Check Lists

by Greg Tidwell

My Progressive friends keep asking for a line to be drawn that will say exactly which error will send one to hell under what circumstances. I really don’t want to be offensive, but I believe they have fallen into legalism at this point. They really are using a “check list” approach that is dogmatic and contrary to a proper appreciation for the grace of God and our status as stewards accountable before our Lord and Master.

What if I were to use this same approach in discussing prayer, for example? You cannot show me a line of Scripture which says exactly how often I am to pray. So what if I decide to only offer a decadal prayer, going before God for a few moments once every ten years? Could you prove I would be wrong, however obvious the error might be? Not everything to which we are accountable can be objectively quantified. To attempt to do so is a form of legalism, also known as “perfectionism.” (I am grateful to Dr. Harvey L. Floyd for introducing me to B. B. Warfield’s classic study on Perfectionism, which I would commend to anyone wanting a further understanding of this error.)

Most of our lives as Christians are lived under the relational accountability of stewardship rather than the rigid accountability of check lists.

The absence of a check list does not absolve us from accountability. Rather, being under grace raises the standard of accountability to a higher level. Consider our moral accountability described in Romans 6:1ff:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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.

Grace is not permissiveness, and sin will separate us from Christ. But we all still sin. As the old Anglican prayer book reminds us:

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

Any moral failure may lead to condemnation, and our attitude must be one of constant vigilance and perpetual repentance. This same outlook should direct our attitude towards false teaching. While no one is doctrinally perfect any more than we are morally perfect, our lack of perfection does not absolve us from attempting to follow God’s perfect standard. Sometimes we have to use what J. D. Thomas called “sanctified common sense.”

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53 Comments on “Check Lists”

  1. James Thrasher Says:

    If I understand your correctly, you believe somethings will cause one to be lost, but you have no idea what they are.

  2. Gregory Tidwell Says:

    I believe there is on Judge of all the earth, and I am not that Judge.

  3. laymond Says:

    “What if I were to use this same approach in discussing prayer, for example? You cannot show me a line of Scripture which says exactly how often I am to pray. So what if I decide to only offer a decadal prayer, going before God for a few moments once every ten years? Could you prove I would be wrong, however obvious the error might be?”

    Mt :26:41: Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
    Acts :6:4: But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
    Heb: 13:15: By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

    Greg, You are right there is no place which says you pray every Sunday, between Ten thirty and eleven thirty a.m. but I do believe the scripture says once every ten years, might not be sufficient to be called continually.

  4. Gregory Tidwell Says:

    Should read “one judge” not “on judge”

  5. Gregory Tidwell Says:

    you can say once every ten years is not sufficient, but how can you prove it.

    I find the same absurdity in calling for an absolute proof as to where the line of apostasy is located.

  6. K. Rex Butts Says:

    I only hear the progressives (myself included) asking for the more traditional brethren to clarify exactly which error(s) will jeopordize a person’s salvation because there are so many who make the claim of apostasy and eternal judgment regarding certain perceived errors (as Todd Deaver’s book “Facing Our Failure’s” points out). So the progressive is not the legalist, for the progressive is only wanting those who claim that certain doctrinal issues germain to our fellowship are a matter of salvation to clarify when, how, and in what circumstances.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Rex

  7. Royce Says:

    “Any moral failure may lead to condemnation”. Remember Jesus,the one who died because of our moral failures and paid the penalty of them with His own blood? And remember the heavenly Father who accepted that payment in full and now does not count our sins agaist us so far as salvation is concerned?

    I remind everyone that those passages that teach the opposite of what some are teaching here are also “God breathed” scripture. Even the very words from Jesus’ own mouth stand in stark contridiction to the idea that His offerning of Himself was not enough and that some how God must be convinced again and again to keep us His own based upon our doing good rather than upon Christ’s perfect obedience.

    Royce

  8. Jason Coriell Says:

    Greg,

    I am in agreement with the thrust of your post. I believe you are most sincere in expressing such sentiments. I can respect your unwillingness to engage this dialogue in the specific manner of listing doctrines, sins, etc.

    So how can we account for the obvious lines of demarcation that exist among those of us affiliated with Churches of Christ? You sincerely believe that your life and worship are a reflection of God’s will as revealed in Scripture. I think the same of my own life and worship. Yet the lines of demarcation continue.

    I have gained the most traction in my own quest to make sense of my Christian identity by deepening my appreciation of the historical and sociological factors that have shaped us. I believe we are all operating with mental, unwritten creeds. We don’t intend to do so, our movement was born out a desire to put aside all creeds, but it is humanly unavoidable. Campbell’s conviction (informed by Bacon, Locke, Reid) that Scripture could be reduced to universally apprehendable “gospel facts” has proven to be epistemologically naive.

    I was very enthused to read of the use of the expression “epistemological humility” by Cecil May, Jr. in a recent presentation. I am hopeful that our CofC brotherhood will further explore the epistemological assumptions that so deeply impact our present condition of fellowship.

    I am deeply interested in your thoughts on these matters.

  9. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Greg, The reason why you and Phil have been asked to be specific about what errors will damn those who belong to Christ, is that some who think like you have tried to control others with warnings of damnation over assorted matters. The Catholic Church is a master of such fear. Non-Catholic preachers are legion who attempt the same.

    It is most helpful that you introduced prayer into the discussion, for true prayer will go far to eliminate our desire to set all others at nought. The Anglican prayer you quoted requests the Lord to spare those who confess their sins. CONFESSION is where we fail. We fail to practice James 5:16 and 1 John 5:16. They are not RESTORED in our churches. In prayer, particularly in confession, our pride is smitten and our desire to condemn and control is released. The stones we hold to hurl at others fall out of our hands. Peace and joy re-fill our hearts. On this Friday that Jesus suffered the humiliation of the cross for all the shameful things that have come from our hearts, let us draw near to the Lord with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith.

    Please hear these words, spoken 15 years ago to about 4,000 people: “I have learned that I do not maintain the disciplines of prayer adequately by myself, and that I MUST, pray regularly with others.” – C. Leonard Allen

  10. Robert Floyd Says:

    I wonder sometimes if we choose to focus on the checklist issue to distract us from the more fundamental questions. There are some specific mentions of things which will condemn us eternally and immediately: denying the divinity of Jesus, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (whatever that may be) and John’s mention of “sin that leads to death” (which is bad enough that we’re told not to bother to pray for forgiveness for it).

    I’ve been studying and preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. Here, Jesus seems to be saying very clearly that obedience is necessary but not sufficient. He doesn’t offer a list of sins with degree of damnation. Instead, He challenges His disciples to look beyond the “what” of the commands and focus on the “why.”

    Based on that, I believe there are two groups of people who have to worry about their relationship with God and, hence, their salvation: those who believe in checklist salvation (“If and only if I do these things, God has to save me.”) and those who believe in Grace Uber Alles (“Since I’m saved by the grace of God, I can pick and choose which commands I’ll try to follow.”).

    According to I John, if I don’t seek to obey the commands of God, I don’t love Him, and that’s not good for my salvation. If I don’t love my brothers and sisters in tangible ways (deed and truth), I can’t love God, and that can’t be good for my salvation. I hope this conversation deals with the latter as well as the former.

    If I read Scripture correctly (and please correct me if I’m not), greed and covetousness are every bit as bad as instrumental music. And yet, how often do we hear them condemned from the pulpit? Perhaps a better approach to take than the question of checklists is a question of heart: what attitudes and character traits will condemn me? What commands do I need to be obeying 24/7, not just on Sundays? What changes do I have to make in my job, my leisure time, my spending habits, to please the God I claim to follow? Constant vigilance and perpetual repentance must be a part of my whole life.

  11. Terrell Lee Says:

    Possibly, to some extent, everyone has a “check list.” Greg’s warning of having such a list is legitimate for all sides. Yet, denying that any of us have such a list may not offer any progress in this discussion. The question isn’t whether we have such a list but how do we justify/determine the items included or excluded on such a list.

  12. Thumper Says:

    Good post, Greg.

    It does beg the question, however.

    The conservatives among us have drawn a line at instrumental music, so that must be a sin that takes one out of God’s grace.

    They have not drawn a line at the points mentioned in Todd’s book.

    I need an explanation for how I am to know the instrumental music is damning and the things in Todd’s book are not.

    If the conservatives are unable to provide such help, how am I to understand the conservative approach to evaluate it?

  13. coffeenowplease Says:

    Greg, I really appreciate this forum. Its great that the four of you have been so quick to post. It is a blessing that the discussion is not dragging.

    There is a danger of legalism whether someone is “progressive” or “liberal”. You have a standard or list that you are using to be able to use these labels. As Todd noted in his book, there have been a few brethren that have attempted to make such a list. However, their lists do not all match.

    From what I gather, the reason you and Phil have been asked to give lists is not for the purpose of others knowing what commands they can disobey and still be saved. If you will read the first part of Jay’s post, you will see that that is not is what is being sought.

  14. coffeenowplease Says:

    Here are the points from Jay’s post to which I was referring:

    The parties are fully agreed that it’s wrong and potentially damnable to intentionally violate what you know is God’s will. None of the parties believes that grace allows us to persist in known wrong with impunity.

    If, for example, someone worships in a way he actually knows to be wrong, he’s not guilty of doctrinal error. His doctrine is right. Rather, he’s guilty of rebellion against the doctrine he knows.

    None of us is remotely interested in finding the least we can do to please God. We all know that God wants us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. We would never encourage anyone to stray from pursuing exactly that. Again, if you think one of the authors says anything to the contrary, you’ve misunderstood.

  15. Robert Floyd Says:

    Thumper, I think you’re making the point in an earlier post about labels. I consider myself very much on the conservative side of the “conservative” – “progressive” continuum, and I do not believe instrumental music is appropriate in our corporate worship. However, I do not view it as damning, nor do most other “conservative” brothers and sisters I know.

    I suspect that many of us are, in fact, in violent agreement with each other, but don’t realize it because we use the same words to mean very different things. In addition, I’m very concerned that we get tangled up in knots over doctrine because we attempt to create false dichotomies: faith vs. works, doctrine vs. grace, obedience vs. love. I’ve been restudying I John and find it to be a wonderfully gestalt view of all this.


  16. Robert, I know of many that would not consider you on the conservative side since you do not consider it damning. You would be marked for holding such a belief and considered unfaithful for not viewing it as damning.

    Excellent point about using the same words with different meaning.

  17. Robert Floyd Says:

    Which is why I’ve never worried about the labels. I make an effort to base my beliefs on my own study of scripture. If that means I’m “conservative” on some things and “liberal” on others, so be it. Just call me an ultraliberal superconservative….or, better yet, call me a disciple of Jesus.


  18. Robert, well said!

  19. Larry Binion Says:

    Hmmmmm. I have heard over and over that we whould not “intellectualize” the Bible. If we use too many scriptures in our sermons,we are somehow “intellectualizing”.

    What I don’t understand is, when the Bible speaks of “come, let us reason together…..”, I always thought that we should be intellectual.

    When Jesus says “I am the Way, the Truth, and The Life”, I always thought He meant what He said.

    Jesus also said “I am the Door….”.

    There are multiple ways of going through a door. You can slam it, you can close it softly, you can be thrown into it, but in any event, you must go through it.

    Many people today are claiming that any door is sufficient. many try to go through a window. Some even try to tear down a wall to make the room bigger.
    Is anything wrong with any of the above approaches? Isn’t the idea to get on the other side of the wall? Who is anyone to tell me what I should do?

    Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life, and dThe Door. What is so wrong with doing things the way Jesus said to do them?

    I think some of our brethren fail to remember what happened to Nadab and Abihu when they offered strange fire, and are presuming to go beyond the scriptures.

    The problem with applying “conservative”,”Progressive”, and “liberal” names to Christianity is that it smacks of fundamental christianity. That is, Jesus was a Radical. He was Progressive. He was a conservative, and he was a liberal. Most of us know this to be true.
    However, most of all – He was God’s Son, and He was obedient – to a fault. Nowadays folks that want to be “Progressive”, “Radical”, and the like, want to see how much they can get away with, and still be counted as a Christian. Remember – God doewsn’t turn away from us. We turn away from Him. Only God is God.

    An allegory – A member of my family who turned away from my precepts the way some folks turn from God, I pray for on a daily basis, and do everything I can to sway them back to their senses. I do not disown them. they still wear my last name. However, it is still my prerogative to disown them in my will.

    Instrumental music? I think I have addressed it fully in this post.

  20. Robert Floyd Says:

    Larry, while I agree with you wholeheartedly about the importance of obedience, and the danger of looking for a minimum set of commands to obey to still be a Christian, that is not a danger only for those on the “progressive” side. A couple of examples:

    Greed and covetousness are considered damning sins by scripture, but I have yet to see anyone “marked” for owning a half-million dollar house while putting $20/week in the collection plate (or for buying the half-million dollar house in the first place).

    Romans 13 is very clear: we are to respect and honor those in authority, no matter who they are. When was the last time we admonished someone for showing disrespect toward President Bush, or President Clinton or President Obama? It seems to me that, no matter where we are on the continuum, we have a tendency to skirt the edges of those commands that are inconvenient or uncomfortable for us.

    And we have to be consistent in our application of hermeneutic principles. It’s not good enough simply to say, “That was a command for then, but not for today.” Those of a more conservative bent do not [rightly, in my view] accept that argument when it comes to matters such as appropriate gender roles in the church. We also, then, don’t have a right to throw that up to explain away the commands/examples we don’t like (such as the holy kiss of Romans 15 or the approved example of people selling their property and giving the proceeds to the church in Acts 4). I’m afraid skirting the edges isn’t the exclusive vice of one side or another: it’s part of the human condition.


  21. I am pleased to read about “relational accountability of stewardship” rather than “rigid accountability of check lists.” I am pleased to stress both relationality and accountability.

    I think this is common ground between some progressives and some conservatives. We are accountable stewards in relationship with a God who desires mercy more than sacrifice.

    Accountable stewardship entails a desire to conform to the will of God in every thing. Relationality entails, I think, that God does not count out a balance of check lists or measure us by quality or quantity. Rather, he relates to us in the context of “grace through faith.”

    Greg, I don’t have an “issue” with what you have written except that progressives ask for the “check list” only because it seemed to them that conservatives have one.

    Blessings, John Mark

  22. Larry Binion Says:

    Robert,

    You are absolutely right. I once went to a church where “The Great Debate” was whether the church should have a kitchen or not. I called them “ultra-conservative” for lack of a better word. Another one I visited was so concerned about being labeled “Fundamentalist”, they removed the pews and replaced them with straight backed chairs. In both instances, it created deep divisions within the church.

    I’ve even seen cases where one phone call answered by the “wrong person” split a church.

    It doesn’t matter who the person in charge is, we are to honor and respect those who are in charge. It is by the grace of God they are there in the first place.
    When I was in the military, I can tell you that the military hated Bill Clinton. The reason had nothing to do with religion. It was because he didn’t salute them. Over time, he learned better, and their attitude toward him softened, but it still left some resentment (I speak here as a general rule where I was. He always had his loyal followers.)

    Everyone in the military talked about how bad Clinton was. However, I was awarded a coin one year. All I did was cheer people up by telling jokes and telling them that things weren’t as bad as they might think.

    Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama – Doesn’t matter. We can disagree wholeheartedly, but we need to understand that they are allowed to be there by God’s grace even if we choke on what they do.

    Church leadership is the same. Some are corrupt. One local man in this area became an elder and was planning to sell the church property. He almost got away with it. After all came to light, he had done the same to Baptist churches as well. He was convicted and is now in prison. How do we deal with figures like this? We must respect them for what they are, but when they violate God’s laws we must follow appropriate measures to unseat them.

    I also agree with you about greed and rich and powerful people putting in of a few dollars as “sacrificial giving”. This presents several problems as how to approach it, the authority of elders, etc. etc.

  23. Bob Brandon Says:

    Yet you remain confident that one can cross it and stand condemned for doing so?

  24. Liberty Grace Says:

    “Any moral failure may lead to condemnation, and our attitude must be one of constant vigilance and perpetual repentance.”

    How depressing! I guess being “freed from sin” doesn’t mean very much to you. Nor this verse: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace through God our Father in the Lord Jesus Christ”. Rom. 5:1

    What you described doesn’t sound very peaceful to me. But then, performance-based salvation isn’t.


  25. […] GraceConversation.com GraceConversation.com « Check Lists […]

  26. Larry Binion Says:

    Performance based salvation means that we do not willfully leave God.

    We are freed from sin, but then consider this: If we are freed from a self inflicted jail, we are free to right back into that jail. god will not toss us out of it. We put ourselves there.

    I also don’t get the point of greed and “marking” those who put little in the collection plate. Are we talking about private sin versus public sin?

  27. K. Rex Butts Says:

    Larry,

    Just to clarify, no where in scripture is there adifferation between public and private sin.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Rex

  28. Liberty Grace Says:

    Performance-based salvation means that we have to perform to be acceptable and when we do not perform, we are not accepted. This is the message I am hearing here. Which is completely opposite of what the Bible teaches. I know that you guys believe that there is nothing we humans can do prior to salvation to make us acceptable to God/saved…only God can save us. Why then, do you think that after salvation, it is we who keep ourselves acceptable and saved?

    Of course we are free to make the wrong choice. But “if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”. Not “if you know and follow all the right doctrine, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” I think you’re emphasis is wrong.


  29. […] to explain why he makes some doctrinal error salvation issues and some not. He responded that my demanding a checklist is legalistic. It’s been a long time since I’ve been called a […]

  30. Levi Nueva Says:

    On Damnible doctrinal Errors:
    I just want to comment on the basis of what the Bible says on doctrinal errors that damns. In my study on doctrines Protestants have not such common doctrines set and to define such damnible doctrines is impossible for proponents of such doctrines will defend and will never accept that their doctrine is wrong rather strengthens it and condemns who condemns them. In short what is wrong to others it is right to them. e.g. Women in church leadership, instruments in worship, dancing, clapping etc in worship, what to eat, what to wear etc. These are one of the reasons why the divisions continues. Is there a solution to this?

  31. Robert Floyd Says:

    What I was trying to say (not as well as I’d like) is this: in our discussions about sins that can separate us from God, we tend to focus on theological or worship points. We seem to pay relatively little attention to those personal attitudes and values that will separate us from God just as quickly. We may argue all day about what worship practices may separate us from God, based on increasingly subtle and esoteric interpretation of Scripture, while overlooking much more serious and clear dangers. I chose greed as one example of that:

    Jesus is very, very clear about this. In Matthew 6, he tells us that where our treasure is, there is our heart (not vice versa). He says this in the context of not laying up treasure on earth, and concludes by saying we can either serve (and love) God or money, but not both. Paul tells us that greed is idolatry, which is certainly a damnable sin. Yet, for all our discussions about what sort of songs are appropriate or how many people should sing at once, I hear almost nothing about what laying up treasure on earth means, or how we identify and mark those who are guilty of the damnable sin of greed. I would suggest that greed and laying up treasure on earth are a far more serious problem for us in the United States than even the question of praise teams or even instrumental music. These may condemn us; loving money and greed will absolutely condemn us.

    Why aren’t we focusing on the clear and present danger? I’m not suggesting the other questions aren’t important; they are. However, they pale in comparison to the danger the church faces of returning to the world. Personally, I don’t relish returning to my own vomit.

  32. Joe Baggett Says:

    Dear: Brother Tidwell

    Your so called “progressive” brothers would rather understand the logic and thinking that you arrive at damnable or heretical doctrinal errors. I know you may not believe this but we really are listening. You may refer to the tangent ramblings from the previous posts on Phil’s propositions and Todd’s reply which really brought us to the crux of the issue which is the approach to scripture. My I presume that until that issue is addressed all others will be moot. To me the statement of “While no one is doctrinally perfect any more than we are morally perfect, our lack of perfection does not absolve us from attempting to follow God’s perfect standard. Sometimes we have to use what J. D. Thomas called “sanctified common sense.” To me this is a poor excuse not to answer Jay’s question even as he has re-stated it opting for logic rather then lists. Also it seems that your accusation of Jay being a legalist is like the pot calling the kettle black. The CENI and traditional hermeneutics are filled with checklists such as the five acts of worship, the five steps to salvation, not to mention proof texts and so on. I have probably heard most of the logic and rhetoric that will be presented if you choose to respond but I will try to remain optimistically hopeful to hear something new.

  33. K. Rex Butts Says:

    Robert,

    Ah…I understand now where you are coming from.

    I once served in a congregation that was willing to tolerate outright racism and mistreatment of the poor while wanting to spend every waking moment trying to condemn all of the worship issues of the day. So one Sunday I preached on the Sheep and the Goats from Matthew 25. I made the point that nowhere in scripture will you find a verse that directly passes judgment on whether or not we worship with instruments or not (that does not necessarily mean instruments are right or wrong just that we have no specific verse passing jusgment on those who do use them). Then I pointed out that we were reading a passage that specifically tells us how we will be judged regarding out treatment of others, especially the “poor.” Believe it or not, I still had elders telling me I am wrong for making an issue out of the way some others were treating homeless people and such.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Rex

  34. Robert Floyd Says:

    Rex,

    I feel your pain. Over the years, I’ve moved from being focused almost exclusively on doctrine related to theology and worship to being more focused on what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. This is not a liberal/conservative issue: the man who started me on this path is as conservative as anyone I’ll ever know. However, he understood that Jesus calls us to be His disciples, which means to be like Him in heart and mind. If we get the heart and mind right, the rest will follow.

    Frankly, I’m getting a bit fed up with all the focus on worship. Of course worship is important. Of course it matters how we seek to worship God. I love a cappella music and like nothing better than to put together a meaningful song service to complement the rest of the service. I could not, in good conscience, worship regularly with instrumental music being used (I’ve visited congregations where that happens; I don’t condemn those who use IM…I’m only stating my understanding of appropriate worship).

    However, of even greater importance is how we live the 165 hours/week we’re not in worship. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that the more we’re out in the field doing the Lord’s work, the less time we have to argue about things, especially with those who are working in the field with us.

    I’m not a professional preacher; I’m a professional IT guy who spends way too much time at the office. However, I take part in a preaching rotation at our congregation; I handle worship planning; I maintain our Web site; I’m starting to provide financial counselling to some in our congregation; I’ve been involved in prison ministry for over 20 years. I say all this not to brag, but to establish a context for my participation and needs in this discussion.

    Why are there not more sermons on Matthew 25 and the damnable sins that are mentioned there? Why are we not challenged on the amount of time we spend on our own pleasures instead of the work of the kingdom? Why aren’t we goading each other on to love and good works? My proposition: the more Christians (not just preachers) who are working in the field, who are seeking actively to walk in the good works that prepared for us before the foundation of the world, who are spending their own time visiting the widows and orphans in their affliction and keeping themselves spotless from the world, the more Christians we’ll have doing the will of God, getting the doctrine right and learning to love each other in deed and truth.

    Isn’t it time for us to get out of the building and to get real?

  35. K. Rex Butts Says:

    Robert,

    It sounds like you’re a great Christian leader and minister serving God with the congregration you are a member of. May your tribe increase!

    Grace and peace,

    Rex

  36. Alan Scott Says:

    Yes, Levi. There is a solution. Romans 14.

    God bless.

  37. laymond Says:

    “I know that you guys believe that there is nothing we humans can do prior to salvation”
    I was under the impression, that God opened the door/gate, and if we did not make the effort to go through that gate, we would certainly be lost.

  38. churchesofchrist Says:

    “Just to clarify, no where in scripture is there adifferation between public and private sin.”

    As Rex points out, no where in scripture is there a differation between public and private sin. But, have we not done this in our assemblies?

  39. Alan Says:

    While no one is doctrinally perfect any more than we are morally perfect, our lack of perfection does not absolve us from attempting to follow God’s perfect standard.

    Greg, the principles outlined in your statement could form the basis of agreement between conservatives and progressives. The statement acknowledges that we all fall short of doctrinal perfection. And it calls us to attempt to follow the doctrine of God perfectly. I think both sides would fully embrace both principles.

    There seems to be an unwarranted assumption by conservatives that progressives do not make a serious effort to obey the doctrine of God. But progressives are no less diligent than are conservatives to obey. The difference between conservatives and progressives is not in their diligence but in their understanding of God’s doctrine.

    Some doctrinal errors are fatal, regardless of the diligence to obey the flawed doctrine. Both sides have agreed to that. Other doctrinal errors are not fatal. So one who sincerely adheres to those erroneous doctrines is not thereby condemned. Both sides have also agreed to that. The question is, how do you decide which errors go into which of those two categories? What is the principle used to decide?

  40. Robert Floyd Says:

    Rex,

    Thanks for your words of encouragement. I think my frustration is that people seem to think I’m some sort of supersaint (I’m nowhere near that), when what I’m doing is simply the sort of stuff that ALL Christians should be doing. The great failing of all parts of the continuum is that we spend more time arguing doctrine related to our worship than we do to teaching doctrine related to how we should be living in the world. What would happen if we all agreed to hash these doctrinal points out in private while confining the pulpit to teaching how people should be living and provoking each other to love and good works? And, yes, I view myself as a conservative and consider this to be a very conservative point of view.

  41. Alan Says:

    Robert Floyd wrote:

    What would happen if we all agreed to hash these doctrinal points out in private while confining the pulpit to teaching how people should be living and provoking each other to love and good works?

    Great point.


  42. […] are a few realizations I have come to as a result of reading the comments on […]

  43. Liberty Grace Says:

    I was talking about saving ourselves by our good deeds. We can only “save ourselves” by accepting the free gift of God’s grace (however you interpret that). We could never make ourselves good enough to be saved. No amount of good works is enough to cancel our sins. Which is the whole reason Jesus had to die. That was what I meant.


  44. Allan looking at your comments and some of the others we all agree people shouldn’t walk in doctrinal error but none of us is doctrinally perfect. So what constitutes walking in rebellion. If you tell me a doctrine is wrong and I also a student of the bible reach a different conclusion based on my study and undestanding of scripture who’s right and who’s wrong? Insome of the seven churches of revelation the right followers might have been a very small minority and the leadership might have even said they were doctrinally wrong. So what does one do just follow the crowd because they have more people agreeing with their interupretation? So many times doctrinal issues are much more foggy than how is one baptized and how does one become saved. Although we say to everyone in attendance if you have a problem with what I’m teaching let’s discuss it when you do many times the “teacher” confronts you with leading yes or no questions which though perfectly clear to him may not be clear to the questioner. The questioner could if he / she sticks with what they understood can be “marked as in rebelion when in fact they are not. Aaron’s sons made strange fireand when I read that segment because of what God says afterwords they may have been intoxicated. They acted . deliberately they knew what they were doing and knew it was wrong not just because they were told it was very clear. Uz knew or should’ve known the ark was to be carried by the levites not placed on a cart for transport but many “errors” aren’t specifically spelled out and sometimes are or could be matters of opinion for example when I was young many churches said television was wrong or listening to rock music but today most don’t say that. Many of yesterdays doctrines are todays opinions which is what makes this discussion so hard and lists so hard to put together. Is the conservative vs progressive kind of like Solomon vs Jeroboam? Remember Jeroboams counselors were asking him to be hardline and harsh while Solomon’s counselors told him to ease up on the people?If we do ease up when does easing up become tolerance of sin which Jesus forbids? An interesting paradox too, the elders in this case were the progressives seemingly while the youth jeroboams friends, the conservatives. Thanks for all the interesting comments and discussion.


  45. Just an addendum to my last post I said Solomon’s son was Jeroboam incorrect as I’m sure most of you all ready know but wanted to clarify I’m referring to King Solomon’s son in the post not jeroboam.
    I should have looked up the scripture prior to posting.
    God Bless:
    Mike

  46. Richard May Says:

    Too late, Michael. A number of us had already noticed your careless use of scripture, discussed it among ourselves, and emailed our friends.


  47. I appreciate a lot of the comments here as many are encouraging to me. I absolutely agree that the churches of Christ, in general, are prone to legalism because too much doctrine is about “how we do worship” rather than focusing on what followers of Jesus should be hungry for and sharing.

    It’s very easy to forget that Jesus said, “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” (Luke 17:10 ESV)

    The Anglican prayer quoted above is the epitome of what our prayers should be like, even if we think (erroneously) that we are pretty close to perfection. Only God judges the heart rightly; man can only guess about most things. That said, I am very happy that God alone is our final judge and am confident that He will judge all of us perfectly fairly.

  48. Levi Nueva Says:

    You have a very good discussion on the subject of worship but can I share to you my article on this as I have been engage on research how will I neutralize doctrines that divides the Body of Christ.
    My article is an attempt to pacify doctrines and what will I be sending is the first topic and is a series. You can have comments for I desire critiques to have more different insights as research study whether my article will pacify warring doctrines. I have 35 pages on this study and my approach is exegetical. The topic is The Praise and Worship Controversy. Thanks

  49. Levi Nueva Says:

    Yes I agree with your suggested chapter that will break the walls of denominationalism but how can we implement such enormous task? Serious Christians are really tired of this continuing bickering in Christendom. Whom or who shall we unite does it comprise denominations or just individuals who are genuine Christians for I believe that not all who are in denominations are true Christians for it is indeed a fact that there are sheeps and goats in a shepfold. thanks

  50. Royce Says:

    Levi Nueva, Your statement “I believe that not all who are in denominations are true Christians” is true. The same is true of churches of Christ, there are some who are trusting being right, being in the right church, doing the right things, etc. instead of trusting Christ alone.

    There are great and precious promises for those who are depending on Jesus. There is only the wrath of God awaiting pretenders.

    Royce

  51. Levi Nueva Says:

    Thanks Royce,
    Yes you are right for in the shepfold some indeed are pretenders and not easy to pinpoint who are they for they look like ‘sheeps’but just noticed them when they change their color (attitudes) for they cannot duplicate true born again believers for the Holy Spirit cannot be pirated.
    Levi


  52. […] to explain why he makes some doctrinal error salvation issues and some not. He responded that my demanding a checklist is legalistic. It’s been a long time since I’ve been called a […]

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