New Policy on Comments

If you check around the internet a bit, you’ll find that GraceConversation is developing a reputation for less-than-Christian comments. I think we deserve the criticism, and it’s my fault. You see, I urged the other participants to agree to set this site up without moderation, for a number of reasons. First, my experience over at OneInJesus.info has been good. I’ve very rarely had to moderate a commenter. Second, I thought it would be helpful for the four principals to hear what the audience was thinking unfiltered. Third, I’ve heard lots of complaints against moderation. Fourth, none of us has the time to pre-clear all the hundreds of comments. I was wrong.

Therefore, the four of us have agreed to a new policy:

* Generally, there will be no moderation.

* However, commenters are asked to stick closely to the subject at hand. Off subject comments will be removed. Those who persist in being off subject will be moderated — meaning that their comments won’t be posted unless pre-approved by one of the four principal authors.

* We insist that comments meet this standard –

(Col 4:6)  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Those comments that do not will be deleted. Commenters who persist will be moderated. That means your comments will not appear on the site until one of the four principals reads and approves it.

* To avoid any claim of bias in how we delete or moderate comments, all four principals will have the same rights to delete or require moderation.

When we say “stick closely to the subject at hand,” for now, we mean speak to the question of apostasy. We are not here to address instrumental music, for example, other than the question of whether it causes one to become apostate. This is not presently the place to debate the merits of instrumental music as a doctrine — that is, we aren’t talking about psallo, Justin Martyr, or harps in heaven. Those are legitimate points of discussion — just not here at this time.

We should add that we fully understand the depth of emotions that many here feel — on both sides. We are discussing issues here of the utmost seriousness and would expect our readers to feel strongly. We just ask that those feelings be expressed graciously.

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67 Comments on “New Policy on Comments”

  1. Mark Says:

    “depth of emotions”

    Point taken on comments. The emotional depth is interesting to me though. Strong feelings on the subject matter should reveal some truth. Feelings which have been discounted for so long as mere subjectivity will need to be reexamined in light of new Biblical awareness. Personal interpretation is an emotional discernment not just a logic affirmation. Feelings do matter in knowing the truth and is a good guide in finding a remedy for unity in the future. Thus speaking the truth in love will no longer mean (discipline) but rather validation of our hope in Jesus .

  2. Alan Says:

    Fair enough. I understand the need to keep the conversation from becoming derailed on tangents. But keep in mind, it’s difficult to talk about this topic without some concrete examples, and that’s how IM came into the conversation. Actually I don’t think anyone has commented more on that subject than one of the principles. If one of the principles brings in IM to make a point, isn’t it fair for someone to challenge the validity of that point? I’m wondering how meaningful the conversation can be if we can’t examine the various issues over which we disagree.

    As for the tone of conversation, Amen! We need to show respect for one another. We need to keep emotions under control… and we need to be careful not to respond to emotion with more emotion.

  3. Bob Brandon Says:

    Jay:

    Just one request: we need to be able to appeal to you as blog-owner if we feel we find our comments being deleted for what we feel are other reasons.

    Many of us have been on blogs, discussion groups, and the like where we are moderated not for any alleged deficiencies in tone, manners, or form but expressly for relevant content.

    On a slightly different note, you wrote: “We are not here to address instrumental music, for example, other than the question of whether it causes one to become apostate. This is not presently the place to debate the merits of instrumental music as a doctrine — that is, we aren’t talking about psallo, Justin Martyr, or harps in heaven. Those are legitimate points of discussion — just not here at this time./”

    I would suggest that the hermeneutic that allows words in the text to be inadequately analyzed out of context is key to the invention of the “doctrinal error” that some may allege can cause one to be apostate. If we cannot discuss what the original writers intended to their original readers, then we are hamstringing ourselves in the name of an insufficient dialogue.

  4. Jay Guin Says:

    Alan and Bob,

    I understand your concerns re IM. Let me make a couple of points.

    Until now, there was no rule against off-subject discussions. The principals joined in, and it was something of an experiment. No criticism is intended. We just need to go in a different direction now.

    One of the problems with getting off the subject is that it tends to shift the focus from our theology of apostasy to the merits of each individual doctrine. If we have to fight and agree over every individual doctrine to find unity, it’ll never happen.

    In the current discussion, we really want to focus on the central question: according to the scriptures, how do we distinguish salvation error from non-salvation error? And the point we principals had to get past initially was whether all error damns.

    Now that we’re past that, the discussion needs to change. No longer is fellowship defined by the question: is it error? Something else (not yet sorted out by the principals) defines our fellowship.

    When people click over to this blog, most are looking for a conversation on the scope of grace, and they are confused when they see other issues being discussed.

    I remain convinced that there is a huge need for a conversation on the scope of God’s grace and how it affects our treatment of each other — important enough, I believe, that we need to singularly focus on it.

    I am very appreciative of the participation we’ve had from the commenters. It’s been helpful to me and, I’m sure, to the other principals. The last thing we want to do is run our commenters off! You are all needed and appreciated.

    As to Bob’s question about a right to appeal, if someone feels unfairly treated, they may email any or all of the four principals, and we’ll sort it out among us.

  5. Alan Says:

    I find it ironic that in a discussion seeking to clarify what doctrinal error is fatal, we are discussing what comments will be deleted. We need to state a clear rule! (just kidding!) ;-)

  6. Alan Scott Says:

    Thanks, Jay for our opportunity to share in this discussion. Passions are a part of any belief, and when the beliefs are discounted, slandered, or judged in violation of Romans 14 then it is easy for the passions to rise to the surface. The passions are within our control, so the words we choose are also within our control.

    But also within our control is how we listen to another point-of-view. An example I often recall is in the closing chapters of the book by John Grisham, “A Time To Kill.” The all-white jury is deliberating whether to convict or acquit the black defendant for killing the man who was accused of raping the defendant’s young daughter. One juror asks the rest of the jury (in the film version, the defense attorney makes this plea) to re-create in the own mind the details of the rape, and then asks the jurors to imagine all of this horror happening to a young white girl rather than a young black girl. This ability to empathize with another perspective enables the jury to vote to acquit the father who was defending his little girl.

    For those of us who have grown up in the Churches of Christ, but do not agree with all of the traditional teachings we grew up with we ask something akin to the above example – what if it were the traditional teachings and traditional believers that are continually judged as sinful, outside of God’s grace, and unworthy of being fellowshipped with – how would your passions be kindled?

    Our passions and our words need to be under our control. And we need to understand how it would be to be treated ourselves the way we sometimes treat our fellow Christians.

    God bless,
    Alan Scott

    • laymond Says:

      Alan Scott, it is good to use John Grisham’s book to make you point, but there is one much older that makes it just as well “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” It is very sad how much hurt selfish actions and selfish words cause. selfishness under the guise of good is still selfishness. what selfishness it is to say “my doctrine is better than yours, you are going to hell and I am not” and some even say it gleefully. how sad.

  7. Bondservant Says:

    I have to concur with what Bob said. I too have been on other blogs where I made a defense and the comments being deleted because the comment showed what was being said was not necessarily true. As Bob used IM as example, some have declared that IM is a sin that causes one to become apostate. I used harps being played in heaven as a defense that God has not declared IM a sin, what I was trying to show is that if God sees IM as a sin why would He allow something He sees sinful in heaven. Not that I am trying to discuss IM here just trying to make the point that comments as such are needed in these discussions.

    I know I believe as I do passionately and I believe there are others who believe as they do passionately. I do care about other people and have caught myself being rude when I think someone is intentionally trying to hurt other people with their words, I have to try to stay aware that in my flesh I can fall into that. I totally understand and absolutely agree that we all need to be respectful and kind as we dialogue with each other.

    Maybe I’m not getting what you mean. Let me try to ask like this, if someone is declaring something as apostate how can someone make their defense that it is not?

    • Alan Scott Says:

      This is true – my comments questioning Matt Clifton’s observations were not included by Matt on his blog. Differing opinions are rarely tolerated on too many Churches of Christ blogs. Jay’s in an exception (when compared to blogs such as Matt’s) and I am hoping GraceConversations continues to allow differeing opinions.

      • Jay Guin Says:

        Alan,

        In my two years of blogging at OneInJesus, I’ve only put two people on moderation. And you’ll notice that there are plenty of folks who disagree with me over there, often with great passion.

        Here, a relevant post will usually be about something the principals disagree over. Disagreeing is not grounds for moderation.

      • Matt Clifton Says:

        Alan Scott,

        This sort of comment is exactly why this site is in danger.

        Alan, what has my site got to do with the issue you are talking about here? If you have a problem with me personally, bring it to me personally. Don’t vent to other sites before you talk to me.

        First of all, how do you know that your comment will not be included on my site? Look through the comments on various articles. I have included ATHEISTS, brother, who speak way worse things than you have.

        Second, you are speaking out of turn in reference to my site. At the moment my wife and I are preparing for some in-home ministry meetings, and I have about 5 comments waiting my response at my site. I’ll get to them when my local ministry work allows time. It is very presumptuous of you to accuse me of “not including” your comments.

        As a rule, I must approve all comments. The purpose of my site is to teach, and it is my personal site. I rarely delete a comment.

        Alan, flying off the handle like you just did is the exact reason this site will never be much benefit, until everyone decides to show love to one another, no matter what side of the issue they are one.

        I love you, brother.

        Matt

      • Alan Scott Says:

        Matt,

        I will gladly apologize when I am proven incorrect and see the fruit of your words (I did come to you first through your site before reposting my original objections here). My point is that whether teaching blog or discussing blog – we must never fear comments from differing viewpoints. Too many Church of Christ sites only allow the “pat-on-the-back” comments you have desribed as being the predominant type on this site. The very fact we are having this discussion proves your observations incorrect.

        Blessings to you and your family as well,
        Alan Scott

    • Jay Guin Says:

      Bondservant,

      If someone were to argue that, for example, instrumental music, being in error, makes one apostate, there are two possible arguments you might respond with. One is to dispute that IM is an error. The other is to argue that even if it were to be an error, it wouldn’t be the sort of error that results in apostasy. The second argument, of course, requires discerning what kind of errors make one apostate — which is the point of this discussion.

      The argument over whether IM is an error is an important one — and perhaps the four principals will take it up down the road. But we’re addressing the much broader question at this time: what are the scriptural principles for which errors damn?

      • Bob Brandon Says:

        I would suspect that demonstrating that IM is not an error at all is easier than to demonstrate that it is an error that does not condemn. The former can be shown from context and diligent and disinterested exegesis, letting the chips fall – and the teeth gnash (as it were) – where they may. I think the latter is burdened with the additional wicket to jump of reconciling competing – and possibly adversarial – interpretations (and one, the other, or both possibly invalid). In order to advance dialogue, some credulity would have to be granted to all exegetical methods on the table. I, for one, would be a bit hard-pressed to extend the left-brain of fellowship to the advocate of a literalistic, KJV-only, dispensational hermeneutic.

        But that’s just me…

      • Alan Says:

        I, for one, would be a bit hard-pressed to extend the left-brain of fellowship to the advocate of a literalistic, KJV-only, dispensational hermeneutic.

        My morning coffee is now sprayed all over my monitor! ;-)

    • Alan Scott Says:

      Matt,

      As I promised, I apologize for speaking before you had time to moderate. I appreciate your observations even though I do not believe them to be a completly accurate observation. I appreciate them because you are communicating with the rest of us brothers in Christ.

      Unlike some, I really do not care for the labels that many are so fond of using. So, of course, I have my own “labels” :-) that I think are more accurate –
      “more traditional” and “less traditional”.

      The Christian Chronicle just published an article on multiple generations in the Churches of Christ and how the younger ones are more willing to question our traditions and hold them up against the Word of God. I am not a part of the younger generation, but I am more than willing to test our traditions against the Word of God.

      I am also willing to trace our traditions over the decades and centuries, and see how they have evolved from “Restoration” and “Reform” to become “Status Quo.”

      What I see many in the Churches of Christ doing today is not challenging the authority of God’s Word, but recognizing how our history has influenced our traditions and how it is never too late to go back to God’s Word. Thus, less traditional. And prayerfully, more Biblical.

      Blessings to you and your family, and to your ministry to bring people to Jesus the Christ.

  8. Bondservant Says:

    My comment was for you Jay, forgot to address it to you.

  9. Randy Says:

    If the question is “when does a Christian lose his salvation”, then how can we dodge IM and other issues that we deem to be fellowship issues?

    I have probably studied the conservative views more so than most who attend the conservative assemblies and know their arguments just as well. I know, for a fact, that many conservative preachers condemn IM to the point that it is not only a sinful practice, but just cause for one to lose his salvation.

    I think Jays point was how do we determine this? My conservative friends would answer because “it is written” or authorized a certain way, meaning when one goes beyond such authority, he has sinned and a continual practice of that sin will result in salvation being forfeited. If I am misrepresenting them, please advise.

    I think the points made here regarding IM were based upon the apostasy question. How else could one determine such without both sides making their case?

    If we cant make a case, then I would have to side with my conservatives friends and say one does indeed lose his salvation when he allows music in worship, seeing Paul said sing.

    1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

    If I take this verse at face value, then I must side with my conservative friends. Paul said Pray – not pray and dance. Paul said sing – not sing and play.

    If we are to speak where the bible speaks, and not go beyond what is written, then we must pray, not dance. We must sing, not play.

  10. Bondservant Says:

    Randy made the point of singing with understanding. Is someone singing with music not singing anymore, my understanding is that they are still singing.

    Pray with understanding. Are we to pray with our arms lifted up, are we to pray with our hands folded, are we to pray with our eye’s shut, are we to pray with our eye’s open?

  11. Randy Says:

    I agree with you, but don’t wish to make this about IM.

    My point was “what standard do we have whereby we deem one as an apostate.” Lets apply this to qualifications of an Elder. If we REPLACE the qualifications with something else, would not this be just cause to deem one as adding/subtracting from Gods Word? And, in my opinion, would result in salvation being lost if the REPLACEMENTS continued as practice.

    One could even argue such case for Sunday worship. What if we replaced Sunday worship with Saturday only, would this be going beyond the written Word? Can we REPLACE Sunday with Saturdays, even though we have examples and theological principles to worship on Sunday?

    Using an old argument, could we REPLACE wine and bread with hamburgers and coke, or milk and cookies? If a church done so, would they be going beyond what is written?

    To me, this all boils down to what is authorized.

    If one abandons biblical authority for his own desires, he has crossed the lines and at this point, could be an apostate.

    I am stepping back for a while, so others can add to the conversation.

    • Wayne McDaniel Says:

      Randy, I appreciate your desire to please the Lord by doing his will.

      In the word “authorized”, there is a hint of the tendency to CONTROL the practice of others. That inclination to regulate or restrict others was expressed by the apostles,
      Lk. 9:49, by the judaizers, Gal.2:4, 4:17, by some of the Eph. elders, A.20:30, and by Diotrephes,3 Jn.9-10.

      Consider this unpopular example among us in cofC: the distinction we engage in each week between our Bible study classes and the “worship service”. Everyone who has read the NT knows such a distinction cannot be found in the NT. Yet we embrace & affirm that distinction each week. I was frustrated by trying to justify this distinction as a teenager to a humble brother from a non-class church. Further, most of our assemblies today lack the DIALOGUE that Paul engaged in with those at Troas, A.20:7,9.

      When we begin to ask others for authority, we quickly face our inconsistencies. May we remember Jesus’ words about prayer, “God, I thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men,…”

      To the earliest disciples, APOSTASY was about turning from trusting in Jesus alone to bring us to God. Their faith was not comprised of distinctive teachings, or “items of worship”, but was centered upon Jesus and him crucified.

  12. Bondservant Says:

    I know people who have great singing voices who love to sing a cappella to show off how great a singer they are. Someone in worship who desires more to show off how much better they sing than others instead of singing to praise the Lord are filling a selfish desire.

    Also how many churches have switched Welch’s grape juice instead of wine when having the Lord’s Supper?

  13. Randy Says:

    I understand, Wayne.

    I am not promoting pattern theology, seeing the patterns vary from church to church. I agree, one becomes an Apostate when he rejects Jesus. I guess some could argue that one could become an apostate when he leaves the teachings of Paul, seeing he imitated Christ.

    Paul did give patterns/standards that should be a by-product of being saved. If he gave certain standards for an Elder, one should follow the standard because he loves Jesus and desires to please Him. But, one could also follow the standard from a “check list” as if the New Testament is a rule book and be just as wrong as the one willfully not following the qualifications of an Elder.

    Paul severely rebuked the Corinthians for creating divisions in the church in Corinth. He asked, “Has Christ been divided?” (I Corinthians 1:13a). Earlier, he warned, “Now I exhort you brethren, by the name of Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and the same judgment.” (I Corinthians 1:10).

    To find the standard, we must go all the way back to the record and teaching given us in the New Testament; back to the blueprints that were drawn in the first century of the Christian era, and build all things upon that foundation, according to the standard set forth in the New Testament scriptures. But, approach it from love, not legalism.

    What say ye?

    • Alan Says:

      Randy wrote:

      Earlier, he warned, “Now I exhort you brethren, by the name of Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and the same judgment.” (I Corinthians 1:10).

      That’s a passage worth discussing. They did not all agree when Paul wrote that, yet Paul addressed them as “brethren.” Coming to complete unity of mind and judgment was a goal, not the present reality. But that did not break their fellowship. Sounds like they were a lot like us.

    • Wayne McDaniel Says:

      Randy, I appreciate your invitation to reply.
      I think what most churches today have is not close to what we read of in the NT. First we must admit there are very few specifics recorded of their gatherings, but what we do have indicates something distinctly different than what we practice.

      The synagogue came into existence during the time of the Bab. captivity. It provided a discussion format after reading a section of scripture. I am persuaded that development within Judaism was Providential in preparing for the church. The coming of the Spirit was the sign of God’s kingdom, annionting all disciples as priests to minister the blessings of the all sufficent sacrifice of Jesus.

      Now,every person who welcomes Messiah becomes a living stone in God’s temple, and capable of sharing the power of the indissoluble life of the Savior, Heb. 7:16. As priests, we may mutually hear confession, James 5:16, asking for the healing of each other. Every joint of the body has something to supply, Eph.4:16. Paul was clear, he desired ALL of the Cor. to prophesy, 1 Cor. 14:5, for when all prophesy,vs.24, unbeliever’s are convicted
      by what is spoken,vs.25. We should remember that the broad meaning of prophesy is to speak for God, only a narrower usage means
      receiving a specific word of future events. events.

      Recognizing that dialogue took place, A.20:7,
      makes the admonition of Hebrews 10:24 easier for all of us to fulfill. Words spoken in the assembly to provoke love in another, also blesses others. The light of love gives light to all in the house.

      Nowhere are our deficiencies more clearly seen than in our prayers. Many prayers in many churches are no more real than that spoken by the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable. He stood and prayed with himself, thanking God he was not as the rest of men — altogether blind to himself. If we went around the room asking each baptized person to speak just one sentence unto the Lord, what would we hear? Jesus described God’s elect as those who call upon Him day and night,Lk.18:7, “Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?” -vs.8

      When we consider 1 Cor. 11:5, it is fair to conclude that the sisters in Corinth were both praying and prophesying. Sadly, some of them had abandoned their head covering which
      evidently indicated submission to their husbands. That Paul corrected. He did not tell them to stop praying or prophesying. Regardless of our understanding of this vs., the deficiency of prayer in our churches should alarm us more than trying to decide about who is apostate.

  14. Randy Says:

    My point precisely, Alan. This group was probably the most carnal group; yet were called “brethren.” We should/must strive to all have the same mind and judgment, but we so often are just like the Corinthians.

  15. Randy Says:

    Jay, to me this falls in line with other things like the rapture, tithing, giving, the second coming, pre-trib views, and many other things that could be noted. It might be error to teach tithing ( don’t know any churches of Christ that do ) but would this be the kind of errors that make one apostate? I don’t hold to the rapture doctrine and other things taught along these lines.. would this be the kind of errors make one apostate?

    I think your question is a good place to start: what are the scriptural principles for which errors damn?

  16. Randy Says:

    (John 13:34-35) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

    I think if we practiced this more often, that we would accept each other as Jesus accepted us. How much doctrine did each of us know when Jesus accepted us?

    How long is a brother/sister required to master each and every doctrine?

    Are we justified by knowing all doctrine?

    One damnable error is seeking to be justified by law. (Gal 5:4) You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

    Another damnable error is not abiding in the doctrine of Christ. 2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresses, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” (2 John 10)
    …the “doctrine of Christ” referred to here is the teaching that Jesus is the Christ who came in the flesh (1 Jn. 4:3; 2 Jn. 1:7).

  17. Randy Says:

    Below are a few of the verses that conservative brethren often use as proof passages of damnable error.

    Anyone wish to address these?

    1.Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17, 18.)

    2.Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31).

    3.“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17, 18).

    • Matt Clifton Says:

      Randy,

      I posted you some links to my website where I have addressed these passages, but I think the moderation settings have been changed to where links need approval. Anyway, maybe you can go to my site and look in the “Fellowship” category for the articles. Thanks!

      Matt

  18. Alan Scott Says:

    Jay,

    I would like to add one point that just because other bloggers disparge this blog does not mean they are correct.

    I saw one blog state that this site promotes doctrinal error unchallenged, but when I researched the “error” they claim was promoted what I found was not what they claimed. Either they had misrepresented what was on this blog, or they had mistakenly not followed the entire discussion.

    Anyway, others will see here what they want to see, and what they see may not be the reality.

    If you, Phil, Greg, and Todd feel the need to moderate, please do not take away the opportunity for us all to discuss with one another along the topic all of you have established.

    God bless,
    Alan Scott

  19. Randy Says:

    Let me ask this again. Can anyone address these verses that some conservatives use as proof text:

    Anyone wish to address these?

    1.Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17, 18.)

    2.Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31).

    3.“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17, 18).

  20. churchesofchrist Says:

    “Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some” (2 Tim. 2:17, 18.)”

    -The conservative brethren will point out that this is a fatal doctrine, seeing Hymenaeus and Philetus strayed concerning the truth. Not only did they stray, but they shipwrecked the faith of others with this teaching. This teaching, obviously is a fatal doctrinal error.

    “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31).”

    – Those not abiding in the Word, clearly aren’t His disciples. So, not abiding in the Word – its teachings would be a fatal doctrinal error.

    “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17, 18).
    -Teaching contrary doctrine could be classified as fatal error.


    • It should be noted that the greek for “word” is “logos” and by definition is not a reference to the New Testament text. Since the NT did not exist at the time.

      So, while I certainly agree with the reference. It is not automatic to conclude that “word” equals “teaching” or “doctrine”. The greek words are not synonyms.

  21. Bondservant Says:

    Matthew 22:34-40
    “But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

    John 5:38-44
    “But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?”

    1 John 3:23-24
    “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

    I know some in the cofC like to say well the demons believed Jesus was the Son of God, but to be honest would be to ask do the demons have saving faith do they believe Jesus to be their Savior their Messiah? Do the demons love God do the demons love people?

    • Matt Clifton Says:

      Bondservant,

      What are you trying to say by posting these passages?

      Are you saying that “faith alone” saves? I’m not exactly following you, please help me understand you.

      Thanks!

      Matt

  22. Bondservant Says:

    Matt, would you please make an effort to answer the questons I asked. These questions do not take a rocket scientist to answer.

    Do the demons have saving faith do they believe Jesus to be their Savior their Messiah? Do the demons love God do the demons love people?

    • Bondservant Says:

      Matt, I will wait for you to answer.

    • Matt Clifton Says:

      Bondservant,

      If you are referring to the book of James, the writer is defining “saving faith” as faith that acts. Notice that this is the context. James is saying it takes more than just believing there is a God. Of course demons do not have “saving faith.”

      No one is claiming demons can even be saved. What James is saying is that those who just believe but do not act have a dead faith. Abraham, he writes, completed or perfected his faith by obedience to God (James 2:22).

      Of course demons do not love God. They believe in Him, though. They just don’t put that belief into action.

      Now, will you return the favor? Are you teaching salvation through faith alone?

      • Bondservant Says:

        Ephesians 2:4-10
        “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

        Matt, what is your interpretation of not of works, lest any man should boast?

        James 2:10 sums up all the laws in saying that if you stumble in one single part of the law you are guilty of all, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” If anyone has not done something God says to do they are guilty of all the laws which includes murder, stealing, adultery …and so on.

        Matt, Do you always obey and greet each other with a holy kiss as commanded Romans 16:16, do you always obey and do good to all in every single opportunity as commanded Galations 6:10, do you always obey and love and bless and do good to your enemy as commanded Matthew 5:44, do you always obey and love your neighbor as commanded Galations 5:14 and James 2:8?

        Here’s my answer to your question: I know I am not perfect and that it is only by Jesus’ righteousness I am saved.

      • Matt Clifton Says:

        Bondservant,

        Here’s my answer to your question: I know I am not perfect and that it is only by Jesus’ righteousness I am saved.

        I agree with this. I believe the same thing. But I’m curious why so many people have such a hard time just saying, “Yes” or “No.”

        Do you believe that man is saved by faith alone?

        Do you believe that Jesus, the perfect One who died for your sins and mine, said this:

        “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who sdoes the will of My Father in heaven.” — Matt. 7:21

        and

        He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. — Mark 16:16

  23. churchesofchrist Says:

    Alan,

    What say ye regarding the scriptures I presented. At face value, they seem to suggest that some doctrines are fatal ( which we all agree ) but how does one determine which are – which arent?

    Hymenaeus and Philetus strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and even they overthrow the faith of some with this teaching” (2 Tim. 2:17, 18.)

    Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31).

    Does Jesus mean we must somehow master every single doctrine precisely in order to be abiding?

    “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17, 18).

    Again, does not this verse teach us to avoid those who have contrary doctrine which we have learned? Even calling them the ones causing divisions and offenses.

    Note: I am playing the conservative with my comments. Just wanting to get some input from somebody.

    Randy

    • Alan Says:

      Randy, I’m not sure which “Alan” you’re asking… But I’ll give it a try.

      Hymenaeus and Philetus strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and even they overthrow the faith of some with this teaching” (2 Tim. 2:17, 18.)

      It’s hard to say for sure everything involved in the errors those two were teaching. In the context Paul mentions quarreling about words, godless chatter, becoming more and more ungodly, a false teaching about the resurrection, and turning away from wickedness. All of those things seem to be related to Hymenaeus and Philetus, although the one thing he singles out is their teaching that the resurrection has already taken place. The promised resurrection is a central part of the gospel, and it seems to have been attacked in more than one church (see 1 Cor 15). I think this example illustrates that false teachings related to the core gospel and which undermine the faith of others are errors that condemn (Although it doesn’t come right out and say those teachings condemn, it may be fairly inferred IMO.) This passage does not warrant a more general conclusion about all errors of teaching.

      Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31).

      Does Jesus mean we must somehow master every single doctrine precisely in order to be abiding?

      The context gives a clearer picture of what Jesus was addressing. These Jews were ready to stone Jesus by the end of the conversation. They were not really Jesus’ disciples, because they rejected the core message about who he is. Again, extrapolating this passage to address every error of belief is not warranted by the text.

      “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Rom. 16:17, 18).

      Paul had just finished laying out his most complete explanation of salvation by grace through faith, and calling them to an appropriate response to that salvation. Most recently (Rom 14-15) he was calling them to accept one another despite disagreements over a variety of subjects. So of course he was not telling them to withdraw from everyone who taught something different about some topic.

  24. churchesofchrist Says:

    Thanks Matt.

  25. churchesofchrist Says:

    Bondservant,

    I think Matt was only trying to determine your line of thought. I think you should be honest with him far as your position, because I know from my blog where you stand on the issues.

    You do adhere to faith alone, and I doubt you find anyone on here agreeing. That isnt the basis of this blog though.

    The Authors have already stated the intent and direction, can we stay on that path?

    Randy

  26. Bondservant Says:

    Matt, I answered your question the best that I could: I know I am not perfect and that it is only by Jesus’ righteousness I am saved. And that is what I will tell anyone.

    Now if you would answer my questions.

    Matt, what is your interpretation of not of works, lest any man should boast?

    Matt, Do you always obey and greet each other with a holy kiss as commanded Romans 16:16, do you always obey and do good to all in every single opportunity as commanded Galations 6:10, do you always obey and love and bless and do good to your enemy as commanded Matthew 5:44, do you always obey and love your neighbor as commanded Galations 5:14 and James 2:8?

    • Matt Clifton Says:

      Bondservant,

      Matt, I answered your question the best that I could: I know I am not perfect and that it is only by Jesus’ righteousness I am saved. And that is what I will tell anyone.

      That answer could come from anyone. If man is only saved by Jesus’ righteousness, then universalism would be true. But God requires a response from man, and yet you will not say what that response is.

      I’m sorry, my friend. I do not feel comfortable carrying on a discussion, if cannot get simple answers to simple questions.

      May God bless you as you seek His will.

      • Bondservant Says:

        So Matt but you are saying your works are mightier than the work of Jesus??? Sorry Matt but if a person believe’s Jesus is their Savior I don’t call that universalism but trust in Jesus.

      • Alan Says:

        Bondservant wrote:

        So Matt but you are saying your works are mightier than the work of Jesus??

        I don’t think any of the conservatives, including Matt, are saying that their obedience earns their salvation. As Jesus said in Luke 17:10, after we’ve done everything we were told to do, we are still unworthy servants. Only the blood of Jesus can make up for our unworthiness. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t expected to obey, and it doesn’t mean we cannot disobey in a way that causes us to disqualify ourselves for salvation. A man will reap what he sows (Gal 6:7).

    • laymond Says:

      Bondservant, I don’t mean to intrude upon your conversation, but if we are saved by grace alone, can you please help me to understand what God was talking about in the message he sent to the churches, and to man in the following scripture which was said could not be changed without dyer consequence.

      Rv:2:5: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

      Rv:2:23: And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Rv:20:13: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

      • Bondservant Says:

        What are the first works, I believe the first works are believing when we believe we are repenting as we are turning to God.

        John 6:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He sent.” Jesus said this is the work of God.

        John 6:44 Jesus said, “No man can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” God is at work drawing people to Jesus. When people believe in Jesus it is the work of God since He draws us to Jesus before we believed.

        I choose to give God the glory.

        That is my answer if you don’t agree – you don’t have to.

        Now perhaps you would like to answer my questions.

        Ephesians 2:4-10
        “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

        What is your interpretation of not of works, lest any man should boast?

        James 2:10 sums up all the laws in saying that if you stumble in one single part of the law you are guilty of all, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” If anyone has not done something God says to do they are guilty of all the laws which includes murder, stealing, adultery …and so on.

        Do you always obey and greet each other with a holy kiss as commanded Romans 16:16, do you always obey and do good to all in every single opportunity as commanded Galations 6:10, do you always obey and love and bless and do good to your enemy as commanded Matthew 5:44, do you always obey and love your neighbor as commanded Galations 5:14 and James 2:8?

  27. churchesofchrist Says:

    Truth, Bondservant…

    We have discussed this on my blog and others. I am sure Matt wouldn’t mind you commenting on his blog, but he has made some points and ask some questions, that you have ignored.

    I, too, have ask you if you hold an universalist view, because you seem to suggest that one is saved merely upon head knowledge – faith alone.

    If you watched Johnny Robertson Sunday night, he made some great points regarding this very issue.

    Agrippa clearly believed the facts regarding Jesus, but failed to surrender in obedient faith to the Gospel, saying he was ALMOST persuaded to be a Christian.

    Agrippa believed the facts about Jesus, but didn’t obey the gospel.

    Agrippa had faith alone, and knew he fell short of being a Christian.

    One could argue that he didn’t repent, which was why he fell short of being a Christian.

    I agree. If one does not express their faith through repentance, his faith is alone – dead.

    Also, if one does not express faith through baptism, his faith is alone – dead.

    Anyways, this site wasn’t set up for this sort of discussion, so I will end on this comment.

    Randy

    • Bondservant Says:

      Johnny tried to say that in Acts 26 Paul was looking in Agrippa’s heart and knew Agrippa had believed in Jesus. Paul never said that, Paul was saying he knew Agrippa believed the prophecies the prophets told about the Messiah coming, Paul said he knew that Agrippa believed that what the prophet’s spoke was true, not that Agrippa believed Jesus was/is the Messiah.

      • Bondservant Says:

        I answered Matt’s question and asked a couple of quetons in return he has not answered but instead asked other questions.

      • Matt Clifton Says:

        Bondservant,

        My time is the Lord’s time, and I will not waste it with folks who will not speak plainly.

        Peace to you and yours.

        Matt

  28. churchesofchrist Says:

    Johnny’s point was that Paul “could discern spirits” that Paul knew Agrippa’s heart.

    Paul said, 27″King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.” ( notice Paul said “I KNOW YOU DO” )

  29. churchesofchrist Says:

    It is pretty obvious that Agrippa made the connection with the what the Prophets said regarding Jesus, seeing he told Paul he was ALMOST persuaded to be a Christian. The word “Christian” even proves that Agrippa understood who Jesus was and that the Old Testament spoke of Him.

    Agrippa failed to OBEY the gospel. Not saying he could earn forgiveness. But this proves that mere belief doesn’t obtain forgiveness or make one a Christian.

    • Bondservant Says:

      Show me where Agippa says he believe’s Jesus is his Messiah. I see where Agrippa believed the prophet’s that the Messiah was to come. He never said he believe’s Jesus is the Messiah the prohet’s spoke of, he did know Paul believed so and was trying to convince him to believe the same.

  30. churchesofchrist Says:

    I suggest you start at verse 1 of Acts 26 … it is quite clear that Agrippa made the connection….

    Sorry, but I see no need to continue this topic. It is before your eyes and you refuse to see it….

    • Bondservant Says:

      I see Paul speakin to King Agrippa about himself telling Agrippa his testimony. But I have yet to see Agrippa saying he believed Jesus was/is the Messiah the prophet’s spoke about.

  31. Royce Says:

    Jay,

    With your permission instead of posting a lengthy comment may ask that my response be read at my blog?

    http://gracedigest.com/2009/04/16/teaching-truth-vs-fighting-error/

    Thank you for your openess and charity.

    Royce

  32. Darin Says:

    I can’t imagine why anyone would simply leave the CoC instead of attempting to correct what surely is error.

    • JD Says:

      Darin,
      Maybe because it is so much work and one is met with only frustration. People hold firm to their long-held beliefs and have a hard time seeing evidence that they may have gotten some things wrong.
      It is easier to just go somewhere else where people are like-minded instead of waging an uphill battle that seems fruitless.


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