Proposition One Response from Phil

by Phil Sanders

Todd,

Please pardon my late reply, since I have gone through a grueling few weeks. I have held four gospel meetings and attended three lectureships since mid-February. I am just now catching my breath.

I echo your appreciation to Jay for hosting and coordinating this discussion. He has gone to great lengths to accomodate you, Greg, and me. I am thankful for the opportunity of exploring with you an important matter.

My proposition is: The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation.

In some cases I think many people were reading more into what I was saying than the proposition actually says. I am not saying that any brother who ever thinks for a moment any wrong notion is lost. There is more to be said than this. I am saying that people who continue to entertain and press beliefs that are false and harm others are sinning. Doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation.

Doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation, and yes I believe this can be any doctrinal error. It is so because error is equated in God’s eyes with sin. Any sin can lead to eternal damnation. Doctrinal sin is not less evil than moral sin. Doctrinal error has led a multitude of souls astray from God.

Galatians 1:6-9 and 5:4 are sufficient to show that doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation. Those who are in error are misled by a lie, a falsehood. God will punish all liars (Rev. 21:8). What some are calling “mistaken,” the Bible calls blind (Matt. 15:14; 2 Cor. 4:4). Being blinded does not keep people from falling into the pit.

Paul’s discussion of the apostasy with the Thessalonians has some mysteries, but he notes that those who do not love the truth are vulnerable to a “deluding influence so that they might believe what is false” (2 Thess. 2:10-12). Belief in the false and lack of love for the truth are matters of salvation.

Jesus spoke clearly to the Pharisees, who went beyond the Scriptures with their oral Torah, in Matthew 15:6-9, “So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

The Pharisees thought they were right with and close to God in spite of the fact they were teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Jesus makes this observation about the Pharisees and man-made doctrines in Matthew 15:13-14: He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” False doctrine can indeed cost the souls of both the deceiver and the deceived.

Now as to some other matters: I do think there are some qualifiers.

Repentance is always a qualifier. Those who repent of moral sin can find forgiveness, and those who repent of doctrinal error can also find forgiveness. Time plays a part in this. 2 Peter 3:15 reminds us to regard the patience of the Lord as salvation. God does not want anyone to perish but for all to come to repentance, and this included those who were caught up in falsehoods in 2 Peter 2. I am constantly amazed at how what we believe influences how we live. One of the reasons false doctrines are evil is that they inevitably lead to sinful attitudes and behavior. Our ethics arise out of what we believe and value. Error in thought will inevitably lead to error in life. Paul’s epistles bear this out repeatedly. God desires all to repent. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

I am concerned, however, there are some who are suggesting on a practical level that being “mistaken” somehow dismisses the need for repentance. The sprinkled person to them does not have to be immersed. The restoration plea is built upon the need to come out of the world and to return to God’s teaching; this was the means by which divided men could unite. Restoration begins with repentance and demands correction. Repentance is the gift of correction. The God-breathed Word corrects (2 Tim. 3:16-17); it does not leave one in error.

Grace teaches correction (Titus 2:11-14); one may not continue in moral or doctrinal error. How can the misled, deceived, sprinkled infant say he has faithfully repented in later years, if he does not correct the situation with an immersion? Those who have misled others by giving them false hope in humanly substituted sprinkling and in faithless infant baptism do immeasurable harm. They speak of grace and leave the soul broken. Where, then, is the love of the truth?
Is an error sufficient? Where is the righteousness grace teaches? Where is the correction? Would you wish to have your children or grandchildren stand before God only having been sprinkled as an infant for baptism? If you say no, then why are some content to let other people’s children fall victim to false hope and a lie?

Would I be kind to a person in error? Of course, and I have many times met such a one. Would I leave this person with false hope in their sprinkling? No, God expects me to teach them better “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Should a person repent of error, God grants forgiveness. A sprinkled infant is not forgiven of sin, because an infant is not lost (Rom. 7:9). But to suggest that one can continue to go through life deceived in false hope (right with faith but wrong in ritual) is not kind. (A sprinkled infant does not have faith, by the way.)

A second qualifier in my mind is in the area of maturity. We are all growing. Not all men have knowledge as they ought. James 3:1 suggests that the mature teacher will be judged more strictly than others. Hebrews 5:11-14 says some “have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”

I do believe in patience with people, giving them time to grow and learn. Peter notes that we should regard the patience of the Lord as salvation (2 Pet. 3:15).

Patience, however, is granted so that people will come to repentance and not perish (3:9). Some who were untaught and unstable were distorting the Scriptures “to their own destruction” (3:16). Peter said, “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (3:17-18).

There comes a point when God’s patience has an ending; and there comes a point when we must discipline the person caught up in error. If God’s patience has no ending, then Peter’s admonition for them to be on their guard so that they would not be carried away with error is absurd.
Should we be patient with each other? Yes. How long? Till a person hardens his heart and stubbornly refuses to come to the truth. Paul said that we should “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned” (Tit. 3:10-11).

I am sure there is more to be said.
phil

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78 Comments on “Proposition One Response from Phil”

  1. Alan Scott Says:

    Thanks, Phil, for your post.

    I think where I am concerned with the different points of view between the more traditional and less traditinal Churches of Christ is just what is tru doctrinal error and what is perceived doctrinal error by one point of view of another.

    It is my belief that this is where we have to apply Romans 14. You may think a practice or doctrine you hold is OK, but I may believe your are in grevious error. Without a clear “Thus Sayeth the Lord” we are stuck. But we will not be stuck for long as long as we live the commands of Romans 14 & 15.

    I think it is prety clear that most of the disagreememnts in the Churches of Christ (and many in the entire Christian world – I did not say all, just many) are not true doctrinal errors, but instead are perceived doctrinal errors. I come to this conclusion because there is not a clear “Thus Sayeth the Lord” for nearly all of our disagreements. Instead, the disagreememt begins with, “Ths is what this scripture means…”. That is a clear sign that it is the interpretation that is driving the doctrine and not the clear teahcing of God’s Holy Word.

    I am glad you are particilating, and pray you can understand through these discussions why many faithful, consevative, and “sound” Christians do not agree with all that the traditional Churches of Christ claim is “doctrine.”

    God bless,
    Alan Scott
    Sugar Land, TX

  2. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Phil,

    I have just read your article and was surprised by your use of Gal.1:6-9 & 5:4. Many who are reading this blog will not accept that use of scripture.

    Paul clearly referred to those Jews who insisted the Gentiles be circumcised and keep Kosher rules in addition to trusting in Jesus. THAT was a different gospel. Those who are severed from Christ are those who would be justified by LAW. Many participating here know what the absence of the def. article means — any law. If anyone relys upon how thouroughly they understand and carry out what the scriptures say, they are the ones who are severed from Christ.

    In 6:14 Paul declares himself far from boasting in anything save the cross. All of us should ask ourselves if we rely upon anything other than Jesus’ life to cover ours.

    In the next paragraph you refer to 2 Th.2, but fail to accurately relay what Paul wrote. He refered to those who DID NOT RECEIVE a love of the truth. There
    is something to consider from those words, but not here.

    Two para. later you quote Mt.15:13-14 and say that refers to doctrines. It does not refer to doctrines but people. Consider Isa. 61:1-3, and Mt.13:24-30.

    About eight para. later you wrote, “James 3:1 suggests
    that the mature teacher will be judged more strictly than others.” There is nothing in the text about
    “mature”. It says that teachers will be judged with
    (gk.)GREATER judgement. I take that to mean by a higher standard, since KNOWLEDGE is something that Jesus specifies as a basis for being beaten with many stripes instead of few, Lk.12:47-8.

    I have one question for you, with only the words of scripture being adequate to answer: Do we choose God, or did God choose us?

  3. Alan Says:

    Phil,

    First let me say thank you again for participating in this forum.

    A lot of what you wrote in this article makes sense to me. It all depends on the application. On the topic of mistaken beliefs, you used the example of sprinkling versus immersion. Would you say the same thing about every disagreement, including those not directly associated with conversion? For example, how about term limits for elders? How about requiring an elder stepping down if his wife passes away? Or singing hymns with a piano apart from the worship service (in a private home)? etc…

    In other words, on each of those topics and others like them, is a person eternally condemned if he does not come to a correct understanding and practice of the doctrine before he dies? If not, why not?

    Thanks again for your participation in this forum.

  4. Bob Brandon Says:

    Or the follow the reliable rule of hermeneutics, we can’t take the text to mean something that the original writers and readers would never have understood.

    It’s the fundamental (no pun intended) problem with comparing doctrines: if Paul did not intend to write to the Ephesians or the Colossians on instrumental music in the worship services then and there, it’s a misuse of the text to insist that the text can be applied to day to justify a stance on that one way or the other. It’s is, from the text for us, a matter indifferent.

    Determining what are – and what are not – those doctrines that the failure to hold – or to relinquish – comes down to the humble resolve to let the divine text speak for itself. Ultimately, our doctrines are what we say the Bible says, and the history of the Church is full of people who have taken apostolic teaching addressed to a specific time, place, and situation and appropriated it to times, places, and situations not contemplated by the inspired writers and condemned those who would object to the misuse.

  5. Terrell Lee Says:

    Warnings are appropriate and should be extended/received graciously. What justifies a warning becoming a fellowship issue that draws a line in the proverbial sand? Should we be at least as patient with one another as God is? Is every text so simple that all of us should be able to come to the same conclusion?

    Some of us lean more toward interpreting Scripture as a revelation of a heart-broken God who graciously pursues his creation, while others of us interpret it more as a law intended to be kept. Does it have to be either/or? Might one of these approaches be embedded in the other, one serving as an umbrella under which the other falls?

  6. philsanders Says:

    Terrell,
    It is so good to hear from you, Terrell. I pray God’s richest blessing on you, as I remember good days (and not so good when your library burned) back in Mississippi.

    I agree with you that we do not have to make a choice between interpreting Scripture either as a message from a loving and heart-broken God or a book of laws. Scripture contains both messages of love and assurance and messages with imperatives and instructions. It is naive to over-simplify the Scripture as one or the other.

    Love and obedience are not mutually exclusive. John 14:15, 21, and 23 show that. Keeping commandments is a means of love. When we understand that is the God-defining character of our faith, then we also realize that one can be obedient to a law without being a legalist.

    brotherly,
    Phil

  7. philsanders Says:

    Alan,
    There are many things that are matters of judgment as to when and how things should be done. I do not offer myself as the judge but rather point to God as the judge.

    Some things are right/wrong, while others are wise/foolish. Something may be lawful but not expedient to one’s faith and relationship with God (1 Cor. 6:12; 10:23). I also understand that what is wise on one occasion is foolish on another. What is helpful in one place creates disturbance in another (such things as powerpoint and communion cups fits into this category).

    I do believe elders are given a place of leadership in congregations to make many decisions that are in areas of expediency. They do have a right to lead the congregation in what is wisest for them.

    None of us will likely answer all the questions correctly before we die, but this should not excuse us from doing all we can to do what is right and what is wise. The old adage that we cannot know everything should not be used to suggest that we cannot know anything or that we have no responsibility to take the right, wise, and safe course.

    phil

  8. philsanders Says:

    Wayne,
    I am surprised at your assessment of Galatians 1 and 5. Paul wasn’t writing unconverted Jews; he was writing Jewish Christians who were assembling in the churches and causing the problems.

    The very problem we are discussing has to do with perverting the gospel to turn it into something else than what God meant it to be. It is this act of perverting, twisting, or distorting that we condemn, because distorting any doctrine of God is sinful. It is the act of twisting God’s Word that Peter condemns (2 Peter 3:16-18). One form of that is adding the Law to the Gospel. Another form is twisting the nature of Jesus and going beyond the text in 2 John 9. The Pharisees invalidated God’s Word by adding their human traditions (Mt. 15; Mk. 7). Distorting the teaching is Satan’s work, and it is disgraceful (2 Cor. 4:2).

    Now why would Paul bother with this were it not affecting the church. Galatians 5:4 makes it clear they had severed themselves from Christ by their teaching. False doctrine led to their severance from Christ.

    Matthew 15:13-14 is a statement about the people who were teaching things mentioned earlier in the chapter (vs. 1-9). The blind were planting their human traditions–things God will uproot.

    As to your last question,the answer is BOTH.

    kindly,
    Phil

  9. Alan Says:

    Phil,

    Thank you for an excellent, reasonable response. I accept everything you said in that comment. That leads me to one question: Given that none of us will come to perfect understanding of every doctrine before we die, what should be our posture toward others who differ from us on some specific doctrine?

    There are some matters that the scriptures tell us must break fellowship (1 Cor 5 for example). And there are some other matters on which we should accomodate differences (Rom 14 for example). Finally, there are a plethora of issues for which we don’t have explicit, specific instruction on whether to break fellowship or not. The real questions are:

    1) Which issues fall into which categories? and
    2) How should we handle issues in the third category?

  10. Weldon Says:

    I could be wrong, but isn’t the thrust of the Galatian heresy that binding additional requirements on our converts separates one from Christ? Meaning that the person who teaches: (to play off of our 5 point construct) “hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and _______” is placing his salvation in jeopardy. I mean, the Judizers mentioned in the Galatian letter were essentially saying:

    “You’re not really a Christian unless you hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and (if you haven’t already done so) your going to need to be circumcised too.”

    I could be profoundly naïve, but I just do not see a difference between the above premise and on that runs like this:

    “You’re not really a Christian unless you hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and refuse to use instrumental music in the assembly.”

  11. Alan Scott Says:

    Weldon,

    I think you understand the Galatian heresy perfectly. Other additions we see today seem to be simply a different form of gnosticism: “hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and have a correct knowledge on_______”

    The Church fought this battle once, and it seems we are still at it.

    God bless,
    Alan Scott
    Sugar Land, TX

  12. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Phil,
    I appreciate your specific reply.

    I must acknowlege that I was ambivalent
    in my use of the word “Jews”. I did not mean those who refused to receive Jesus as Messiah, but those who did so, but insisted upon adding a burden to Gentile believers. It was those Jews I referred to. Paul goes on to call them “false brethren” in 2:4. However the point I made is not changed. The different gospel
    that Paul condemned was that of adding to Christ crucified(3:1). Cf.2:21.

    You wrote,”False doctrine led to their severance from Christ.” But Gal.5:4 is clear:”…you who would be justified by law;” It was not holding to some specific teaching, but thinking they were
    declared righteous by their keeping of law. Most readers here understand that.

    RE Mt.15:13-14: vss.10-12 helps. The disciples were concerned because the Pharisees had been scandalized by what Jesus had just taught. Those “giants”
    that loved to be looked up, had been tripped up. He said every “planting” not planted by his Father will be rooted up. They will be removed, just like weeds from a field. The idea that he was speaking of various teachings is not in the text.

    I am particularly thankful that you acknowledged my question at the end.
    The scriptures do not answer “both”,
    but I will address that in a reply to you tomorrow afternoon.

    The answer to the qr. is not for our mental satisfaction, but to lead us deeper into the humility of our Savior. The pride of our hearts(Obad.3) deceives us so often, and leads us to speak in such ways, that a suffering Savior is contradicted in our faces and voices.

    I could provide the scriptures now, but the answer deserves to be phrased as clearly as possible. If the Lord is willing, I will reply to the qr. I raised by 3pm Paciffic time tomorrow.

    May the joy of the Lord be our strength.


  13. Phil, You and I have disagreed on many issues on both your blog and mine. I am sure we shall continue to do so. I want to commend you for your efforts to answer all questions posed to you. Even as it has been termed elsewhere, “the passerbys”. Brother Phil thanks for your efforts and God bless your ministry.

  14. philsanders Says:

    Dear Weldon,

    I have never liked the five point construct, though I agree the five things are necessary to salvation. For many years I have included the concept of love for Christ in every invitation or explanation I have made in dealing with becoming a Christian.

    The Galatian Judaizers perverted the gospel by adding circumcision (and other things) to the list of what it takes to be a Christian. They distorted the one gospel and developed their own “alternative,” which was sinful and caused them to be severed from Christ. They were apostate Christians.

    The difference between the two is in what it takes to become a Christian and what it takes to maintain a relationship. The two are not the same. I believe a person is a Christian when they obey the gospel. Whether they use IM or not does not determine whether they BECAME a Christian. It does affect their relationship after the fact, because they gone beyond the teaching of God on worship to do their own thing. They are brethren, but they are brethren in error.

    phil

  15. Ric Says:

    First thanks to all the hosts for the attempt at an honest and open discussion.

    Phil writes, “My proposition is: The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation.” and “Some things are right/wrong, while others are wise/foolish.”

    Who or what determines what constitutes a doctrine that if taught in error has the capacity to damn one’s soul, especially a teacher’s, if not corrected, and what constitutes an issue of “right/wrong”, and what is a matter of expedient choice, a “wise/foolish” decision? Is there a list or any “test” or set of factors that can be used to distinguish the two?

    It seems to me that unless we can agree on an answer that question, we are going to keep going in an endless circle. Everyone agrees that at some point doctrinal error will damn, and that God, while patient in his judgment, will eventually lose his patience. But no one seems to want to put forth some principles by which we can all operate in unity of fellowship and understanding as one church.

    For centuries, even from just a few years after Christ’s resurrection, members and teachers of the church have disagreed over what is correct doctrine. It seems that the CofC, of which I am a member from very conservative Northwest Alabama, has historically taken the position that no one got it right until the Restoration movement in the late 1700s. Are we really that arrogant? If not, then there has to be either some core doctrine about which we cannot err, and other doctrinal issues for which God’s grace is sufficient if we don’t get it right. But as a loosely connected fellowship of congregations, we have absolutely no consistency in how we distinguish between them. As a result, every congregation, or even the ministers, elders and deacons within the same congregation, all come to different decisions on the issue, disfellowship each other, and throw the mud around the public arena giving a black eye to Christ’s body.

    How do we reconcile the positions? or Can they be reconciled? As I asked earlier, is there a list, a test, or set of factors, we can all agree to apply that will allow us to live in unity and extend the same grace God extends to our brothers and sisters in Christ?

  16. Weldon Says:

    Phil,

    Thanks for your response. I think that your comments nicely re-expresses one of the major differences between the “conservative” perspective and the “progressive” perspective:

    The difference between the two is in what it takes to become a Christian and what it takes to maintain a relationship. The two are not the same.

    It would seem to me that if a Christian maintains his penitence (i.e. he has not kept sinning deliberately as in Hebrews 10:26-27), and maintains his faith (i.e. he has not given up on Jesus as in 1 John 4:2-3)then he is maintaining his relationship with God.

    Faith and penitence (repentance) are required from the beginning, and are all that are required thereafter. Now, of course, the “conservative” would say that IM (by the way this – as in my previous post – is just an example)goes “beyond the teaching of God on worship” and is thus its use inconsistent with penitence.

    But to that I would ask, what of a faithful, penitent Christian who honestly comes to a different conclusion on IM? (Or what ever difficult issue.)

    Thanks again Phil.

    Weldon Cupp

  17. Royce Says:

    One huge mistake we humans make, even redeemed humans, is that we assign limited, human, characteristics to God. Do you not think God knew before the foundation of the world what Royce Ogle would be doing today? Is God sitting on the edge of his seat to see if we will perform well enough to stay in His family? If one of those God has reconciled to himself misses the mark of understanding and applying Bible doctrine will God go back on His promises and make Jesus a liar?

    If anyone can get to heaven based on what is being said by some men here then boasting is not eliminated is it? One will be able to say from heaven, “I did not allow the instrument in worship, I spoke out against the Baptists, I didn’t allow praise teams, raising hands, and on and on..,and I am in heaven and those who didn’t agree with me are in hell”

    Or, every person in eternity with Christ can only say, “I am here because of the perfect obedience of Jesus on my behalf and because he paid the penalty of ALL of my sins in full, and because He lives I live. I can claim nothing of my own merit, I can only claim him and his shed blood.

    You can’t have it both ways guys. Either Christ is enough or He isn’t.

    Royce

  18. Weldon Says:

    Amen Royce.

    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
    2 Corinthians 12:9

  19. Terrell Lee Says:

    Phil,

    Mississippi–yes, we had some good days then. I remember one summer that some of us MS preachers enrolled in a 3-week short course at HUGSR and were privileged to share the round-trip ride together. I don’t think my body has recovered from that yet.

    My richest blessings are with you as you continue this discussion. There really is a need for it. Above all, may we be intentional in the way we seek to honor our God through our faithfulness and usefulness in his kingdom, especially as it relates to the topic of graceconversation.com.

    Also, best wishes in your ministry’s change of venue. May many people come to the Lord through your work.

  20. Dusty Chris Says:

    How many of you have experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit? I am a ‘womb to the tomb’ CofC giy myself but my experience is very different that the discussion here.

    I have seen people get healed (broken knees, cancer, macular degeneration) as a result of prayer and the work of the Spirit. I have seen the gift of knowledge and wisdom being exercised with amazing results in lives changed and God’ power being revealed. After two hours of praise and worship, I have have seen CofC guys speak in tongues (which scared them and me because it was really unexpected). I am pumped about the presence of God and excited about what he is doing in the present age. No apostolic age for me because I have seen it with my own eyes and it changed me.

    I am excited that people are talking about grace and the Hly Spirit. I hope it casues people to change, not just be an intellectual exercise.

  21. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Phil,

    I am thankful that you acknowledged the question I had raised: “Do we choose God, or did God choose us?”

    The answer provided by the scriptures smites pride in our hearts. Jeremiah wrote the heart is deceitful above all things, 17:9, and our own hearts confirm that. Thru Isaiah the Lord offered one proof that He alone is God: He alone fortells the future,46:9-10. The scripture is clear, “The Lord knows them that are his:…”, 2 Tim.2:19. On That Day, Jesus will say to some, “I never knew you:…”

    Jesus spoke of those who are God’s elect, his chosen. “And except the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom he chose, he shortened the days.”- Mk.13:20 “And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry unto him day and night,…”-Lk.18:7 There are other occasions when Jesus spoke of God’s elect. Paul referred to the elect at least five times, Peter and John are also aware of God’s elect. God’s elect cannot be unknown to those who read the NT.

    The question I raised focuses on US choosing God, or God choosing us. Before quoting the scriptures, can we see the two directions that different answers will lead us?
    The answer provided by scripture leads us deeper into the perfect humility of Jesus, who emptied himself, to bear the shame of our sins upon the cross. The other answer leads us toward being puffed up by our off-and-on “dilligence” in searching the scriptures. (“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”-1 Cor.8:1b) So the answer to this question is not for some doctrinaire satisfaction, but for the humbling and transforming of our deceitful hearts.

    The following five scriptures provide an answer. Others could be added, but these are sufficient. David needed only one stone.
    “How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near, …” Psalm 65:4a NASV
    “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation thru sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.” – 2Thes.2:13 NASV
    “In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among His creatures.” -James 1:18 NASV
    “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit,…”-John 15:16 NASV
    “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
    – Jer.1:4-5 NASV

    To suggest the answer to the question is “both”, as you suggested earlier, seems to overlook Paul’s words, “but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ(by grace have been saved),- Eph.2:4-5 NASV It is clear that the dead do not CHOOSE to rise. They are called to life again, by the same God who spoke them into existence. It is the deceitfulness of our hearts that causes us to think we choose God.

    Finally, understanding that God chose us gives us ASSURANCE that He will complete in us, what He has begun. “Being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”-Phil.1:6 This is a true comfort for us, because at times our hearts condemn us, 1 John 3:19-20. John wrote those words 50-60 YEARS AFTER Jesus died and rose again. Yet he still experienced moments when his heart condemned him. We began by noting that the heart is deceitful above all things. What influence would cause a man like John to recognize his remaining sinfulness (1Jn.1:8-9) so many years later? The only answer for those familiar with the NT is the indwelling Spirit of Christ and God. To Him be the glory.

  22. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Dusty,

    Thank you so much for sharing the truth you have witnessed about the Lord’s power being exercised today. All of us sharing here at this blog need to know the grace of God being
    freely given down to our day.

    When the Lord exercises his power people are changed for the better and they know it. It
    is the sin of PRIDE that is shattered by a
    demonstration of the Lord’s power.

    What some in cofC do not know is the beginning
    of the RM included powerful expressions of people being convicted of sin, like we read of in 1 Cor.14:24-5. This occured on a large scale
    at Cane Ridge,KY in August 1801 at a communion
    meeting led by Barton Stone.

    Thank you so much for sharing what you have seen and heard.

  23. Ben Overby Says:

    Phil noted: I believe a person is a Christian when they obey the gospel. Whether they use IM or not does not determine whether they BECAME a Christian. It does affect their relationship after the fact, because they gone beyond the teaching of God on worship to do their own thing. They are brethren, but they are brethren in error.

    The Jews, of course, believed in salvation by grace. God chose them. He saved them. The burning question of Jesus’ day had to do with how a person was justified. When the Lord of Malachi 3 returned, who could endure his coming and who could stand at his coming? No small number of Jews believed that salvation was the result of grace and justification was the result of keeping the law. Salvation was God’s work, justification was man’s work.

    They were wrestling with the question of Who’s justified? And that’s the same question we’re struggling with today. Paul’s argument as presented to the Galatians is critical. Paul rebukes the idea that we’re saved by grace but justified by keeping rules. He asks, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
    He insists, In Christ neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

    The problem with the mainstream message of churches of Christ throughout most of the last century is that it mirrors the Galatian failure. Who is justified? Look at the material, the sermons, the articles, the books. The answer points to externals–those who wear the right name, worship according the 5 categories, submit to 5 step salvation process, have right form of congregational leadership, etc.

    It is significant that every bit of that can be done with the flesh, that is, we can do it on our own by simply constructing and following a set of written rules. In the good ole days, 20, 30, 40 years ago, it was easy to be considered justified. Only those in the churches of Christ were going to heaven, and we knew who they were based on how well they lined up with the rules. Having begun by the Spirit we were being justified by the flesh. And some still think that way.

    Does the gospel, preached by those submerged in church of Christ doctrine, naturally produce disciples of Jesus Christ? Are people in the churches of Christ known for their burning faith and radically transformed lives? Seriously. If the churches of Christ are known for their fundamentalism leading to a superiority complex (only ones going to heaven–shouted from TV’s each Sunday morning to this very day), and a form of justification determined by a few external markers (against IM and for baptism), then isn’t something clearly wrong with the message?

    Obedience matters. Jesus commanded us to do what he says do. But it’s of faith. He invites love and faith (no wonder Paul highlighted those attributes), and says pick up your cross and follow me. He wants the inside transformed so that our lives reflect that of a new human who no longer relies on his own power in the flesh, but relies on energy from God in the Spirit.

    Has the gospel as typically presented by the churches of Christ created Spirit-dependent, faith reliant, love-filled people known for their inner change and outer manifestations of love, or has it produced people who are counted justified based on a handful of externals, a people capable of managing their religion with little more than their own flesh, even often denying the neccesity of a living, vibrant Spirit dwelling in them?

    The proof is in the pudding.

    In the quote above you said that They are brethren, but brethren in error. That’s the equivalent of saying they’re saved by grace but because of their practice regarding the instrument they are not justified. That, Phil, is the sort of thing Paul had in mind when he rebuked the Galatian church, isn’t it?

    Is there such a thing as a brother who isnt’ in error on something morally or doctrinally at any given moment in time? Because we are works in process, we need to unite around King Jesus and his instruction. Faith in Him is the key to our togetherness. When we begin to trust in the works of the flesh (justification based on what my puny flesh can accomplish on its own with syllogisms and external rule keeping) we fall from grace.

    Thoughts?

  24. Royce Says:

    Ben,

    I couldn’t agree more. “Most” church of Christ preachers either don’t understand, or don’t believe Romans 5:1 and the previous material it references.

    “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

    “Have been justified” is past tense. God declares a sinner “just”, or “righteous” based only upon the sacrifice of Jesus and His perfect obedience, not ours.

    Royce

  25. Royce Says:

    Phil,

    Can you cite one Bible reference where “obey the gospel” refers to baptism? To “obey the gospel” is to believe it.

    I have posted this post twice (http://gracedigest.com/2007/04/02/obey-the-gospel/)on my blog and am still waiting for anyone to show me in the Bible that to obey the gospel is to be baptised in water. Only after a sinner believes the gospel story is he or she ready to be baptised. It is folly to assume a person is a Christian because he has been baptised. Many people will be in hell because they depended on what they had done rather that trusting what Christ has done.

    Royce

  26. Ben Overby Says:

    Royce,

    To add to your comments, I do think we must also caution against all extremes for what its worth. There are those who will make the grace of God a license to continue to live in the flesh. To live in the flesh is to live a condemned life whether it be the result of legalism or antinomianism. One is as lethal as the other. What I’m saying is that imputation of righteousness, if it means God doesn’t see my life but see Jesus instead, fails to see the whole picture and represents a twist on scripture.

    Our life matters because because of the gospel of Jesus. By faith in Him we’re changed so that rising from our condemned state we can, according to Paul, fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. Not by the power of our flesh, but by the power of the Spirit in us. It’s our trust in God that opens the resources of heaven so that we can live lives that glorify God. Those who press the externals, diminish faith to the point that the flesh dominates. Yet those who accept the double-imputation concept often diminish the need for works to the point that flesh dominates while grace simply pardons.

    Our guilt is imputed to Jesus. He bore our shame. But His righetousness isn’t infused in us so that our works then count for nothing. If that were true then Paul would be totally confused in noting that each of us has to account for our lives, receiving what is due for what we’ve done in the body. James can insist that we’re justified not by faith alone, but by works. There’s a sense in which we’ve been justified and will be justified (past and future as pictured in baptism, for instance). Future justification will be declared based on works which are the natural result of being saved by the grace of God. It’s like Solomon saying chop the kid in two in order to generate a work which will manifest the heart. The life we’re living indicates our heart, which is why Jesus spent His energy teaching the need for inner transformation rather than external religion. What’s the point of arranging the furniture on the Titanic if the gaping hole under the surface is ignored? But why would we need to repair the hole, if another ship was being substituted in our place. Our brokenness is imputed to Jesus, praise God! But we don’t continue to span the ocean with a great big whole in our hearts. By the Spirit it is our responsibility (as stewards over ourselves) to put to death the deeds of the body.

    The balance that results from the gospel is one that puts Jesus front and center and keeps Him front and center in order that we honor Him with love and faith, enjoying the indwelling of the Spirit so that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the grave can give life to our mortal bodies . . . now! The body is dead because of sin but the spirit is life because of righteousnes.

    We can’t say enough about both faith in Jesus and obedience. When we teeter too far toward one against the other we promote legalism on one side and antinomianism on the other. And the two seem to push each other to further extremes. Jesus discussed both in the same breath, and his own brother was proud to say Show your faith without your works and I’ll show you my faith by my works. How many of us are comfortable saying the same thing without feeling as if we have to make appologies to those whose bodies look very much condemned with the exception of a mouth alive with much talk about faith?

    ben

  27. Ed Boggess Says:

    It appears as if you are seeking to separate baptism from faith. Of course, I could be misunderstanding your intention. But, for salvation purposes faith and baptism are inseparable.
    You ask for a passage “where ‘obey the gospel’ refers to baptism”. I doubt it will satisfy your challenge, but I offer Romans 6:1-6. In the process of explaining “justified by faith”, 5:1; Paul speaks of their having “obeyed that form of doctrine”, 6:17f; which was specifically the imaging of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus thru baptism, 6:1-6.
    “Obey the gospel” – the gospel facts are the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Included in the faith of 10:14 is the “obey the gospel” of v 16, else it be faith alone, which is dead. So then, to “obey the gospel” necessarily includes baptism, that form of doctrine that reproduces the gospel facts.

  28. eddy Says:

    Is baptism really a matter of depending on what we have done? Is it not rather the very repudiation of what we have done and instead is trusting what Christ has done–hence, “baptized into Christ”?

  29. philsanders Says:

    Wayne,
    I am well aware that God is active is seeking out and in choosing people. The covenant of Christ is a two-party covenant that has conditions for those who would enter it. No one earns salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), but people do meet the conditions of an obedient faith in order to enter that covenant (Rom. 1:5; Heb. 5:8-9). I especially bring to your attention the language of Romans 6:16-18:

    Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

    We do indeed present ourselves to God. This is a choice on our part.

    2 Peter 1:10-11 in the NASB has a wonderful understanding of how God chooses us and we choose him:

    Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

    Phil

  30. Royce Says:

    Ben, You and I have had this conversation before and I think finally agreed to disagree on the finer points of the doctrine of justification. Your view is for sure much more popular than mine and fits very nicely with the tradionial view of “God’s part/man’s part” in salvation. My unpopular view is that Jesus did “man’s part” because man couldn’t do it in a way God could approve because it was not perfect.

    I just don’t hear that chorus of voices holding out that those who are justified based on Jesus worth and work can live like hell and still go to heaven. I don’t bleive that and I doubt many serious Bible students do. Genuine saving faith is ALWAYS obedient. The objection our conservative brothers keep using is that “belief” is alone. I agree, and it is also alone for those who are trusting baptism and good works.

    If we believe what the Bible says about the unsaved, (do we?) they are lost, dead (spiritually), need a new birth, etc. Now the hard part. Which dead man can choose resurrection to life? Which unborn can choose to be born? Which child chooses to be adopted? Which condemned prisoner can free himself by judicial order?

    Salvation is wholly a work of God and is always possible only by the work and worth of Jesus and not our own. So, if I am wrong and marginalized because I try to get people to trust themselves less and Jesus more that is an exclusion I am glad to live with.

    Royce

  31. philsanders Says:

    Ben,

    Grace teaches one to do what is right; it does not excuse self-made religion. Hymenaeus and Alexander obeyed the gospel and BECAME Christians, but were turned over to Satan for their false teaching (1 Tim. 1:18-20). Jezebel and her followers were Christians but fell away by their false beliefs and practices (Rev. 2:20-23). The Judaizing Galatians were saved by grace when they obeyed the gospel but perverted the teaching of the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). You cannot sever what has not been first joined (Gal. 5:4).

    Grace is not some blanket that sanctifies any belief that Christians later embrace. Brethren can err from the truth (James 5:19-20). Teachers who teach false things can come under a stricter judgment (James 3:1).

    The grace of God is abundant but not limitless. There is such a thing as heresy, and those who fall into heresy are self-condemned (Titus 3:10-11). Now you have to deal with the fact that Titus 3 only deals with brothers.

    The fact is: we disfellowship erring brothers (2 Thess. 3:16). They are still brothers, but out of the grace of God.

    We are all erring brothers; that is true (1 John 1:8, 10). We are all dependent on the grace of Christ.

    Dependence on grace, however, does not mean that we have license to handle the Scriptures loosely with unwarranted assumptions and false ideas. We are to give diligence to be unashamed workmen, handling the truth of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15). We are to pay close attention to ourselves and to our TEACHING and thereby ensure salvation both for ourselves and those who hear us (1 Tim. 4:16).

    It is true that we are saved by grace, but that is not the whole truth. We must take the other statements of Scripture about truth and error into account. Some progressives have looked so much at grace they have blinded themselves to truth, and some conservatives have looked so much at truth they have blinded themselves to grace. Such is the reason for our discussion.

    I really don’t like stereotyping. I think “most” preachers do recognize and understand Romans 5:1. But Romans 5:1 like Ephesians 2:8 does not say everything the Scripture says. There is more truth to be learned.

    phil

  32. Bondservant Says:

    People are saved through obeying the gospel the gospel of Jesus Christ the gospel that tells us He bore our sins on the cross and makes us alive again through His resurrection. Faith comes before baptism therefore it is our faith that saves us. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to cover our sins. To seek favor or merit through the law is not real faith, our love for Jesus produces works that will show who we are living for. Faith produces good works therefore we will want to be more like Jesus and love God and love people.

    1 John 2:2 “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

  33. ben Says:

    Royce,

    I certainly don’t think you should be marginalized for esteeming the grace of God and our great King! My caution has to do with the effect of the gospels that are being taught. I agree, we don’t hear people claiming that we can live like hell and go to heaven. But brighter men than I, men like Dallas Willard, have carefully articulated the problem with the gospel of sin management. His memorable illustration of vampire Christians is deeply disturbing and true. There’s a disconnect with many, many, MANY, Christians between the blood of Jesus & redemption, and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. One can become a Christian today without ever taking a step in direction of discipleship. Legalism confuses externalism for discipleship and often the grace-centered confuse devotion for discipleship. My concern is more general than I suppose it sounded; that is, it’s not a caution against you and your message, but a caution that we look at, and take responsibility for the sort of Christians produced by the various gospels proclaimed today (various in the sense that so many are ill-balanced in one way or another).

    ben

  34. Royce Says:

    Ben,

    Thanks for your kind remarks as usual. There is a vast difference between “believers” and “make believers”, between those who are truely born from above and those who are actors. And, this is true for those who preach “cheap grace” and works based salvation.

    Jesus said there would be deceivers, wolves imitating sheep, and tares among the wheat. It there any reason to think that is not true of the “Lord’s church” (coC)?

    Royce

  35. ben Says:

    Phil,

    I don’t think I disagree with a single thing in your response. But what I’ve observed isn’t something of a balanced approach to the question of erring brothers. In the same way some Jews elevated Sabbath keeping, dietary regulations, circumcision, to a primary test of one’s faithfulness to God, many within the churches of Christ have elevated doctrinal purity to a position of absurdity, creating their own hermeneutic in the process in order to manage the thing.

    And, shockingly, we do see something in mainstream coc mentality quite similar to the religion of Jesus’ day. After all the smoke has cleared, we’re left with a handful of externals which act as boundary markers, setting apart the faithful from the unfaithful. The bondary markers have become crystalized and are a part of the churches of Christ social identity (e.g., non-IM).

    As we all know, all doctrine isn’t equal in the way it’s managed by the religious bosses even if it’s all squeezed from the same fruit of CENI. Jay illustrated that in his most recent post. What is grounds for disfellowship today could abruptly change tomorrow. Lipscomb was welcome to have and share his views about the baptists being brothers, but when I said something similar a few years ago, I was noted and banished from more congregations than I’ll ever know. Those with the keys to the kingdom aren’t now, and never will be consistent with the issue of doctrine in general.

    Where they are consistent is wherever and whenever the social identity is threatened. Again, this is identical to the problem of many Pharisees, etc. Though you may not get disfellowshipped for allowing women to translate for the deaf in your assembly, another church of Christ will certainly judge such “sinners” worthy of hell. But across the board, pluraity of leadership, 5 part worship, 5 step plan, (with special emphasis on baptism and instruments), must be according to the verdict of the management or else congregations will be noted and disfellowshipped. Happens all the time.

    Again, the proof is in the pudding. Many won’t raise an eyebrow over the observation of Easter (though others will), but they’ll always react to the social identifiers.

    When a point of doctrine becomes part of a group’s social identity, groupthink rules the day. It’s necessary to self-preservation. Inside the box, people can hardly see it otherwise, which is why they’re should be pitied rather than treated with contempt.

    What grace doesn’t cover is a system that disqualifies people on the basis of an external marker. Paul is very clear on this point. We don’t need Jesus plus a coc understanding of worship. We don’t need Jesus plus a coc interpretation of leadership, women’s role, a particular 5 step plan, etc. We need Jesus. Period. That’s what Paul says. And he could say it because he knew that if we ever “got” Jesus, then we’d begin to look like his disciples. And the fruit of a disciple is never spelled out in the terms articulated by the churches of Christ–that is, not in terms of external boundary markers. Rather, it’s always in terms of an inner transformation (from anger to peace, lust to control, manipulation to meekness, vengence to companionship, the fruit patience, kindness, godliness, etc.

    Is the church of Christ known for a few external markers or the real fruit of the Spirit?

    I think we all know the answer. Again, the proof is right there in the pudding, if we’ll just eat it.

  36. Alan Says:

    Dependence on grace, however, does not mean that we have license to handle the Scriptures loosely with unwarranted assumptions and false ideas.

    Phil,

    How sure are you that you do not hold any unwarranted assumptions and false ideas?

    I anticipate that you would admit the possibility that you do hold one or two erroneous positions. But maybe you would plead that you are diligently trying to be correct. Is it your diligence that enables God’s grace to cover your errors?

    Or, despite your diligence, are your errors unforgiven?

  37. philsanders Says:

    Baptism is and always will be what God is doing. Re-read the common passages describing what happens in baptism. You will find that God is the active one and we are passive, receiving the action. When people ignore Biblical baptism by teaching faith only or substituting sprinkling, they are presumptuously interfering with what God is doing. It is presumptuous and dangerous to think that we can do as we please about our teaching and practice of baptism, but God will bless it anyway. How is sprinkling obedience? How is faith alone obedience? They are not! God is short-circuited with a man-made substitute for obedience to the gospel. That is not faith; that is presumption.

    phil

  38. philsanders Says:

    The phrase “obey the gospel” is a Biblical term. It can be found in Romans 10:16; 2 Thess. 1:8; and 1 Peter 4:17.

    Baptism is an act of faith in the working of God (Col. 2:12-13).

    Thanks Ed, for your post.

  39. Bondservant Says:

    The cofC denomination say in order to preach the gospel baptism has to be included. That’s not what Paul did.

    1 Corinthians 1:17 “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.”

    To the cofC denomination for someone to say Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel would be utterly blasphemous.

    Ephesians 2:4-10
    “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 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.”
    Paul teaches we are saved by grace through faith only not of works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not that of youselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

    Faith comes before baptism therefore it is our faith that saves us. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is sufficient to cover our sins. To seek favor or merit through the law is not real faith, to believe trusting Jesus is our Savior that not anything or anyone else can take His place shows true faith. Our love for Jesus produces works that will show who we are living for, faith produces good works therefore we will want to be more like Jesus and love God and love people.

    1 John 2:2 “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

  40. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Phil,
    I appreciate you reply to my post.

    The choosing I thought was clear in my qr.,”Do we choose God, or did God choose us?”, refers to the INITIAL choice that
    ORIGINATES the relationship with God.
    AFTER God has made us alive,THEN we are able to respond to Him as our Father.

    Drawing attention to God’s choice smites the pride that must yet be crucified in us. This ongoing humbling begins to form the image of the Suffering Servant in our hearts, so that our faces and voices are transformed into the likeness of the Son of God.

    This humbling tempers how we share the news of Jesus with others. We cannot speak as pontiffs handing down regs. for others to receive, or be turned away.
    We are all beggars, needing the bread of life. We may point others to Jesus, but we have no authority to require they wash their hands before eating.

    Just last night I learned a wonderful insight into prayer: Young children are best suited to pray for the healing of others because they have not yet learned to think that God no longer acts to heal!
    Except we turn and become as little children…

  41. Alan Says:

    I suppose it goes without saying… but I hope the conservative principles in this conversation recognize that not all of the progressives believe the same things. I for one would not take all of the progressive positions appearing in the comments.

    Conservative and Progressive is a vast oversimplification. The truth is that there is a continuous spectrum of beliefs. I guess that makes it all the more important to have a well-understood set of principles for deciding the boundaries of fellowship.


  42. […] GraceConversation: Exegesis of Phil’s Proof Texts Posted on April 26, 2009 by Jay Guin I’ve posted three posts working through the texts cited by Phil Sanders in “Proposition One Response from Phil.” […]

  43. Ken Sublett Says:

    I believe it was Zwingli who merged the words justification and salvation (regeneration etal).

    Abraham was justified by faith when he obeyed: he wasn’t lost:

    Gen. 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
    Gen. 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
    Gen. 26:5 Because that Abraham
    obeyed my voice,
    and kept my charge,
    my commandments,
    my statutes,
    and my laws.
    Gen. 26:6 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: [obeyed]

    Paul leapfrogs the Law and makes us the children of Abraham (not David)

    Gal. 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
    Gal. 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
    Gal. 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
    Gal. 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

    Acts 10:35 But in every nation
    he that feareth him,
    and worketh righteousness,
    is accepted with him.

    One does not have to be circumcised and keep the law to have the right to REQUEST baptism: Faith is that which gives one the right claim “Baptism now saves us” because it is a REQUEST to God for A good conscience [1 Pet 3:21] which is A holy spirit (our’s says old Walter Scott) (Acts 2:38).

    A righteous person has the RIGHT TO PLEAD before the court of heaven: one might be the greatest legal mind in the world and not have the right to plead their case. One who believes that “he that is believeth AND is baptized SHALL BE saved.” This word in the Greek world included to COMPLY or there was no trust. Believeth not is the Greek apistos which is the OPPOSITE of “believeth” and mean to be in revolt or treacherous.

    No historic scholar (including Zwingli) ever said “baptism does not save” without quickly adding “without faith” That was always to repudiate baptismal regeneration of infants. To Luther Sola Fide meant Sola Scriptura which he said demanded Sola Baptisma. And Calvin agreed when speaking of adults.

    There is no “remission of sins” not connected with baptism and Romans 10 includes the steps if you grasp that calling on the name of the Lord to be saved demands baptism (Acts 22:16)

  44. Bondservant Says:

    Repentance brings remission of sins and I encourage anyone who calls on the name of the Lord to be baptized.

  45. churchesofchrist Says:

    Peter tied them together in Acts 2:38 making each the same requirement of expressed faith.

  46. churchesofchrist Says:

    Baptism is not a work of man, but God at work Col. 2:11-12

    Was Johns baptism of men – is our baptism of men?

    Baptism is faith expressed…just as repenting.

  47. Bondservant Says:

    Faith comes before baptism thus it is our faith/trust that Jesus is our Savior our Messiah that saves us, it is Jesus’ Redeeming blood that removes our sins. John the Baptist proclaimed that he baptized with water but that Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Spirit, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” I believe we are buried with Him and raised up again with the baptism of the Holy Spirit Jesus baptizes us with. I believe Jesus Himself is our Redeemer. 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Col. 2:12 I believe is speaking about the baptism with the Holy Spirit not water baptism. The one baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential.

  48. Ken Sublett Says:

    When we obey that FORM of doctrine the word is TUPOS which means “a pattern capable of being imiated.” It also means “instead of.” How better to dispense grace than letting someone else do the work INSTEAD OF our dying on the cross?

    If you look at the word “spirit” (No upper case Spirit) you will discover that when God pours it out on people it is not good but a sign of power OF the apostles.

    4151.pneuma, pnyoo´-mah; from 4154;
    (literally) a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze;
    by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul,
    (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc.,
    or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit: — ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind.

    Luke 3:7 He said therefore to the multitudes that went out to be baptized of him,
    Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

    Nah. 1:6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him.

    Luke 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

    Luke 3:9 And even now the axe also lieth at the root of the trees:
    every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
    and cast into the fire.

    AND

    Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water;
    but there cometh he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose:
    he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire: [holy, violent wind?]

    The SPIRIT or wind BLOWS AWAY the chaff because it is worthless.

    Luke 3:17 whose fan is in his hand, thoroughly to cleanse his threshing-floor,
    and to gather the wheat into his garne; [only those who were saved at baptism were added to the church]
    but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire.

    IN THE UPPER ROOM THERE WAS WIND AND TONGUES OF FIRE
    When these unlearned men preached in non-sacred langugages and the very message was a repudiation of the Jewish nation and a million Jews were sifted as chaff and probably most were burned up at Topheth (from Tambourine or Tabret)
    The GRAIN was left because they accepted the waters of life at baptism (always in water unless used figuratively)

    Even in the case of Cornelius it had nothing to do with his salvation but was a judgmental sign against the doubting Jews who would have “refused” water. Peter had been sent to Cornelius the Gentile to “tell him how to be saved.” When God’s BREATH caused Cornelius to articulate WORDS, Peter know that the doubting Jews were disabled:

    Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
    Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

    There are numerous prophesies to prove that the spirit was to separate the chaff from the grain so that the chaff could be burned up.

    Ken Sublett

  49. Bondservant Says:

    Your arguement that the Holy Spirit is not salvational is not in the Bible.

    I believe the baptism with the Holy Spirit is essential. I believe the Holy Spirit is the seal of our salvation. I believe the Holy Spirit is within us. If you want to try to say the Holy Spirit is no longer given, I simply do not agree with you.

  50. Ken Sublett Says:

    The Holy Spirit IS Salvational: In John of the “another Comforter” meaning different or fuller in 14:18 says “I” will come to you.

    And:

    1John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
    1John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    In the so-called “baptismal formula” the NAME (singular) of Father, Son and Spirit is Jesus the Christ: In Zecharian the BRANCH is named Jehovah-saves.

    There is no classical trinitarian who ever defined GOD (singular) as three persons in our sense of PEOPLE: the word is personae.

    Then, Jesus made it beyond dispute:

    John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

    Those restorers who became The Church of Christ would have understood John Calvin and vocally repudiated the “holy trinity of three people” which was first taught by H.Leo boles in 1938 and published in 1942. If you are churchy of Christ LU, GA you may be a polytheist. Alexander Campbell was hard on Calvin for using the word “person” but in fact someone convinced Calvin without getting burned to use THREE ASPECTS.

    Paul in 1 Cor 2 draws the analogy:

    The Holy Spirit
    Is to God
    what our spirit
    Is to us

    Then he said “we have the MIND of Christ.” The Spirit OF Christ does not make Him twins any more than out spirit makes us twins although our spirit and OUT flesh conflict.

    Jesus said that when we keep His commandments the Father and Son dwell in US in the same sense that WE dwell in Father and Son which are NOT names of people.

  51. Ken Sublett Says:

    “You’re not really a Christian unless you hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and refuse to use instrumental music in the assembly.”

    Based on the discord–the first time in 373 when singing as an ACT was imposed and split the east from the west–I would put it this way which reflects the facts:

    “You’re not really a Christian unless you hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized and refuse to IMPOSE instrumental music in the assembly KNOWING THAT YOU WILL SOW DISCORD AND STEAL THE CHURCH HOUSE OF WIDOWS.”

    Jesus identified the Scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites by pointing to Isaiah and ezekiel where as the SPIRIT OF CHRIST He singled out rhetoricians, singers and instrument players. Now, I know the law of silence: He did NOT say thou shalt not be a hypocrite.” 🙂

  52. Bondservant Says:

    Some cofC denominations declare music in worship is a sin. I don’t believe God ever declared that in the Bible.

    Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells this parable about a son who was once lost but returns to his father and is found. And what did Jesus say the brother heard, Jesus said the brother “heard music and dancing” when the father was glad his son had returned home.

    Luke 15:25, “And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.”

    1 Chronicles 16:7-36, David used the word sing a couple of times but he never mentions music here David being someone who we all know sang praises to God with music. So did David mean for them to sing “only” without music, or is that something one would assume in their own opinion.

    1Chronicles 16:8-9, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!”

    Revelation 14:1-5, There are the sounds of harpists playing their harps as they sang a new song. I don’t believe God would allow something sinful in heaven.

    Revelation 14:2-3 “And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne.”

    The coC denomination have added commands God never gave.

    Where does the Bible say “be silent where the Bible is silent”, please provide BCV.

    Where does God say “music in worship is a sin”, please provide BCV.

    Is the Bible silent on the following issues? song leaders, song books, choirs, paid preachers, shoes worn on holy ground, sitting and standing in unison during a service while worshiping singing a song, indoor baptisms, singing songs written by members of different denominations, youth ministers, church secretaries, fellowship halls, and church buildings?

    Are we to pray with our hands lifted up, are we to pray with our hands folded, are we to pray with our eyes shut, are we to pray with our eyes open?

  53. Alan Says:

    Discussion of which comes first (baptism or forgiveness) are irrelevant IMO. God sees the future. Consider the case of Abraham. God made exquisite promises to Abraham in Genesis 12, but did not say why he selected Abraham to receive those promises. He extended and elaborated upon those promises in Genesis 13, 15, 17, and 18, but still did not tell him why Abraham was receiving such rich promises. Then in chapter 22, after Abraham offered Isaac, the angel of the Lord reveals the reason for the promise:

    Gen 22:15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time
    Gen 22:16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son,
    Gen 22:17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,
    Gen 22:18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

    God made the promise to Abraham more than 25 years earlier. But he didn’t reveal the reason for the promise until after Abraham had offered Isaac. God foreknew what Abraham would do in the future, and was moved by that future act of faith to make the promises.

    So there is at least precedent for receiving the promise prior to the obedience. We are children of Abraham, and are credited righteousness in a similar way.

    Rom 4:20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,
    Rom 4:21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
    Rom 4:22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
    Rom 4:23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone,
    Rom 4:24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
    Rom 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

    Similarly, if one never obeys the commands out of faith, God foreknows that. The matter of sequence seems so important to us, but to God it may be of no relevance at all.

  54. Ken Sublett Says:

    One preacher who sowed discord with a 12 year agenda to add instruments notes that in this powerful metaphor of a son who’s come back to the people of God, who’s back in the house of God, Jesus says, “They were having a party and there was a band.” You’d have a hard time, based on what Jesus said, arguing He had a problem with instrumental praise.

    There are only two uses of the word MUSIC in the New Testament: since “melody as tunefulness belongs to the 19th century” we know that their “singing” was rhymic prose just like the word SPEAK Paul commanded and the CANTILLATION practiced by the Jews.

    “Harmony in the Greek means unison” and harmony as in 4 different groups singing 4 different sets of words at 4 different times with 4 different tunes, did not exist until after about the year 1200. That is why the almost universal word God used in the Old Testament is SOUND or NOISE but not music.

    The First instance, I think you will admit, has no connection to the church where Paul’s assembly or gathering is a SYNAGOGUE word defined as a school of the Word which EXCLUDED vocal or instrumental rejoicing as the church in the wilderness. If you want to sing, dance and make a loud screaming noise ONCE IN A LIFETIME no one will object. If you IMPOSE it into a happy congregation then that is THE meaning of sectarianism.

    Luke 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.

    The word music is the Greek:

    Sumphonia or MUSIC which primarily means a concord or unison of sound. Harmonous union of many voices of sound such as speaking. Metaphor of harmony or agreement.

    The dancing

    Choros II.choir, band of dancers and singers, h. Ven.118, Pi.N.5.23, Fr.199; sumphônia kai choroi

    Generally this would be a row of dancers (like teeth) or a circle of dancers with hands joined spinning around. Jesus identified the MEN of that generation as CHILDREN in the marketplace (not the ekklesia) PIPING trying to force others to sing or lament and dance. Jesus would not join in a MARKETPLACE ritual. The AGORA or marketplace in Athens includes “a place for dancing.” However, the ekklesia (like church) was up the hill and was for verbal instruction only: just like the synagogue where “vocal and instrumental rejoicing” was excluded. So, there are two arenas in life and Jesus still pleads “could you not wait with me for one hour?” apparently the answer is no.

    When MUSIC is made with INSTRUMENTS they will always have to be NAMED.

    Daniel 3 defines HOW a BAND might be indicated.

    Daniel 3. [7] Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, [sounding together] and all kinds of music, all the peoples, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. [8] Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and brought accusation against the Jews. [9] They answered Nebuchadnezzar the king, O king, live for ever. [10] You, O king, have made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image; [11] and whoever doesn’t fall down and worships, shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace .

    Organum an implement, instrument, engine of any kind, military, musical instruments Gen 4:21. A machine, instrument, a trick, device, stratagem.

    You will notice that WORSHIP always means to fall down: no one who plays an instrument in the Bible is said to be WORSHIPING. I will tell you about David’s PRAISE word and it isn’t pretty.

    In Genesis 4:21 Jubal HANDLES musical instruments meaning “without authority.”

    The issue is: how few there are who dare to be a Daniel?

    The other instance in the New Testament in Revelation is NOT in church and no one PLAYS an instrument: the SOUNDS like harps etc are ALL sounds which create panic: the warning when you HEAR the instruments is of IMPENDING JUDGMENT so for those still living the other angel commands: “PREACH THE GOSPEL” meaning timne is short.

  55. Bondservant Says:

    Please answer the questions asked.

  56. Bondservant Says:

    Here are the questions again:

    Where does the Bible say “be silent where the Bible is silent”, please provide BCV.

    Where does God say “music in worship is a sin”, please provide BCV.

    Is the Bible silent on the following issues? song leaders, song books, choirs, paid preachers, shoes worn on holy ground, sitting and standing in unison during a service while worshiping singing a song, indoor baptisms, singing songs written by members of different denominations, youth ministers, church secretaries, fellowship halls, and church buildings?

    Are we to pray with our hands lifted up, are we to pray with our hands folded, are we to pray with our eyes shut, are we to pray with our eyes open?

  57. Alan Says:

    Ken,

    Your argument rests on many unsupported assertions about ancient Greek words and their usages. Where is your evidence? A few of your claims which beg the question:

    melody as tunefulness belongs to the 19th century
    we know that their “singing” was rhymic prose
    Harmony in the Greek means unison (where in scripture is “harmony” used to speak of singing or any other musical topic?)
    Paul’s assembly or gathering is a SYNAGOGUE word defined as a school of the Word which EXCLUDED vocal or instrumental rejoicing as the church in the wilderness.
    When MUSIC is made with INSTRUMENTS they will always have to be NAMED. (Really?)

    You astutely point out:

    You will notice that WORSHIP always means to fall down: no one who plays an instrument in the Bible is said to be WORSHIPING.

    The Greek for WORSHIP is only used once in the context of the Christian church — and it refers to an unbeliever’s response to the convicting message. It never is used to describe what Christians do in the assembly, nor as the purpose of that assembly. So where in the world do we get the notion of “five acts of WORSHIP” which are the only permissible activities in the assembly? It’s not in the scripture. In fact, virtually every other occurrence of WORSHIP refers to what some individual does when they encounter God or Jesus outside of any assembly.

    So, if instrumental music is prohibited in WORSHIP, then as long as I am standing up I am free to play the instrument. That is, if you can find a verse prohibiting instruments in WORSHIP.

  58. Alan Says:

    The point I set out to make (and never came around to making at the end…) is this: How would you expect a person of average intelligence and average education to come to the conclusions you have? Even if your unsupported claims were all true, how many extra-biblical sources would a person have to bring in to the scriptures themselves to put that all together? Do you really think the questions that will determine heaven or hell are that complicated?

  59. Ken Sublett Says:

    Alan, people frequently cannot find CHURCH or WORSHIP in the Bible: that is because they look up CHURCH and WORSHIP in the lexicons.

    Paul’s ONLY worship words mean to GIVE HEED to the Word of God: that what you do in his words for gathering or assembly as a SYNAGOGUE word.

    There was no praise service in the synagogue because it was a WORD OF GOD school of the Bible. The Campbells called church “A school of Christ” and worship as “reading and musing the Word of God.

    WE don’t get 5 ACTS of worship: that would be sheer legalism? I get JUST ONE. Be a SCHOOL OF THE WORD where the Lord’s Supper is another TEACHING visual aid and CONFESSION

    There was no law of preaching in the synagogue or ekklesia (both Greek words), no law of SINGING and no LAW of passing the plate.

    Many Gentiles were Old Testament literate and the Jerusalem council had little to add:

    Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city
    them that preach him,
    being read in the synagogues
    every sabbath day.

    In most of Paul’s letters he defines SYNAGOGUE just after he warns about things like “getting fluted down with wine.”

    1Tim. 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
    1Tim. 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to [public] reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

    That was the UNALTERED pattern of the Qahal or synagogue beginning in the wilderness, exampled by Jesus, commanded by Paul in the NEVER MUSICAL passages and what the Church of Christ practiced until a few added SINGING as an ACT in the year 373. That split the east from the west churches.

    If you could hallucinate “singing” (Outlawed as doubrtful disputation Rom 14 and SELF pleassure Rom 15) you would be commanded to sing “that which is written” and the elders as Pastor-Teachers commanded to “teach that which has been taught.”

    I never say anything I cannot prove and you must wonder why all of recorded history agrees EXCEPT among the “doctors of the Law” whom Jesus said “take away the key to knowledge.

  60. Jay Guin Says:

    Ken,

    This site is not dealing with the merits of the arguments for and against instrumental music. The question under consideration is: how can we discern which errors cause someone otherwise a Christian to become an apostate (fall away)? The merits of any particular error are beside the point here. We may one day take up the IM question, but that’s not the topic now. You are welcome to continue to post regarding the merits of the IM argument over at http://www.OneInJesus.info.

  61. Ken Sublett Says:

    Alan: The point I set out to make (and never came around to making at the end…) is this: How would you expect a person of average intelligence and average education to come to the conclusions you have? Even if your unsupported claims were all true, how many extra-biblical sources would a person have to bring in to the scriptures themselves to put that all together? Do you really think the questions that will determine heaven or hell are that complicated?

    The Purpose Driving the church was to “teach that which has been taught.” Doubtful disputations outlaws that which comes out of the human imagination which is usually wrong. The PATTERNISM was defined by the Campbells.

    The word THEOLOGY means that you SPEAK THE WORDS of your “god.” DOGMA is that which oozes out of the human mind and DOGMA includes any kind of AID. Private Interpretation outlaws further expounding.

    The word SPEAK is the operative DIRECT COMMAND for the assembly: no simple simon would sing a song if asked to SPEAK. The word SPEAK in any good lexicon defines SPEAK as the OPPOSITE of poetry or music.

    And MUSIC is defined as the OPPOSITE of SPEAKING. I don’t know how much education it requires to miss that.

    SingING and makING are done in the same PLACE: the human spirit which is the ONLY place God pays any attention (John 4). The woman at the well didn’t have a degree but she knew that “When Messias is come He will tell us all things.” Why is it so hard to LISTEN.

  62. Bondservant Says:

    Again, Please answer the questions using BCV, not your theology of your interpretation.

    Where does the Bible say “be silent where the Bible is silent”, please provide BCV.

    Where does God say “music in worship is a sin”, please provide BCV.

    Is the Bible silent on the following issues? song leaders, song books, choirs, paid preachers, shoes worn on holy ground, sitting and standing in unison during a service while worshiping singing a song, indoor baptisms, singing songs written by members of different denominations, youth ministers, church secretaries, fellowship halls, and church buildings?

    Are we to pray with our hands lifted up, are we to pray with our hands folded, are we to pray with our eyes shut, are we to pray with our eyes open?

  63. Bondservant Says:

    Gotcha Jay. 🙂

  64. Ken Sublett Says:

    Sorry about that: it looked like people were ridiculing the NO INSTRUMENT position and I just responded.

    The message of 2 Thessalonians

    2 Thess. 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
    2Th. 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    The LYING WONDERS are specificially defined:

    The Greek: Teratourg-eô , A. WORK wonders, pseudôsti Sch.Pi.I.7(6).13.

    Pindar Odes: [1] In which of the local glories of the past, divinely blessed Thebe, did you most delight your spirit? Was it when you raised to eminence the one seated beside Demeter of the clashing bronze cymbals, flowing-haired [5] Dionysus? Or when you received, as a snow-shower of gold in the middle of the night, the greatest of the gods[20] then begin the victory [Nike: TRIUMPH OVER] procession with a sweet-singing hymn for Strepsiades; for he is the victor in the pancratium at the Isthmus, both awesome in his strength and handsome to look at; and he treats excellence as no worse a possession than beauty. [23] He is made radiant by the violet-haired Muses, and he has given a share in his flowering garland to his uncle and namesake

    The-ama , Ion. theêma , atos, to, ( [theaomai] )
    A. sight, spectacle, Semon.7.67, A.Pr.306, E.Supp.783, Ar.Av.1716, etc.; ei tis orchoit’ eu, theam’ ên Pl.Com.130 ; Opposite mathêma, Th.2.39; freq. of a sight which gives pleasure, theamata kai akroamata hêdista parecheis X.Smp.2.2 , cf. 7.5; orchêseis kai theamata

    I believe that to be a salvation issue when God sends these SIGNS which is used meaning to “strike the flag in the ekklesia.”

    But…

  65. Zach Cox Says:

    Ken,

    Maybe I’m the only one, but for the life of me I can’t understand anything you say. I don’t mean that as an insult, I’m just curious if I’m missing something intellectually here.

    Zach

  66. Dusty Chris Says:

    Huh!!???!!! I think I just had a stroke and lost the ability to read and understand English. I’m with Zach. Ken, dumb it down (way down) to monosylabic sentences for me.

  67. Ken Sublett Says:

    I have been invited off! Otherwise I would ask if you understand:

    2 Thess. 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
    2Th. 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

  68. Royce Says:

    Ken,
    Surely you are not saying that folks will perish if they don’t receive and believe your extra biblical teaching about music in worship?

    The truth that saves is Jesus and what He accomplished for wicked sinners. It is not church of Christ legalism.

    You were not “invited off”, you were asked to follow along with the discussion which is Phil’s proposal where he said in part, “I am saying that people who continue to entertain and press beliefs that are false and harm others are sinning. Doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation.

    Doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation, and yes I believe this can be any doctrinal error. It is so because error is equated in God’s eyes with sin. Any sin can lead to eternal damnation. Doctrinal sin is not less evil than moral sin. Doctrinal error has led a multitude of souls astray from God.”

    Phil is wrong and you are wrong but I’m sure you are welcome to comment if you stay on target. This blog is not discussing the merits of a cappella vs IM, it is about staying with a wrong view will damn you to hell. And suddenly I’m thinking it might.

    Royce

  69. Ken Sublett Says:

    The subject was what can condemn and the subject of lying wonders and strong delusions would seem to be the MARK of a people beyond redemption.

    A lying wonder has lots of Greek literature to define it. The OBJECT of music in pagan religions was to induce charismatic ecstasy or an artificially induced arousal: medicine ascribes that to music or motion induced endorphins which induce the impulses of fight, flight or sexual feelings: the oldest Babylonian tablets understand that and the serpent in the garden of Eden was a “musical enchanter(ess) and in the end-times she/he/it will uses rhetoricians (a hypocritic art), singers and instrument players. John calls the sorcerers who HAD deceived the whole world. So we have musical enchantment or sorcery sending strong delusions in the BEGINNING TIME and ENDING time.

    If you won’t define these terms then it is pretty certain that the multitudes (with whom Jesus spoke parables) that most can be in a state of delusion and sing and clap about it. Operative words of the “new style singing” (one definition of the BEAST) include enthusiastic or (Enthus O Mania or Paul’s madness outlawed as “areskos” or self pleasure), being enraptured or experiencing a sexual-like encounter with the spirit (Wimber, wineskins code word). The laded burden Jesus died to removes is the same abrassive “anxiety created by religious ceremony” under the PSEUDO word “worship.”

    The PROMISE when the “musical worship teams” (assuredly a presumptious title” was that they could LEAD THE WORSHIPER INTO THE PRESENCE OF GODd. Since they are standing in the Holy Place (type of temple) and of church architecture, how do we who are the abradees know that you are not fulfilling prophecy? You must be: a Christian has to go OUTSIDE the camp or gates and suffer reproaches while HE teaches us only when the elders “teach that which has been taught.”

    Justin to the Greeks…

    “cites as a witness him whom Plato had banished from his republic as a liar, and as being an imitator of the images of truth at three removes,

    Note 1See the Republic, x.2. By the Platonic doctrine,

    the ideas of things in the mind of God were the realities;
    the things themselves, as seen by us, were the images of these realities;

    and poetry, therefore, describing the images of realities,
    was only at the third remove from nature.

    for so Plato calls Homer; for he wrote: “Thus at least did Homer speak, And Zeus obtained the wide heaven in the air and the clouds, ‘”

    wishing to make his own opinion appear more worthy of credit by the testimony of Homer; not being aware that if he used Homer as a witness to prove that he spoke truth, many of his tenets would be proved untrue.

    Speak is the OPPOSITE of poetry or music
    Music is the opposite of SPEAK.
    The direct command is to SPEAK one to another
    The Resources are: Rom 15 that which is written, Eph 5 the Spirit (words of Christ John 6:63) or Col 3.

    Music causes DELUSION which was the PURPOSE DRIVING the Orphics and Dionysiacs Paul silenced by outlawing “doubtful disputations” or that which oozes out of human imagination which Scripture says is evil continually.

    You simply have NO hint of music in the synagogue of the saints and the noise of the people who slaughtered innocent types of Christ performed EXORCISM “to make the lambs dumb before the slaughter.”

    You have massive, floods of instruments being the MARK of telling God to shut His Mouth.

    I have spend three decades on this and I assure you that what has come upon us like a MIRACLE or WONDER . My absolute proof is that you will never find a “defense” of instruments which does not betray a total lack of contextual knowledge (whatever the “degree”) and even that Lifting-From-The-Lexicon is twisted totally.

    You cannot get music of any kind out of the Spiritual Thread of the prophets by the Spirit of Christ, and those who boast about “infiltrating and diverting” do not NEED any authority, I challenge you to find one Babylonian or Classical document which does not mark music, or one church father or one founder of a denomination. Because that is true the hostility to posting the texts as the ONLY way to define words, how do you know that you are NOT living in a state of delusion: Hebrews 6 warns that people who lose the love the truth are doomed without redemption.

    The POPULAR way is defined by Jesus as the WIDE PATH AND GATE.

    If you trust scholars who quote scholars who quote scholars you are several REMOVES from the truth and I can assure you that the major THOUGHT LEADERS on the subject never quote original resources or define word.

    Now, I am through because dismissing a clear definition of LYING WONDERS as all of the hypocritic arts mean that one seeking honor or money is going to change and get a Biblically authorized job. Jesus identified hypocrites as mouth religionists: slick speakers, singers and instrument players. THOSE are marks of those who have no intention of obeying.

    THAT is what the Bible universally reserves to MARK those who have rejected the Word by believing that they can compose better songs and sermons. That is the subject.

    Until someone can find a jot or tittle proving that GOD loves to be entertained or aroused as in wimber/wineskins, fed, housed or interpreted then the 100 negative against 0% positive SEEMS like someone has been “carried outside of themselves.”

    Remember the REMNANT of the Jews who trusted the Scribes and Pharisees (speakers, singers, instrument players): it is VERY tiny and my job is to bear witness.

  70. Royce Says:

    Ken,

    It is possible and perhaps probable that the judgment you heap on others will be your own.

    You once told me in an email that NO subject is as important to you as the IM question. Not Jesus, not prayer, not salvation by faith through faith, no you said the music question is number one with you and you have lived up to what you told me here. Sad but true. I’m sure you think you are more in God’s favor than those you condemn.

    Why in the world shouldn’t we just go by the Bible? It is inspired, your history lessons are not.

    Royce

  71. Royce Says:

    correction, “by grace through faith”..

    Royce

  72. Ken Sublett Says:

    No, I did not say that music was number one with me: I have posted roughly 250 subjects. It just so happens that the people boasting about “infiltrating and diverting” to make a place in the mainstream for musicians who have no role to play in the SYNAGOGUE OF CHRIST and are outlawed have ZAPPED my once-happy retirement and destroyed my local happy very remote town and wrecked my health.

    It so happens that all of the money, high powered thought leaders, workshops, forums, and sowing of discord since my attempt to retire in 1979 has been spent on trying to SHAME or threaten everyone to join the music band. Jesus did not bow, sing or dance when the pipers played. Jesus “cast out” the musical minstrels meaning “like dung” and much like Lucifer “cast as profane out of heaven” meaning to play the flute, steal other’s inheritance, pollute and prostitute. The Levites “prophesied” does not mean PATTERNISTIC WORSHIP but making self vile and defined as sorcery: that makes sense if God turned them over to worship the starry host.

    So, you do confess that it is NOT judgmental to twist all Scripture and known historical documents to SOW MASSIVE discord but it IS judgmental to point out that it is only in these very late latter days that you could find ANYONE using the bible to defend instruments: the Disciples tried the word psallo as late as 1878.

    If you define the word JUDGMENT that means that you impose a punishment or sentence on someone when they are not guilty. My side says breaking up real and church familes and being joked about all over the country is passing judgment.

    I can post Bible from Genesis where the serpent was recognized by any school kid in Babylonia as the NAGA or Musical Enchanter. I challenge you to prove that he/she/it was not a musical enchanter.

    The king/queen of Tyre is defined as Lucifer and called the “singing and harp playing prostitute” in the garden. And the Assyrians were the “tallest trees” in Eden.

    The Levite NOISE MAKERS were performers in Egypt and brought their curse with them. Do you think that MUSICAL IDOLATRY at Mount Sinai for which God yanked The Book of The Covenant of grace is something that you can trump by appealing to David abandoned to worship the starry hosts? Do you understand that David’s PRAISE word is a very nasty, polluted concept from which the word for Lucifer is derived? That’s in the Bible. I can quote you Bible all day long and all you can find is the PATTERNISM of a cursed nation being led into captivity and death.

    You are very upfront in accusing me of being evil or ignorant but I have to ask is it only the LATEST CROP of preachers who think that making musical noise when Jesus promises to give us rest and be out ONLY teacher that now has the truth to TRUMP all recorded history?

    Do you grasp the word PLAY or SPORTING?

    Grace hath appeared teaching us to DENY what the people who just discovered grace want to impose on us.

    Ephesians 2 has a FIRST PART also which is Paul’s ALWAYS definiton of Baptism is the SHOWING act down through history of HOW God saves BY grace THROUGH faith.

    If you PROMOTE something based on the workshops or reading the latest musisings among th scholars I would lose lots of sleep if I were you.

    I am correct or all of the Bible and all known historical literature is wrong and ONLY the end time preachers are right. I rest my case by appealing to the preachers, elders and old ladies who could teach preachers a thing or too SOUNDLY REPUDIATED the most hostile attack against those who feed their face. There may be abourt 18000 congregations worldwide and you cannot find more than about a dozen who have gone instrumental even on a “tippy toe basis” and ALL of those if my counting is correct are the same men who vowed 2 decades ago to RESTRUCTURE the church of Christ. And I believe that they deliberately twisted those passages tghey looked up in a lexicon and I am POSITIVE that they have never read the context.

    You cannot define words without understanding the Greek words AS they are used in actual literature: there is NO definiton of words.

    You cannot get sick at your stomach until you literally search through most of the Babylonian tablets, literature contemporaneous with the Bible, the Greek, Egyptian and Canaanite documents LOOKING HONESTLY to find one jot or tittle to vindicate those who have NOT a jot or tittle of positive information. WHY do you suppose that only some of the latest hatch are totally convinced that the Bible is FILLED with direct commands to do music? Doesn’t this upside down pyramid make you shudder if you teach that grace is going to cover deliberate or uninformed sin. Yes, I have served most of the church roles and I know that without exception that when a man gets ordained he is not going to listen to the cheap seats.

    Because I am convinced that MUSIC is that which MARKS or hard-wires the mind or spirit beyond recovery, I believe that lying about Scripture to wilfully sow discord is not redeemable. And I would be careful about labeling those discorders as the brightlights and those who refuse to BEGIN doing something they have ALWAYS REJECTED as the legalistic, sectarian patternists.

    Remember that I got my degree in Electronics Engineering before there was such a field and I have made it pretty well as an inventor: I can read and digest material. However, now 30 years since I retired I JUST NOW begin to understand some of the basics. So, I urge you that you grasp that what it takes to become a preacher necessarily misses ALMOST ALL of the Bible in depth. Pride is not seemly in a pastor person. And also don’t forget that most of your progressive thinking comes from the same level and a Phd doesn’t advance you much further because it is based on THEOLOGY and not BIBLE.

    I think those on the payroll of churches of Christ really need to stop misleading them and making them fell guilt because THEY did not let the MUSICAL people impose instruments in THEIR congregation. I would be ashamed of using the grace or love guilt clause. Abraham Lincoln tole one of many I have collected beginning with Adam.

    A man rides down the road and a highwayman jumps out of the bushes and pokes a gun in his ribs and shouts “Stand and deliver or I will shoot you that will make you a murderer.”

    That’s exactly the psychological violence which has been heaped on those who are Bible literate and don’t sing, clap and gyrate when Jesus comes to be our SOLE teacher in synagogue or “A school of the Bible–Only.”

  73. Royce Says:

    Ken,

    You did say it. Deny you said it but you did say it.

    I have used my site for the past three years to preach and teach Jesus and to tell folks what He has accomplished for sinners.

    You have majored on the music question and liabled good men whose only offence is preaching the Bible instead of coC dogma.

    Who is sowing discord? I invite anyone who questions to go to your site and mine and decide. I refuse to allow this kind of nonsense without a challenge.

    Royce

  74. Wayne McDaniel Says:

    Ken,

    I have been among cofC all my life, enjoy singing praise to the Lord, have no interest in adding instuments to the singing, but I can see that some among cofC view acapella singing as something that sets them apart from others who trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins.

    I know that some in cofC love to say that we have RESTORED the first century church. But there is something that has NOT BEEN RESTORED
    in cofC, or other churches, and that is the CONFESSION of sins. 1 John 5:16 & James 5:16
    point to praying for others that is absent among us.

    Further, the DIALOGUE that Paul engaged in at Troas, Acts 20:7&9, is also missing from our assemblies. Still further, the distinction we have embraced between Bible classes and the assembly is entirely unknown in scripture.

    Most serious of all is the lack of prayer in our daily lives. Jesus described God’s ELECT as those that cry unto Him day and night, Lk.18:7. Does that describe my life — am I in the faith, 2Cor.13:5?

    15 years ago a devout brother acknowledged, “I have learned that I do not maintain the disciplines of prayer adequately by myself, and that I MUST pray regularly with others.”

    I know the tempatation to idolize the CofC. It is an idol that had to be cut away from my heart. To bear the fruit of the Spirit, we must rely upon Jesus alone to save us from our sins. Confession crucifies our pride.

  75. Ken Sublett Says:

    You once told me in an email that NO subject is as important to you as the IM question. Not Jesus, not prayer, not salvation by faith through faith, no you said the music question is number one with you.

    I think you are reading beyond the sacred pages so to speak. At the time old church in Seattle was under attack by a man willing to twist all of the Bible, church history, the old church bylaws, and minimal common decency to make a place for his wife as a “musical worship minister.” She came to Nashville–a city set on seven hills- to learn all of the tricks. Music was the HOSTILE ATTACK in most Bible-based groups so not to be a coward in the words of Martin Luther you refute the heresy standing in front of you and BETWEEN the simple and the real Jesus: Paul’s unique worship concept means to give heed to the Word: if you are giving heed to the sight, sound and motion of someone CLAIMING to bring God into your presence you are DEFACTO worshiping the performers and the silly-ditty writers.

    That attacked my local quite isolated hill country church: they leaped the church from 350 to less than 200 and make the Church of Christ a stink in the whole county. Why would anyone obey the false law of “laying by in store” knowing that a church had the hidden agenda to divert the monies as soon as it was safe to take the Purpose Driven cult leap.

    ME gets involved only when the coffee thermos runs dry. I do claim to have posted all of the important MUSIC papers beginning with clay tablets and do solemnly and dogmatically assert that you don’t know any preacher or scholar who knows about the fatal music-induced Fall from Grace at Mount Sinai. Nor, do they grasp that the NOBILITY of Civil-Military-Clergy complex was PERMITTED when God warned that they were FIRING him to get a Senior Pastor to carry out the captivity and death sentence imposed at Mount Sinai. Nor did the Spirit Who promised them robbers and parasites has men like Nehemiah LABELING them as robbers and parasites BECAUSE OF their own sin. In the Greek world the sacrificial musicians were called PARASITES. The priests who lifted the dumb lambs up to cut their throats were called HERETICS: that is the word Paul outlawed as self-pleasure caused by “the creation of mental excitement.”

    I do dogmatically assert that none of the white paper writers have ever gone beyond the “sacred pages” of their simple lexicon to collecte all of the remote instrument passages to say that:

    Right there at that spot about 1994 the Holy Spirit said to me in the middle of my sermon, “and that’s what you and all the preachers like you were doing, who haven’t for years believed that the worship of God with instruments is wrong. But you continue by your silence to let people think it’s wrong, to allow the body to be disrupted, and you do so under the plea, ‘Well, we’re just maintaining peace.’ But that’s not peace; that’s cowardice.” I knew then the day would come I’d have to teach this lesson.

    Yet for 12 years he slowly “boiled the frogs” and warned that those who objected should not bother the elders and others might have to make a “choice between instrumental music” and their church and marriage families. Because people are BONDED to anyone with a voice they can easily be DELUDED by the only definition of LYING WONDERS which is a false prodigy such as “the worship team can LEAD you into the presence of God” and the delusional BELIEVE that when all of their pleasure centers (all) the FEELING is the presence of the spirit person inside

  76. Ken Sublett Says:

    Sorry about that: I don’t see any way to back up and edit: no GRACE, huh?

    You once told me in an email that NO subject is as important to you as the IM question. Not Jesus, not prayer, not salvation by faith through faith, no you said the music question is number one with you.

    I think you are reading beyond the sacred pages so to speak. At the time old church in Seattle was under attack by a man willing to twist all of the Bible, church history, the old church bylaws, and minimal common decency to make a place for his wife as a “musical worship minister.” She came to Nashville–a city set on seven hills- to learn all of the tricks. Music was the HOSTILE ATTACK in most Bible-based groups so not to be a coward in the words of Martin Luther you refute the heresy standing in front of you and BETWEEN the simple and the real Jesus: Paul’s unique worship concept means to give heed to the Word: if you are giving heed to the sight, sound and motion of someone CLAIMING to bring God into your presence you are DEFACTO worshiping the performers and the silly-ditty writers.

    That attacked my local quite isolated hill country church: they leaped the church from 350 to less than 200 and make the Church of Christ a stink in the whole county. Why would anyone obey the false law of “laying by in store” knowing that a church had the hidden agenda to divert the monies as soon as it was safe to take the Purpose Driven cult leap.

    ME gets involved only when the coffee thermos runs dry. I do claim to have posted all of the important MUSIC papers beginning with clay tablets and do solemnly and dogmatically assert that you don’t know any preacher or scholar who knows about the fatal music-induced Fall from Grace at Mount Sinai. Nor, do they grasp that the NOBILITY of Civil-Military-Clergy complex was PERMITTED when God warned that they were FIRING him to get a Senior Pastor to carry out the captivity and death sentence imposed at Mount Sinai. Nor did the Spirit Who promised them robbers and parasites has men like Nehemiah LABELING them as robbers and parasites BECAUSE OF their own sin. In the Greek world the sacrificial musicians were called PARASITES. The priests who lifted the dumb lambs up to cut their throats were called HERETICS: that is the word Paul outlawed as self-pleasure caused by “the creation of mental excitement.”

    I do dogmatically assert that none of the white paper writers have ever gone beyond the “sacred pages” of their simple lexicon to collecte all of the remote instrument passages to say that:

    Right there at that spot about 1994 the Holy Spirit said to me in the middle of my sermon, “and that’s what you and all the preachers like you were doing, who haven’t for years believed that the worship of God with instruments is wrong. But you continue by your silence to let people think it’s wrong, to allow the body to be disrupted, and you do so under the plea, ‘Well, we’re just maintaining peace.’ But that’s not peace; that’s cowardice.” I knew then the day would come I’d have to teach this lesson.

    Yet for 12 years he slowly “boiled the frogs” and warned that those who objected should not bother the elders and others might have to make a “choice between instrumental music” and their church and marriage families. Because people are BONDED to anyone with a voice they can easily be DELUDED by the only definition of LYING WONDERS which is a false prodigy such as “the worship team can LEAD you into the presence of God” and the delusional BELIEVE that when all of their pleasure centers (all) the FEELING is the presence of the spirit person inside


  77. […] GraceConversation, Phil Sander posted a piece citing numerous verses to support his view that the “New Testament makes it abundantly clear that doctrinal error […]


  78. […] I’ve posted three posts working through the texts cited by Phil Sanders in “Proposition One Response from Phil.” […]


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