus and his finished work. An ungodly sinner was I, alienated from God, a target of God’s sure wrath, and try as I may I could not be good enough for God’s acquittal. The good news is that Christ has done ALL that is necessary to set a sinner right with God and to fit him for heaven and immortality. Now the call comes “Whosoever will let him come and drink of the water of life freely”.

    Our common salvation is a FREE GIFT received by faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Just this morning I witnessed two young people, a brother and his sister, say before God and his people that they believed the good news about Jesus and wanted him as Lord. They had put all their hope and trust in him. Then with joy I watched them reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in baptism. They were greeted with applause, hugs, words of love, and tears of joy. It happens all the time. Preach the story of Jesus and the love of God for sinners and the Holy Spirit pricks hearts, draws sinners to God, gives them faith as they hear God’s story, and grants them the good sense to change their minds and turn to Christ.

    Did this strong boy who is a football player and his sister less than half his size in any way save themselves? Ten thousand times NO! Only God can save a sinner. I rejoice that it’s true because if it depended in any slight way on me I would mess it up and be lost. Thank God it depends on Jesus and I’m safe in Him.

    Works? Obedience? All the time the very best we can. How can a love slave do otherwise?

  159. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Todd wrote,

    Sorry, Jay it was my fault.

    There’s no fault to take blame for. In fact (and I should have said so yesterday), I appreciate that you so ably took on the defense of the doctrine of the Trinity in my absence.

  160. hank says:

    Royce,

    Somehow, I knew you would not / could not answer those simple questions.

  161. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bruce wrote,

    That is why I said that, at times, you have wanted free reign in your weblog without engaging some of what folks have asked you (HistoryGuy and Alexander specifically).

    But that is not what you said and what I asked you to apologize for. What you said is,

    I get the feeling sometimes that you, Jay and others want free reign to say what you want to say… and everyone else just listen.

    I repeat: that is an unfair and unkind charge, and I again ask that you apologize.

    Regarding your latest accusation, sometimes it’s enough to rest on what’s already been said. If you disagree, you are free to do so. You are not free to harrass and belittle me because I believe what I’ve already said suffices. You may disagree — politely — but there will be no more harrassment over this topic.

    (2Ti 2:14 ESV) 14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.

    I am placing your comments on moderation. That means you are free to post as you wish, but comments will only appear after I’ve had time to review and approve.

    I will not be approving comments that seek to rehash old discussions. And unless it’s a new, fresh thought, I’ll not be approving comments on instrumental music or baptism. It’s time to talk about other things.

  162. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Hank and Royce,

    You’ve both stated your views plainly enough. Let’s move on to other topics, please.

  163. hank says:

    Very well.

  164. Royce Ogle says:

    Gladly. I agree.

  165. Todd Collier says:

    As with the church fathers, so with the “gods,” a sampling sufficed. If a definition requires an “absolute” a single fact can breach it. In similar fashion neither of us used every scrap of text we could have either. In private correspondence I would like to know how Laymond sees the role and work of a non-deified Christ in salvation. One of my problems with grasping where he is coming from is an admitted inability to see how salvation “functions” for lack of a better term without God having offered Himself to redeem all of His creation from the rebellion. If “All sin and fall short of God’s glory” is true, it would seem to require God Himself to fix the problem as being the only person in existence not subject to the “all.” If Jesus was “just” a perfectly sinless human who achieved perfection by some means He could hardly claim to be singular as others would surely be able to accomplish the same feat. Or viewed differently and perhaps a bit more offensively, if Jesus was a mere man who was sacrificed for our atonement how does His sacrifice qualify on a level more than any other innocent goat, lamb or bull – aside from being a completely forbidden offering under the law?
    I would like to explore these issues, so can Jay provide Laymond with my e-mail?

  166. Charles McLean says:

    Hank, Jay asked that we move along to other topics, and you said, “Very well.”

    Does that phrase really mean, “Not if I can prod someone else into sticking to these topics?”

    Now, I’m as stubborn as the next man. No, I’m probably MORE stubborn than him. But if a fellow invites me into his house, and later asks me not to talk about politics with him and his other guests, I honor that request. I don’t go around to every other guest complaining about how big a tyrant and a coward my host is to not answer my challenges to his politics.

    Yes, I’m stubborn, and my beliefs are important to me, but Mom and Dad raised me with manners, too.

  167. hank says:

    Charles

    Except my “prodding ” has nothing to do with jay. He always answers my questions. They were and are for Roy e. He knows that if he does answer them he will have to either give up his position or admit the contradiction.

    While I agreed to not keep beating the dead horse, I feel the questions already asked deserve addressing in light of his accusing me of believing “Jesus is not enough “.

    The quesstions are designed to show that Royce himself does not believe what he accuses me of not believing. He should answer them.

    Thanks for your concern though

  168. hank says:

    Oh, and didn’t your training in manners include not tattling?

  169. laymond says:

    Todd, let me give you something to think over, I don’t think anything I am about to say, breaks the rule about discussing the “Trinity” I read the bible to say, that sacrificing animals was not nearly so great a sacrifice as to wash sin forever, therefore it had to happen over and over.

    OK you know my thinking, on what the bible said about sacrifice,
    Let’s look at Abraham, and Isaac in comparison to God and his son Jesus.
    God vowed to make his covenant with Isaac, Gen 17:21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac—. yet he asked Abraham to sacrifice him, Gen 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering —- knowing what he had asked of his friend, God furnished an alternative offering. (a ram)
    Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    The great sacrifice was made by God,
    Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,—-God sacrificed his own, only begotten son, something he would not ask his friend to do. not that Isaac, or Jesus could deny their fate, God determined both.
    Mat 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
    Jesus even knowing his fate, ask for an alternative, just as Isaac received, knowing all the time it would not happen.
    Mat 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].
    As we see in scripture neither Isaac, nor Jesus had a choice, God made that decision on his own.

    My E-mail laymond@suddenlink.net

  170. Charles McLean says:

    My kids only complain about others “tattling” when they can’t defend what they did and they don’t like how I found out about it. If they did what was right, THAT is what they say.

    Anyway, Hank, Jay asked politely that both you guys move on beyond that topic; as far as I can tell, Royce did.

  171. hank says:

    Whatever, Charles. But, I’ve been hanging around here long enough to know that Jay does just fine without any hall monitors or blogger’s aides. You’ve blown the whistle and I have heard it.

    Its not that big of a deal though. Besides, I’m pretty sure if I stick around, I will again be accused of undermining the “worth and work of Jesus” and I will likely raise the same questions in order to back off the accuser.

    Meanwhile, you’re need to play assistant manager here is keeping this thing going.

  172. Doug says:

    Hank,

    Don’t think that just because someone “backed off” a discussion with you that you backed them off. Some of us might have just gotten tired of trying to have a discussion with Uncle Remus.

  173. hank says:

    Doug,

    Okay, thanks, I won’t.

    However, sometimes, the refusal to answer the most simplest of questions can give that impression.

    For whatever it is worth, I would never refuse to address any questions / challenges to whatever points I am trying to make here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>