Questions for Mac and Phil

by Jay Guin and Todd Deaver

Okay. We’ve answered Mac’s true/false questions as he’s requested. It’s only fair that Mac and Phil respond to a few questions that we have.

As to each of the following questions, we wish to hear from both Mac and Phil. We don’t need separate posts. It would be sufficient to say that you all have communicated and that you both agree or, if you disagree, to state the two answers.

In each case, when we ask about a “well-instructed, mature” person, we mean someone who has been a Christian for long enough to have studied both sides of the issue. You should assume that this person has read articles and heard sermons arguing to the contrary but has honestly, prayerfully, and sincerely reached a different conclusion. He is not acting in rebellion or out of defiance against God’s will. He just disagrees.

We generally add the qualifier “not considering such time as God may allow for repentance.” We’ve already agreed that God is patient with sinners and doesn’t necessarily immediately damn those in error. Whether we add the qualifier or not, please assume that the person being asked about has been warned many times, given the contrary arguments, and prayed with, and yet he does not agree with the contrary view.

  1. In the “Where Things Stand” post, we stated what we believe to be Phil’s and Mac’s position on apostasy. Are we right? If not, please edit the position as we stated it to succinctly state your views accurately.
  2. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that Jesus will reign on earth for 1,000 years before the Second Coming. He does not believe in the doctrine of the second chance. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  3. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that Jesus will reign on earth for 1,000 years before the Second Coming and so teaches from the pulpit as the minister of a congregation. He does not believe in the doctrine of the second chance. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  4. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that a Christian woman who is divorced by her non-Christian husband due to her conversion to Christ may remarry in the church without sin, without regard to whether fornication was involved in the divorce. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  5. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that a Christian woman who is divorced by her non-Christian husband due to her conversion to Christ may remarry in the church without sin, without regard to whether fornication was involved in the divorce, and so teaches from the pulpit as the minister of a congregation. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  6. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that a Christian woman who is divorced by her non-Christian husband due to her conversion to Christ may remarry in the church without sin, without regard to whether fornication was involved in the divorce, and so as an elder he consents to her new husband being a member in good standing of his congregation. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  7. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that the Holy Spirit does not personally indwell Christians. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  8. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that the Holy Spirit does not personally indwell Christians and so refuses to fellowship those who believe in the personal indwelling, insists that those who so teach be expelled from the teaching faculties of lectureships at which he teaches, teaches that such persons are not only in error but damned, and so divides God’s church. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  9. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that God requires communion to be taken using but a single cup and so refuses to fellowship those who practice multiple cups, insists that those who so teach be expelled from the teaching faculties of lectureships at which he teaches, teaches that such persons are not only in error but damned, and so divides God’s church. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  10. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, contributes weekly to his church as he’s been prospered but is not a cheerful giver. He knows it’s wrong, but grew up destitute and struggles in his obedience to this command. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  11. An otherwise well-instructed, mature preacher teaches from the pulpit and in print that it is sinful for women to attend the public worship assembly without a head covering. However, he continually fellowships those who teach differently, thereby rejecting the view that any doctrine that leads to sin is a fatal false doctrine. Since he persistently continues to fellowship those women who actually worship without a head covering, he also thereby rejects the view that all who continue the practice of sin are damned. Is this preacher damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  12. Is it scriptural to extend fellowship to otherwise faithful Christians seeking membership at your congregation who are coming from an instrumental Church of Christ if they do not believe instrumental worship is wrong but agree to keep their view on this private?
  13. An otherwise well-instructed, mature preacher teaches from the pulpit and in print that it is scriptural to extend fellowship to otherwise faithful Christians who are from instrumental churches, as long as they stop worshipping with the instrument (even if they continue to hold the belief privately that instrumental music in worship is not sinful). They need not acknowledge that their past practice of it was wrong. This preacher not only teaches this view, but also practices it by actually extending fellowship to such Christians. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  14. An otherwise well-instructed, mature preacher teaches from the pulpit and in print that it is scriptural to extend fellowship to otherwise faithful Christians who are divorced and remarried contrary to your understanding of the subject. As a result, his congregation in fact extends fellowship to individuals who are divorced and remarried contrary to your understanding of the subject. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?
  15. Alexander Campbell was the only elder of his congregation. David Lipscomb approved baptisms to obey Jesus but not for the remission of sins and women teaching mixed-sex Bible classes. Guy N. Woods denied the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Foy Wallace, Jr. considered pre-millennialism damning and refused to fellowship those of that view. Daniel Sommer refused to fellowship with churches that had located preachers. These men were all mature, well-instructed Christians. Not considering such time as God may have allowed for repentance, and assuming they held these views until they died, are they damned for those particular positions?
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25 Comments on “Questions for Mac and Phil”

  1. thumper Says:

    Good questions all.

    Yet, I predict none will be answered. I pray they will, but do not believe they will.

  2. Sarah Says:

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  3. I am confused and perplexed by the questions. For example, I find three questions in question number 2. Which of the three are to be answered. I find six possible things to answer and I am not trying hard to find the possible combinations of questions.

    What is this?

  4. thumper Says:

    Actually, there is only one question mark in question number 2.

    The question is whether someone who believes what is stated in the declarative sentences in number 2 is damned or not.

    Look more closely:

    “A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that Jesus will reign on earth for 1,000 years before the Second Coming.”

    That is declarative statement number 1. No question yet.

    “He does not believe in the doctrine of the second chance.”

    That is declarative statement number 2. No question yet.

    “Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?”

    Here is the one and only question in number 2.

  5. nick gill Says:

    Well-written questionnaire, brethren. I recognize the difficulty of crafting such a piece, because this interrogational style is not how I think anymore.

    I am still excited about this experiment, and I’m looking forward to the responses from brother Deaver and brother Sanders.

  6. laymond Says:

    Haven’t we had this battle before? The Church of Christ I mean, haven’t we been down this road before?

    Not long after the American Civil War one group of members of the original movement proclaimed independence from the main body and has since maintained a separation. The liberal wing of the Church of Christ is identified as the “Christian Church” in the Midwest and South, and “Disciples of Christ” in the East.
    It seems to me that the CoC is not fully satisfied unless there is a battle raging within it’s walls.
    For those folks who believe in IM, and are more liberal than some, there is already a congregation established for them, why not go there? Why are some not satisfied unless they prove they are right, and someone else is wrong? Are we fighting over who gets the name now ? Ask either side, and they will say the name doesn’t matter, I have my doubts. are we fighting over members, or is it the money members have in their pockets? I wish somebody would explain what this fight is about. If it were solved, wouldn’t we just find something else? probably so.


  7. I don’t think anyone has refuted my perception that under the “conservative” definition of grace we’ve been give so far, Peter stood eternally condemned for “not acting in line with the truth of the gospel” and by hypocrisy leading others astray.

  8. ACOC Says:

    I, too, would like Keith’s comment addressed.

    ACOC

  9. Dusty Chris Says:

    WOW! Interesting set of questions. I am looking forward to reading the answers. I don’t feel threatened at all by healthy debate…It is one way we grow spiritually. The boat has to be rocked for change to be possible. It is unhealthier to avoid conflict and let the issues boil under the surface, which come out in bitterness and division. Be patient, this is about to get good.

  10. Joe Hegyi III Says:

    Laymond:

    First, I believe you’ve been misinformed about the “Christian Church” and “Disciples of Christ.” There are in fact two separate groups that resulted after the CoC decided to disfellowship the rest of the movement. There were those who were more liberal who eventually became the denomination called the “Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)” and there are those more conservative, independent congregations that go by either the name “Church of Christ” or “Christian Church” but have no central body beyond the local congregation.

    Second, I don’t see that there is a “fight” so much as a struggle to understand one another. This is an argument that has recurred among the non-instrumental Churches of Christ for many decades being championed at various times by “antis” like Carl Ketcherside, more mainstream members of the CoC such as Leroy Garrett and Reuel Lemmons, and by those among the conservative Churches of Christ/Christian Churches like Don DeWelt. It’s an argument that’s never been settled to the satisfaction of either side and it will likely continue until either both sides come to understand one another and choose to coexist, or the more conservative disfellowship and withdraw from the more progressive. Sadly, if our history is any guide, it will be the latter that happens rather than the former.

  11. Joe Hegyi III Says:

    Amen, Dusty!

  12. Rob Woodfin Says:

    Laymond and others are concerned about going down the same road yet again. While the point is valid, one must acknowledge the reasons why the need continues:

    1. Our progressive brethren seem convinced the differences of opinion among us can be resolved.
    2. Our moderate brethren believe the best approach is to continue stepping over the lumps in the carpet under which they have tried to sweep our divisive issues.
    3. Our conservative brethren are perfectly willing to continue speaking in code to their friends “who call themselves Christians” so as to avoid the unpleasant task of insulting them about their damnation.
    4. Our ultra-conservative brethren sweep nothing under the rug but are zealously willing to sweep the moderates and progressives into the street with the rest of the condemned.

    Surely Laymond agrees the efforts of Jay and Todd are to be commended in generating this conversation, and hopefully some good will come from it. I think his lament is somewhat prophetic, though, in realizing once this discussion group posts its final summaries, the arguments will continue and the exclusiveness will endure unabated. Is that pessimistic? Perhaps. But who here truly believes otherwise?

    One of John Mark Hicks’ latest articles talks about the possibility of some semblance of reconciliation between the Southern Baptists and the Church of Christ on the subject of baptism. While his word is not to be doubted that there are some from each group willing to entertain this idea, surely even he would not expect to see a headline in The Tennessean in his lifetime declaring this bipartisan (forgive the pun) achievement.

    Interesting that Daniel Sommer received a mention at the end of this list of questions. Sommer spent a considerable portion of his lifetime driving wedges between Christians and proclaiming that all those refusing to accept his view of scripture were no longer worthy of salvation. In his later years he repented of this arrogance and tried to make amends, despite the efforts of his family and fellow Church members to interdict. Sadly, he found it much easier to draw audiences to hear that they were the only true Christians than he was ever able to assemble to hear his pleas for unity.

    The fruit of this conversation will not be resolution. But if just a few are helped to reconsider Jesus’ prayer that we all be one, just as He is one with the Father … beyond the limits of the exclusive franchise agreement hammered out by Sommer, Ketcherside and others before they learned the error of their legalistic ways … then much good will have been done.

  13. Royce Ogle Says:

    Are we saved based on what we do or don’t do? Or are we saved based upon the work and worth of Jesus?

    It seems to me that neither side has it right.

  14. Alan S Says:

    Rob, you wrote: “Our ultra-conservative brethren sweep nothing under the rug but are zealously willing to sweep the moderates and progressives into the street with the rest of the condemned.”

    Rob, I am not sure that the “ultra-cnservative” or I prefer to say, “extreme-traditionalists” will ever come around to a dialogue. They seem to see their interpretations as infallible and not open to question. I have tried to engage some of them and their preference has been to divide from those they disagree with, then condemn them as apostate having fallen to the “community movement”, pushing “change”, and “stealing from widows and orphans.” Communication is not their goal.

    However, it is hoped that the other three parties – less traditional to the more traditional – will be able to lay aside their interpretations and examine all in light of what the scriptures actually say (and not say), rather than what each would prefer that they say.

    God bless

  15. laymond Says:

    Rob, said “Surely Laymond agrees the efforts of Jay and Todd are to be commended ”

    I absolutely do, it takes brave men to attempt what they are trying. It is similar to volunteering for a suicide mission 🙂 no winners.

  16. evenkeele Says:

    I like the idea behind this conversation. I will be following along as I can and I hope I’ll be allowed to chime in occasionally. I previously preached in non-instrumental churches of Christ – now for an independent Christian Church in Kansas. Lee Keele


  17. I don’t see such a headline in the future. 🙂 But I do hope and am willing to work toward some mutual understanding and some cross-fertilization as we both journey toward the fullness of God’s kingdom.

    Churches of Christ experience some kind of overarching unity–a shared sense of community of some sort–when they continue talking. When we stop talking, then division will emerge in separate/distinct groups and then fossilize.

    Communication–even if it is only that–is important.

  18. Randall Says:

    Royce,
    You make an excellent point. Regrettably, it seems to have fallen upon deaf ears. One side has a longer set of things one must do and the other side has a different set and allows more latitude for God’s forbearance. Interesting that this is called “Grace Conversation” if no one really believes that salvation is completely by grace.

    Thanks again for your suggestion that neither side has it right.
    Randall

  19. Richard Says:

    Greetings from sunny California for a couple of weeks,

    If you go way back to the garden account–without taking one side or the other here–the interrogational style of questioning is what allowed Satan to move man to sin..

    Richard


  20. Well, this is my first comment here and while I don’t consider myself a conservative or liberal or any appellation but “Biblical” Christian, I’ll take a stab at answering the questions asked. I’m going to answer more from the standpoint of whether the doctrine in question is in error then conclude by a general statement about who is condemned and who not. Conserves space that way…I hope!

    1. In the “Where Things Stand” post, we stated what we believe to be Phil’s and Mac’s position on apostasy. Are we right? If not, please edit the position as we stated it to succinctly state your views accurately.

    Forgive me, but this take a lot more reading than I have time for right now so please allow me to pass on this one for now.

    2. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that Jesus will reign on earth for 1,000 years before the Second Coming. He does not believe in the doctrine of the second chance. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    The doctrine of a 1000 year reign by Christ on earth is error.

    3. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that Jesus will reign on earth for 1,000 years before the Second Coming and so teaches from the pulpit as the minister of a congregation. He does not believe in the doctrine of the second chance. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    See #2.

    4. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that a Christian woman who is divorced by her non-Christian husband due to her conversion to Christ may remarry in the church without sin, without regard to whether fornication was involved in the divorce. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    A woman not scripturally divorced (for adultery) who remarries is committing adultery. Christians and non-Christians are amenable to the same spiritual law. Her state (unscripturally divorced) does not change even if her sin of divorce is forgiven. We still face the consequences of our actions even if the guilt of sinful actions is removed.

    5. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that a Christian woman who is divorced by her non-Christian husband due to her conversion to Christ may remarry in the church without sin, without regard to whether fornication was involved in the divorce, and so teaches from the pulpit as the minister of a congregation. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    See #4.

    6. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that a Christian woman who is divorced by her non-Christian husband due to her conversion to Christ may remarry in the church without sin, without regard to whether fornication was involved in the divorce, and so as an elder he consents to her new husband being a member in good standing of his congregation. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    See #4.

    7. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that the Holy Spirit does not personally indwell Christians. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit does not personally (immediately/literally/physically) indwell Christians today (though He did in the 1st century AD). I don’t believe this is error. 🙂

    8. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that the Holy Spirit does not personally indwell Christians and so refuses to fellowship those who believe in the personal indwelling, insists that those who so teach be expelled from the teaching faculties of lectureships at which he teaches, teaches that such persons are not only in error but damned, and so divides God’s church. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    Error divides God’s church. For the result and damnation part see the end of my response.

    9. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, believes that God requires communion to be taken using but a single cup and so refuses to fellowship those who practice multiple cups, insists that those who so teach be expelled from the teaching faculties of lectureships at which he teaches, teaches that such persons are not only in error but damned, and so divides God’s church. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    I only use one cup. My wife, who sits next to me, only uses one cup. It juts happens to be a different cup! *lol*

    Humor aside, these people should not violate their conscience (one cup or many is scripturally irrelevant since the “cup” is metonomy for that which it contains), but it is error for these weaker brethren to condemn stronger brethren for the number of cups.

    10. A person, otherwise a well-instructed, mature Christian, contributes weekly to his church as he’s been prospered but is not a cheerful giver. He knows it’s wrong, but grew up destitute and struggles in his obedience to this command. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    God asks for cheerful givers. To give uncheerfully is to violate God’s commands, whatever the reason behind the lack of cheer.

    11. An otherwise well-instructed, mature preacher teaches from the pulpit and in print that it is sinful for women to attend the public worship assembly without a head covering. However, he continually fellowships those who teach differently, thereby rejecting the view that any doctrine that leads to sin is a fatal false doctrine. Since he persistently continues to fellowship those women who actually worship without a head covering, he also thereby rejects the view that all who continue the practice of sin are damned. Is this preacher damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    This preacher either has a conscience issue and should teach that the covering thing is just such for him “from the pulpit and in writing” or he is in error for violating his conscience and hypocrisy.

    12. Is it scriptural to extend fellowship to otherwise faithful Christians seeking membership at your congregation who are coming from an instrumental Church of Christ if they do not believe instrumental worship is wrong but agree to keep their view on this private?

    No.

    13. An otherwise well-instructed, mature preacher teaches from the pulpit and in print that it is scriptural to extend fellowship to otherwise faithful Christians who are from instrumental churches, as long as they stop worshipping with the instrument (even if they continue to hold the belief privately that instrumental music in worship is not sinful). They need not acknowledge that their past practice of it was wrong. This preacher not only teaches this view, but also practices it by actually extending fellowship to such Christians. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    This is error.

    14. An otherwise well-instructed, mature preacher teaches from the pulpit and in print that it is scriptural to extend fellowship to otherwise faithful Christians who are divorced and remarried contrary to your understanding of the subject. As a result, his congregation in fact extends fellowship to individuals who are divorced and remarried contrary to your understanding of the subject. Is he damned (not considering such time as God may allow for repentance)?

    My understanding of the subject is irrelevant. I am not the authority. The Bible is. If this preacher is extending fellowship to people who are not in keeping with the Biblical teaching on marriage-divorce-remarriage, then the preacher is in error.

    15. Alexander Campbell was the only elder of his congregation. David Lipscomb approved baptisms to obey Jesus but not for the remission of sins and women teaching mixed-sex Bible classes. Guy N. Woods denied the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Foy Wallace, Jr. considered pre-millennialism damning and refused to fellowship those of that view. Daniel Sommer refused to fellowship with churches that had located preachers. These men were all mature, well-instructed Christians. Not considering such time as God may have allowed for repentance, and assuming they held these views until they died, are they damned for those particular positions?

    I did not know these men nor am I familiar with their teachings, though some of those that you stated I actually agree with. My faith is not based on them and they are not inspired men so they are not authoritative for me.

    Having said that I’ll add my two coppers’ worth about being damned and let you infer the answer.

    When a person is converted, whether from atheism, denominationalism, or any other false religion, they are not required, nor do they have the ability even, to know every Biblical doctrine. In fact, no human can claim to know completely every human doctrine since we must always grow. That which does not grow is dead. So undoubtedly new converts bring with them baggage in the form of error. Beginning with basic issues on salvation, grace, name of the church, organization of the church, and worship, a new convert can learn topics correctly so that they no longer believe (and practice) error on those topics.

    So what of the mature Christian who has studied any given topic (like those named above). If they have believed (and/or practiced) error, and a brother or sister sits down with them and teaches them from scripture the truth, and then that mature Christian willfully rejects the truth, then they are condemned.

    For those who teach and practice correctly according to scripture, we must understand a few things. We must always teach with longsuffering and kindness and other fruits of the spirit. Yes, we may get angry from time to time, Bible is a subject of deepest passion, but we must work through that anger when it arises. The quicker the better.

    On basic topics it should not take very long to study them out. However, on more difficult topics (like the Holy Spirit or Apocalyptic writings) it may take a very long time for those in error to come to understand the truth so they may accept it. This is where wisdom comes in. We should not be hasty in our condemnation if someone is willing to study and continues to work towards unity in truth with us.

    On the other hand, those who have come to a point on a doctrine where they are set, believe they are right, and have no interest in studying further (yet still teach error) is condemned, not by us, but by scripture. Of course, from their perspective, the person who is not in error will seem like they actually are in error so no doubt there will be a mutual public (or at least mental) condemnation. That is where ultimately God is the Judge and He’ll sort it all out.

    There is an objective absolute right and wrong, one Divine Truth. A person either believes, practices, and teaches Truth (on any given topic) or they don’t. We must all strive for unity based on this Truth, but we must also guard the body of Christ (which is the church – Eph. 1:22-23) from the disease of error.

    Okay. Done rambling.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie

  21. Jay Guin Says:

    Ernie,

    Thanks for a thoughtful post. I very much appreciate your emphasis on patience and on being slow to condemn. I agree that when someone “willfully rejects the truth” he is no longer penitent and his salvation is in jeopardy. But what of the person who is simply unconvinced — honestly, studiously, prayerfully unconvinced?

    You seem to answer that when you say that “those who have come to a point on a doctrine where they are set, believe they are right, and have no interest in studying further (yet still teach error) is condemned.”

    Suppose a mature believer is convinced that the Holy Spirit personally indwells Christians today. He has reached that conclusion by diligent, prayerful Bible study. He’s read the counter-arguments and is convinced on the indwelling. He remains a diligent student of the Bible, learning more and more every day, and sometimes changing his views as he learns better, but he has read the complete Guy N. Woods and Foy E. Wallace Jr. corpus, knows all the anti-indwelling arguments, and just plain disagrees.

    As I read you, he stands damned. Am I right?

    And if that’s right, where does the Bible say that?


  22. First I’d like to say that Foy Wallace and Guy Woods were finite, fallible men, and their works are uninspired references at best. What they believed, taught, and practiced is really irrelevant to the question, in my opinion.

    But I’ve really begun to take a strong disliking to the church’s reliance on commentary of any kind of late.

    You ask the only question I believe worth answering. What does the Bible say and where?

    First, I’d establish, by scripture whether we are talking about a matter of opinion or of doctrine. If opinion, then we can part ways as brothers as Paul and Barnabas did over John Mark. Things like alcohol, mixed swimming, and other ascetic positions taken by the conservatives are just that, matters of conscience and opinion. We who can do those things (without violating Biblical principles) are the stronger brethren and they the weaker, but we can co-exist so long as we only concern ourselves with the scriptures.

    However, you asked about the Holy Spirit, one of three members of the Godhead (or Trinity, or whatever language one wishes to use). The identity, activity, and nature of God is most certainly doctrine as can be seen throughout both Old and New Testament. There is no distinction between the manner of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the operation of the Holy Spirit on the heart or through men to perform miracles. All are either doctrinal issues or they aren’t. There isn’t a “lesser doctrinal issue” so that we can agree to disagree on doctrine or a “greater doctrinal issue” that we must agree on or disfellowship one another.

    1 Cor. 1:10 and passages like it command singleness of thought, speech, and practice without division whatsoever. Given that Romans 14, 1 Cor. 8,10, and some other passages allow for differences on matters of conscience (opinion), 1 Cor. 1:10 must be speaking of doctrine. I can find no place where any doctrine is excepted from this command, nor relegated to a lesser or greater status than any other doctrine.

    It’s funny that you should ask about the indwelling question. I’ve recently had to be concerned about this very topic. As I believe the scriptures plainly teach that the literal indwelling took place only by direct immersion (Acts 2) or the laying on of the Apostles hands (Acts 8) and given that there are no Apostles today, and direct immersion IN the Holy Spirit only took place on the Apostles and Cornelius (an exception for a specific, explicitly stated purpose), then I also believe the immediate/literal indwelling doctrine today is false. However, in teaching a Wed. night class, several people disagreed. (There was also disagreement about whether our individual bodies are A temple of Christ via 1 Cor. 6 — I believe there is only one temple, the church, and it is spiritual rather than physical in nature).

    After examination of just a few scriptures most in the class (having never really studied the issue before) were initially convinced and said they would go study the scriptures to make sure that what I was saying was true, just like they should have. One brother, though, harumphed and snorted and shook his head and finally stated “you’re wrong and you’ll never get me to believe otherwise! If what you say is true, then I’ve been wrong for nearly 50 years!”

    I believe that brother was wrong in his attitude. I spoke with him privately and I asked him several, specific straight forward questions, which at first he tried to answer but could not. I then suggested he go home with the questions (I had written them down) and look up the answers from scripture. He seemed sure of his position so the questions should not have been hard for him to answer.

    He came back and reiterated that he would never change and I would never convince him that he had been wrong all those years. He never attempted to provide me with answers to the questions and I must take that to mean that he cannot.

    So this attitude, one where he is convinced of his position on the doctrine, no matter what scripture is shown him, is one of arrogance and willful rejection of God’s word. I believe he honestly wants to believe what he believes, but he’s no longer willing to study. It is at this point that we must part ways because there can be no division among us or the body as a whole begins to suffer.

    It is tolerance of differences that I believe led to division in the church in the first place (Gal. 1:6; 1 Cor. 1; etc.) and continues to cause it now.

    I know my answer may have been a bit long, and I apologize for that. I hope I’ve answered your question fully. If not, please ask for what I did not answer and I’ll concentrate more specifically on just answering that question.

    In Truth and Love,

    Ernie


  23. Oh, heh, you asked about someone who is just “unconvinced”. I guess the better answer to that would be, “well, we need to keep studying until we achieve unity!” 😀

    Maybe that’s why I felt I didn’t quite answer your question. Hope that covers it now!

    Peace!

  24. Jay Guin Says:

    Ernie,

    Have you read the recent posts Todd and I put up on this site? All the posts address the question of falling away, and they also address the indwelling of the Spirit.

    You obviously disagree with our position, but I’m wondering whether you’ve had a chance to read the posts yet.


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