Not a Man-made List But a Scriptural Rationale

by Jay Guin

Greg writes,

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.

Really? You see, the thing is: I already have lists and lines of salvation aplenty. My bookshelves sag under the weight of checklists written by Daniel Sommer, David Lipscomb, H. Leo Boles, Thomas Warren, Bert Thompson, Goebel Music, etc., etc., etc. My conservative brothers have never been reluctant to draw salvation lines or offer checklists. They don’t agree with each other on just which doctrinal errors result in apostasy or why, but they do seem to agree on the drawing of lines and making of lists.

All I ask from Greg is the scriptural basis for his own published checklists.

Now, I admit to some uncertainty. Sometimes Greg sounds like he and I are in complete agreement. Other times, I’m not so sure. However, I know for a fact that as late as August 2007 we were not in agreement. So it seems only right to ask whether Greg has changed his mind since he published articles drawing lines that say certain errors will send one to hell.

Greg’s checklists

Greg has published articles in which he lists certain doctrinal errors that damn (cause apostasy, cause one to fall away). I’m sure these aren’t intended as complete lists. And I’m not asking Greg to provide such a list. I just want to know: do these still reflect Greg’s beliefs? and if so, what scriptures support his assertion that his published lists of doctrinal errors damn?

Here’s an article by Greg for Forthright magazine, “Know the Time” (May 9, 2002).

Worship is changing. Congregations bring in all manner of deviance, pandering to every selfish whim. Entertainment replaces reverence. Emotionalism replaces obedience. The spirit of this age replaces the Spirit of Grace.

Church government is changing. Freelance organizations misappropriate the work God intends for the church of Christ. Mercenary professionals usurp the divinely authorized assignments of pastor, deacon, and evangelist. Congregations become fraternal societies, existing to meet the needs of their members. They are no longer a fellowship of God’s people, gathered in obedience to His will. …

Already much error, previously carefully hidden, now openly affronts the brotherhood. If the pace of apostasy continues, the division will be complete within the next five years. While we do not rejoice in the falling away of those who were once our brethren, we rejoice in the purification of God’s church.

Greg expands the themes sounded in this brief article in a series of articles in the August 2007 issue of the Gospel Advocate, each beginning with the lead “You Know It Is a Different Religion When …”

Now, perhaps I’m wrong (I hope so), but I can think of no interpretation for “a different religion” other than “not Christianity.” I mean, Christianity is but one religion, and it is the only religion where salvation may be found. And so “a different religion” seems to plainly imply apostasy (damnation, falling away).

The church of Christ is dividing into two irreconcilable camps. On one side are those who have kept the same faith; on the other side are those who are experimenting  with a wide range of differing faiths. …

(“You Know It Is a Different Religion When … They Change Their View of Authority” page 34). This is the theme sentence of the series of articles, and “differing faiths” also surely implies apostasy.

Congregations, schools and other institutions previously following one religion have embraced a different religion. …

Those Christians who continue to uphold the complete truthfulness of Scripture have kept their faith that God has spoken through Scripture. Those who have abandoned their faith in Scripture have abandoned their faith in the God of Scripture.

(“You Know It Is a Different Religion When … They Change Their View of Authority” page 34). Greg is speaking particularly of God’s Holy Fire, a book published by ACU Press, which has a section disputing inerrancy.

If I read Greg correctly, he is saying that those who consider the scriptures inspired and authoritative (which the authors of that book do) but don’t accept the inerrancy of scripture are lost.

Speaking of those who consider those improperly baptized to be saved, Greg writes,

Lowering the boundaries between the church and other religions weakens the meaning of being a Christian. It is an apostasy of attrition. …

We must never, however, blur the lines that make being a Christian distinct from belonging to a different faith.

(“You Know It Is a Different Religion When … They Redefine Who Is a Christian” page 36).

Thus, if I follow Greg correctly, those who consider Baptist or infant baptism sufficient are apostates, even if they are themselves properly baptized.

Regarding the introduction of the instrument into Restoration Movement churches and women taking on leadership roles in worship, Greg writes,

The problem was not just the instrument but, more to the point, the lack of faith in scripture. …

Worship defines a religion. Changes in worship are often the clearest sign of a fundamental shift from one religion to another.

In our day, changes in worship are highlighting a change that has already occurred in the hearts of men and women. Congregations that use instrumental music in worship and that use women to lead in worship have already lost their faith, if you define “faith” as trusting and obeying the Lord.

(“You Know It Is a Different Religion When … They Fundamentally Change Worship” page 37).

Regarding parachurch organizations (nonprofits supported by churches), Greg writes,

From the late 1800s through most of the 20th century, churches of Christ agreed the New Testament provides a pattern, and the only way to be the church that pleases God is to follow the pattern God provided in Scripture.

… The overwhelming majority of churches of Christ embraced educational and benevolence institutions as expedient means of doing the Lord’s work. …

When is an institution a danger to the church? Two related problems exist. When institutions embrace false teaching, in essence when they become purveyors of a different religion. Christians must recognize association with error is a sin against God. Further, and more subtle, institutions also threaten the Lord’s work when they become parasites, draining resources away from congregations.

(“You Know It Is a Different Religion When … They Abandon Restoring the Church” page 39).

To summarize, (Greg, please correct me if I’ve misread you) we fall away (are damned, become apostate) if we —

  • Reject the doctrine of inerrancy, even if we consider the scriptures inspired and authoritative, or
  • Believe God saves penitent men and women of genuine faith in Jesus if baptized other than for the remission of sins, or other than by immersion, or when an infant, or
  • Worship with an instrument, or
  • Allow women to lead in worship, or
  • Support parachurch organizations that engage in false teaching, or
  • Allow parachurch organizations to drain resources from the congregation

Now, if I’ve misunderstood Greg’s writings, I apologize, but as I read these articles — and I’ve studied them repeatedly — each of these doctrinal errors damns. What else could “You Know It Is a Different Religion …” mean?

I don’t want to argue the merits of the asserted doctrinal errors at this time. And I have sympathy for some of Greg’s concerns. For now, though, let’s assume for the sake of argument that in each case Greg is right that each involves doctrinal error (as defined in my earlier post).

Is this list still reflective of Greg’s thinking? If so, what makes these particular errors damnable? Why this list?

Consequences

Now, this is a very important question, for several reasons in addition to those I mentioned in an earlier post

  • If Greg can’t show from scripture why these particular errors damn, then we should surely conclude that he is in error. The burden is on any teacher to defend his teaching from the scriptures.
  • If Greg can’t show from scripture why these particular errors damn, then isn’t he guilty of “self-made religion” (Col 2:23 NASB), adding to God’s word (Deu 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19), and teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matt 15:9 KJV)?
  • If Greg can’t show from scripture why these particular errors damn, then by telling his readers that those who are guilty of these errors are no longer their brothers, isn’t he guilty of causing divisions contrary to the doctrines taught by the apostles (Rom 16:17)?

On the other hand, if Greg can offer a valid, Biblical defense for why these particular doctrines damn, then the rest of us can learn from the rationale and know how to tell what other doctrines damn. Maybe we can even all agree.

I don’t want a list of damning errors. I just want to know how I can tell — from the Bible — whether the lists being taught as God’s truth in our brotherhood publications are true. It’s a fair and very necessary question.

On the other hand, if Greg no longer believes these assertions of apostasy are true, then we can have a different conversion altogether — one that I would truly celebrate.

Sanctified common sense

Greg writes in his last post,

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.”

I entirely agree with the first part. Yes, we should all endeavor to follow God’s perfect standard. Absolutely! Grace is not license to sin.

But we are only talking about doctrinal error committed by those who make a mistake despite being penitent believers, who err by honestly misunderstanding God’s will on some point other than faith in Jesus and whether we must diligently seek to obey God. What of the man who worships with an instrument honestly believing that he is acting in obedience to God’s will? Why is he damned, given that not all error damns?

Greg urges us to answer such questions with “sanctified common sense.” I could not disagree more.

If we were speaking of expedients, then, yes, God did indeed leave such things up to us. We should use the good sense God gave us to sort it out the best we can. But when the question is who is saved and who is not, “common sense” means human wisdom — and humans don’t get to make those rules — nor has God left us to guess at them.

The scriptures do indeed plainly state circumstances that can cause a saved person to be lost. I’m quite content with those. Why would I presume to be able to add to that list using my own common sense?

God’s wisdom is far from common, and the principles by which God decides who remains saved and who falls away can only be known by revelation. My question remains: what does the Bible say?

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35 Comments on “Not a Man-made List But a Scriptural Rationale”

  1. Robert Baty Says:

    Jay,

    I am glad to see you repeat your position that the scriptures plainly state that there are circumstances wherein it is possible for a saved person to be lost; thereby taking exception to the popular “once born, always born” doctrine…er, “once saved, always saved”.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty


  2. Thanks Jay. You have framed the differences in a very clear way. It is disturbing when we see attitudes of judgment stated so clearly in written form. May God bless your efforts.

  3. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Brother Guinn, I am thankful that you have laid out for the readers what Greg Tidwell has written over the past several years. I was not aware of it. From reading the sections of his writings,it appears he has advocated an approach to scripture that sets all others at nought, and reflects the pride of boasting in uninspired words, rather than Jesus’ life to cover ours. Paul would not boast in anything save the cross, but we are inclined boast in other things to distinguish ourselves. I am guilty of having done just that. The Lord has been patient with many. There is no joy in the way of setting all others at nought.

  4. Bob Brandon Says:

    When someone writes “I really don’t want to be offensive”, too often, they really do.

    In any event, what Greg did was little more than projection. As well as many others, I thank Jay for making the effort at dialogue, but I suspect that this experiment has about run its course.


  5. […] GraceConversation.com GraceConversation.com « Not a Man-made List But a Scriptural Rationale […]

  6. thumper Says:

    Quite so, Jay.

    So far, we have not seen any rationale offered by Phil and Greg that would explain why crossing the instrumental music threshold causes one to be damned, but disagreeing over things such as head coverings, who can remarry, kitchens in a church, etc. do not cause one to be damned.

    To paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, I want to know!

    Greg and Phil, without an actual attempt to respond to the major thrust of Todd’s book with specifics, I believe your side of this conversation fails. Conservative brothers will leave the positions you hold unless you can defend them. So far, there has been very little of that, it seems to me.


  7. […] so I responded that I don’t want a checklist. I just want to know why the checklists that he and others have published treat certain doctrinal […]

  8. Robert Floyd Says:

    From my own study, I’ve come up with the following partial list of things that are considered sufficiently bad to keep us out of the kingdom:

    Denying the divinity of Jesus (I John 2:22-23)
    Blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29)
    Returning to the world (II Peter 2:20-22)
    Deliberately continuing to sin (Hebrews 10:26-31)
    Being cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, practitioners of magic arts, idolaters or liars (Revelation 21:8)

    This is by no means a complete list, but it does give us a feel for what God considers particularly bad. Some of these are pretty straightforward; others are rather puzzling. An interesting exercise might be to draw up a list of all “damnable” offenses, as explicitly stated in scripture. Once we have that list (and we should be able to agree on it if we stick strictly to the Biblical items), we can then look at various doctrines and practices and determine if they fit into one or more of these offenses. If a doctrine/practice does, then it’s damnable If it doesn’t, we can’t classify it that way. While not perfect, and certainly subject to reasonable disagreements, it seems to me a better way than treating it like pornography: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”


  9. Where is the discussion? Where is the rebuttle from the conservative side? Happy Easter to all. May God continue to bless His children.

  10. Robert Baty Says:

    Bob wrote:

    > “About all you (Jay) have
    > accomplished is to throw more
    > gasoline on an already raging
    > inferno.”

    That fits in well with observations by Royce and Brandon that I recently referenced.

    While the intent might have been different, the apparent effect appears to be that there hasn’t yet begun a discussion, a step by step concerted effort to identify and resolve fundamental matters that seem to be in dispute.

    Rather, the new blog appears to be nothing more than a platform upon which the “progressives” might stand and heap their coals of fire down upon the opposition.

    In that context, the victory can be clearly awarded the “progressives”.

    I tried, in my own feeble way, to get them to pursue a more productive course.

    I again apologize for my failure to affect a more positive, productive result.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  11. thumper Says:

    There can be no discussion of specifics.

    How can there be, when those who have previously given specifics contradict each other, as documented in Todd’s book?

    If Greg were to create a list, Phil’s list would not be the same. If they were to agree, it wouldn’t be the same as the big shot up in Memphis.

    Todd’s book has presented truthfully that the conservative viewpoint as it exists in print is hopelessly contradictory.

    Therefore, do not expect any specific responses from the conservatives in this discussion.

    Sad, really.

  12. Robert Baty Says:

    That tends to further demonstrate my point.

    By the way, just who is the “big shot up in Memphis” these days?

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  13. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Robert, I am sorry that you are discouraged about what has been written to this point. By the end of this week we should have Greg’s reply in reference to his writings that Jay quoted from on Fri. the 10th.

    Those who began the RM saw that strife and ill will came from trying to force our REASONING and CONCLUSIONS upon others. That remains so today. Jesus’ words to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought,should warn us all.

    We may see that trying to control others
    (Lk.9:49), is just another mask for our PRIDE, and avoid imitating Diotrophes,
    3 Jn.9.

  14. Robert Baty Says:

    Wayne,

    Any discouragement you might detect in my writings on the subject are minimal when compared to the disappointment of others who were anxious for a more productive discussion.

    I am more disappointed in the lack of interest in the 70-549 issue; though I have somewhat of an understanding why that is simply “too hot” for the “progressives” to handle!

    Similarly, I see in your reference to “force” and “control” further evidence of just such as I have tried to point out as being detrimental to a serious, focused effort to resolve fundamental problems on these important matters.

    One might propose, in light of your comments and the history of this venue, that Jay and Todd, with their supporters, are simply trying to “force” their “reasoning” and “conclusions” onto Phil & Greg and so “control” them.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  15. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Robert, You have aroused my curiousity by reference to the “70-549” issue. I am clueless as to what you refer to by those #s. Please enlighten me.

    In your last paragraph you seem to suggest that Jay & Todd are forcing their reasoning on Phil & Greg.
    But Jay & Todd are NOT the ones who are declaring others unfaithful to God.
    We must HEAR Jesus’ words in Lk.9:50.

  16. J. S. Williams Says:

    “Reject the doctrine of inerrancy, even if we consider the scriptures inspired and authoritative.”

    If that damns one to hell, I guess I’m lost then. Which doctrine of inerrancy, though?

    http://www.acu.edu/sponsored/restoration_quarterly/archives/1990s/vol_37_no_3_contents/williams.html

    http://www.cts.edu/Library/Index.cfm?NavID=9&PageID=511

  17. Robert Baty Says:

    Wayne,

    I thought you would never ask! :o)

    In order to get some details about 70-549, you can find a March 15, 2009 article on Jay’s OneInJesus blog about the ministerial housing allowance.

    Just review the comments to that article for details.

    As to the second part of your recent comments, “declaring one unfaithful” is not the same as “forcing ones reasoning on another”.

    Not that it matters, but, since you mentioned such matters, I thought it worth providing the feedback to those who might be interested, that some might see more “force” coming from the “progressives” here.

    Matthew 7:1,2 & James 3:1!

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  18. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Robert, I found your reply, went to Jay’s blog, skimmed thru the lengthy article, then your comments following it. I now understand your interest in that
    qr., as a retired IRS employee. Pursuing that qr. may be of interest to a few, but it is not going to bring us to love Jesus more.

    It is clear that those who are inclined to condemn others are not those you term “progressive”. Jesus’ warning for those who set all others at nought is ignored by too many among cofC.

    I have a qr. for you: based upon what the scriptures say, do we choose God, or does God choose us?
    One answer leads men to say, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner.” The other answer leads toward, “God,I thank Thee that I am not as the rest of men…”
    I ask you to answer with book, ch. & vs.

  19. Robert Baty Says:

    Wayne,

    Thanks for looking it up!

    Why not try doing it this way:

    You go to that article and post your opinion as to whether or not ACU is an “integral agency of the churches of Christ”.

    I’ve made it clear over there what my position is.

    Then return here and, if you are seriously interested in my answer to your question, come back here, provide your own answer, and then wait for my reply.

    That seems like fair play to me!

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  20. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Robert, I am not interested in the qr. of whether any U. is an agency…

    I asked you a qr. that is answered by
    scripture. The qr. is yours to answer.

  21. Robert Baty Says:

    Wayne,

    That’s not the way it’s done!

    However, you have provided yet again another demonstration of the points I have made as to why the intended discussion at this venue has yet to “get off the ground”.

    If you aren’t willing to do a favor, answering a question you most certainly can answer, then don’t presume to “force” me to answer your question.

    Do a favor, get a favor in return.

    Or not; my point has again been made and I thank you for the demonstration.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  22. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Robert,
    I don’t think your words are impressing anyone.

    I asked you, do we choose God, or does God choose us?
    This qr. can be answered with book, ch. & vs.

  23. Robert Baty Says:

    Wayne,

    OK by me. Keep it up.

    You are the one doing the convincing!

    I asked you a question and have posted my own answer thereto.

    You have not answered my question, yet, you presume to “force” me to answer your question; a question you have yet to answer, as part of our discussion,yourself.

    Prove my point(s) further if you will, Wayne.

    It’s your call!

    I’d rather get a straight answer out of you, but it’s your call.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty

  24. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Robert, your qr. about Universities is not of interest
    to most readers of this blog, and not to me.

    The qr. I asked you can be answered from scripture.
    If you choose not to answer it, that’s ok.

  25. Robert Baty Says:

    Wayne,

    Again, thanks for the further demonstration of the point(s) I have tried to make as to why the “progressives” here have not done according to the lofty goals set for this venue.

    Matthew 7:1,2 & James 3:1!

    I did not ask you how much interest you are anyone else had in the “integral agency” issue.

    Your evasiveness tends to adversely affecting your credibility.

    I asked you to do what you were asking of me, and you would not!

    As you say, that’s OK!

    It helps make my point(s) regarding this venue’s progress, or lack thereof, towards its lofty goals.

    Don’t feel lonely, though, you’ve had lots of company.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Baty


  26. […] Therefore, when I summarized the consequences of the conservatives’ inability to defend their doctrine of apos…, I was pulling punches. I think the consequences — for some — will be much worse than I […]

  27. nick gill Says:

    Yes.

    The answer to your question is Yes.

    Neither side of the sovereignty vs. free will argument is willing to tolerate the tension that Scripture creates and does not resolve between these two ideas.

    The answer is Yes.


  28. […] Here are a few realizations I have come to as a result of reading the comments on graceconversation.com: […]

  29. laymond Says:

    Wayne asked the question, “I have a qr. for you: based upon what the scriptures say, do we choose God, or does God choose us?”

    Wayne I would be interested as to where you might get the answer to your question.


  30. When will false doctrine endanger one’s salvation? The following two situations appear to be the most prominent candidates to me.

    1. When false doctrine is another gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). In other words, when false doctrine results in one trusting in some other basis for salvation than the person and work of the only mediator and advocate, Jesus Christ. This would explain Paul’s extreme opposition to those who insisted on circumcision or any work of the law for Gentile admission into the church. It would explain his firm stand at the Jerusalem council.

    2. When false doctrine leads to a habitual lifestyle of immorality. This would explain the apostle John’s firm stand against docetism in 1 John and 2 John. Doceticm, with it anti-materialistic worldview could lead to extreme asceticism, on the one hand, or sexual libertarianism, on the other hand. In the situation of 1 John it also led to an attitude of spiritual elitism where one did not love one’s brothers and sisters in Christ. The false teaching that is opposed by Jude and by Peter in 2 Peter are further examples. While it is clearly a doctrinal heresy, the emphasis throughout is on the ethical or moral failures of the false teaching.

    Jude – the chief problem of the false teachers was how it led to moral failure
    vs. 4 – perverted the grace of God – vs. 16 – moral sin – e.g. following their own passions
    vs. 8 – rejected authority – that moral
    vs. 12 – selfish – that’s moral
    vs. 16 – arrogant, boasters – that’s moral
    vs. 18 – scoffers – that’s moral
    vs. 19 – devoid of the Spirit – arrogant, they thought they were the spiritual ones
    vs. 19 – divisive – which is a moral sin

    2 Peter 2:1-16 – more false teachers condemned – primarily due to immorality
    vs. 1-3 – underhanded ethics and methods, exploitation, greed, shameful ways, deceptive methods; contrast Paul 1 Thess. 2:5
    vs. 4-8 – God will judge them like he judged others; who are those he judged? primarily other immoral people in the past, not other false teachers; Sodom and Gomorrah, days of Noah and Lot, etc.
    vs. 9-10 – emphasis on words like righteous and corrupt desire
    vs. 10-11 – arrogance of the false teachers, rebellious, slanderous attitudes, irreverent
    vs. 12-13 – live like animals
    vs. 13-14 – eyes full of adultery, seduction, greed, blots and blemishes
    vs. 15-16 – parallel with Balaam – greed

    And now an illustration from a conservative former teacher of mine, Earl West, the great RM historian. He had a man come to him who wanted to “place membership” with the congregation where Dr. West preached, but the man confessed that he was premillennial. Dr. West said they would be glad to have him as a member there. He told him that he would not be allowed to teach his premillennial doctrine and from time-to-time he would have to listen to Dr. West preach against it. If he was willing to live and worship in that arrangement, they would gladly receive him into their fellowship. The man and his wife happily attended there for the next 20 years and eschatology was never mentioned. This man held what Dr. West considered to be a false doctrine, but it was not a doctrine which led him to (1) deny the gospel, that is, trust in something other than Jesus and God’s grace for his salvation, or (2) live an immoral lifestyle (e.g. he was not divisive regarding his premillennial belief and it did not make him an adulterer or a drunk).

  31. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Dear brother Williams, Thank you very much for this enlightening and truly biblical response.

  32. walkinginlove Says:

    If God chooses us did he not select Cosmos? For God so loved the world…

    Secondly if God stands ready to judge us, why is that needed if all things are already decided, if we are going to select a path that is preprogrammed in us, how is it that we need to be judged since all things are fixed? And scary though the concept is, if God preprogammed some of us to hell, are we really responsible for those actions if we have no choice in the matter? If God stands ready to judge us and everything is already written out, should it not say God has already judged us, since he knows the end results of the selections we are going to make? Surely each of us has a choice in the matter! How else can we be accountable for those actions if the option to select another path were not available to us?

    Secondly as far as a line in the sand for doctrine, what effect does acts of mercy play into that line? For instance:

    James 2:12Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

    In drawing our lines if we are unmerciful in that judgment are we not in danger? And what does it mean Mercy triumphs over judgment?

    Or the Love factor in 1 Peter 4:8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

    Is this simply talking about Jesus love that covered our sins or something more that involves our actions also?

    And if those passages play into the lines draw in the sand does it not Grey the line somewhat?

  33. Randall Says:

    Wayne,
    You know and we all know the answer to your question. It isn’t that difficult a question and I suspect many of us know why there is a reluctance to answer it. That is, it isn’t consistent with what we prefer to be true and all of us prefer to believe what we prefer to be true.

    We choose him because he first chose us.

    Peace,
    Randall

  34. Randall Says:

    Might want to check out Romans 8 and 9 as it might have some bearing on your position. Especially Romans 9: 1-23 is a substantial passage that deals directly with the issue of God’s choice and his right to exercise it.

    If God is the one that hardened Pharaoh’s heart how can he find fault with Pharaoh since no one can resist his (God’s) will? Who are you O man that that answers back to God? Will the thing molded say to the potter “Why did you make me this way?” Or does not the potter have the right over the clay to make of it what he will?

    I could give you other texts and you could quote some back to me – or I could quote them for you as I have been through this discussion a few times already. But we don’t want to spend a lot of space trading proof texts here. Let’s just encourage each other to do more independent study.

    I know we all read the same Bible. However, we all place more emphasis on some passages of scripture than others. Some of us come to the conclusion that the preponderance of scripture falls on one side and some on the other. That doesn’t mean the other side in not be intellectually honest.

    Peace


  35. […] (thus “apostate” which amounts to a “different religion” [see Jay Guin’s assessment of Greg Tidwell’s use of this language]).  In this context our faithfulness, rather than the faithfulness of Jesus, […]


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