An Apology to John Mark Hicks

by Greg Tidwell

In a comment to my post, John Mark Hicks wrote:

I think you mischaracterize our (Greg Taylor and myself) position in Down in the River to Pray. We actually state that salvation is both an event and a process (cf. pp. 254-55), and that the baptismal event is a moment where we encounter God, experience his grace and are assured of our salvation. Baptism is a means of grace; an event of grace, a moment when God does something salvific.

I also think your language is a bit imprecise in characterizing our position. While you write that we believe that “all who respond to the gospel in any way may be part of the family of God” (emphasis mine), it is more precise to say that we believe that God receives those who trust in Christ, submissively seek God from their hearts, and obey him according to their knowledge because God values mercy over sacrifice and faith over ritual. At the same time, God gives us ritual as means of encountering him, receiving his grace and concretely experiencing assurance. Ritual is God’s gift to his people but it should not be exalted over faith or nullify faith simply because the ritual was misunderstood, misapplied or mistaken by sincere believers whose hearts fully trust in Jesus.

John Mark is kind to offer this fuller explanation, and I trust he will accept my apology for any misunderstanding I have caused concerning his position.

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5 Comments on “An Apology to John Mark Hicks”

  1. Bob Brandon Says:

    So, the apology is for “causing misunderstanding” rather than for the misstatement?


  2. Greg, I accept your apology. I recognize that when either one of us is writing that we sometimes characterize each other’s positions from memory or summarize them quickly in a way that leaves an unintended impression. I have done it more than I care to admit. So, thanks for emphasizing this and it is a good model for dialogue where we can listen to each other for the sake of clarification even if we don’t’ come to agreement. Blessings, my brother.

  3. thumper Says:

    Good thing that Tidwell never misunderstands scripture the way he misunderstood Hicks.

    Isn’t it?

  4. Zach Cox Says:

    I trust the apology and misunderstanding was genuine and that the conversation would fare much better without the subsequent low blows.

  5. Mark Littleton Says:

    I have truly enjoyed reading the discussion here and have felt no need to comment up to this point. In fact, this will likely be one of the few times I jump into the dialogue. But I just have to ask, can’t we cut some slack here? Greg apologized, John Mark accepted, and that should be the end of the matter. We expect these brothers to be gracious and believe the best concerning one another’s motives, so can’t we extend them the same courtesy? Remember, if we love each other, “love believes all things.” OK, back to the land of the lurking…


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