Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 2

Mac’s Response to Todd’s and Jay’s Summary

by Mac Deaver

Now we go to their summary:

They suggest that their “conservative friends” want it both ways but cannot have it both ways. They say that we admit that all Christians continue to sin and need grace and do, in fact, receive forgiveness. But we also say that some sins damn (are excluded from continual grace).Yet, we refuse to provide the list of all those that do damn the souls of saints. But, why should we have to provide an exhaustive list? I will provide an accurate and exhaustive list of those that damn right after they provide an accurate and exhaustive list of all of those that do not. The fact is, that even in those lists of sins which we have in the New Testament which God provided for us himself, not one list is exhaustive in the sense of thorough specific itemization. Each list is, however, exhaustive in principle, but not in the sense that every possible sin is mentioned specifically so that it is distinguished from every other possible sin (Gal.5:19-21; Rom.1:28-32; 1 Tim.1:8-11). If God himself never provided a complete list of sins, then why should I feel compelled to give a complete list of possible damning errors of which people can be guilty or could be guilty and the exact situations that would have to obtain in order for those sins in those particular circumstances to damn souls?

The “solution” to our disagreement over the divine issuance of grace per Jay and Todd is the following: “There remains, of course, an entirely different possibility: sin doesn’t damn for those in grace-and the Christian remains in grace so long as he continues in his penitence and faith. Such a person will sin-we all do-but his life will be turned toward God and he’ll love God so much that he’ll try to rid his life of sin.” This again, is a solution by clever description, but the problem is in the details. Notice, sin doesn’t damn those in grace. So, either

(1) Once saved always saved is true (which Jay and Todd say that they do not believe); or

(2) Once saved, a person can sin so as to be lost and he forfeits grace.

Thus, what they have described as “an entirely different possibility” is no solution whatever!

What they are giving great effort to justify is the view that sincere Christians cannot fall from grace. They suggest that as long as a Christian continues in “penitence and faith,” they cannot be lost. So, sincerity saves the saint and not his obedience to the gospel! Galatians 5:4, 7 clearly shows that Jay and Todd are in error. “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace…Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth?” Nothing is said about any insincerity on the part of these fallen Galatians. Jay and Todd are contending that whatever sincere Christians do as sincere Christians, they are safe in the doing of it! This will entail their worship service and ethics, including wrong views practiced on marriage/divorce/remarriage.

Todd and Jay suggest that a saint who is wrong about hats-in-worship can still be saved nonetheless. Of course he can, but not if he becomes factious over it. The factious man condemns himself (Tit.3:10, 11).  Our opponents suggest that given their approach they have provided a different standard by which to compare faithfulness. “By this standard (what they call ‘penitence and faith’), someone worshipping in error but with a genuine faith and with real penitence remains saved.”  It is interesting the way that Jay and Todd redefine terms in order to prove their new approach to salvation scriptural. “Penitence” replaces the concept of actual obedience to revealed truth and “faith” covers the doing of erroneous things in worship even though we are told that faith comes by the word (Rom.10:17).

When Jay and Todd say that “salvation doesn’t depend on getting all the answers right,” they again attack the relationship of truth to salvation, and they ought to understand that this attack is not new! Todd knows (likely Jay does, too) that the church has already passed through this modern day attack on the relationship of knowing truth to salvation (in the 1970s). And notice that their language exaggerates the responsibility (cf. Gen.3:1; Jno.8:31, 32) into a suggested impossibility (cf. Luke 10:29) so that they can attack the essentiality of knowing the truth, the very thing that the Lord declared necessary to being made free from sin (Jno.8:31, 32; cf. 1 Tim.2:4).  And notice how desperately they try to “get the answer right” with regard to what we are now discussing! If we can be wrong about how to remain in grace and yet receive the grace, isn’t it possible that we could be wrong about how one gets into grace in the first place and yet receive grace, too? If so, then there is no relationship whatever between one’s knowing truth and his being saved by truth. We will have surrendered the view that there is an essential connection between truth and salvation. And Todd and Jay do err when they use Acts 20:20, 21 to suggest that “penitence” and “faith” on the part of the saint somehow continue to save him even though he practices sin sincerely.

Note, Todd and Jay admit that some doctrines, if subscribed to, can damn the soul of the one subscribing to them (answer to my question #10). But, then they say that as long as Christians are “penitent” and have “faith” (whatever that means), regardless what doctrines they subscribe to, they are all right before God. So, it is impossible for a sincere Christian to subscribe to a doctrine that damns his soul! The only Christian, then, who can while subscribing to false doctrine lose his soul is an insincere one. But who believes that an insincere Christian can be saved at all anyway? What confusion!

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9 Comments on “Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 2”


  1. Typical dribble.

  2. laymond Says:

    Dell please clarify who is the dribbler here?

  3. Weldon Says:

    If God himself never provided a complete list of sins, then why should I feel compelled to give a complete list of possible damning errors of which people can be guilty or could be guilty and the exact situations that would have to obtain in order for those sins in those particular circumstances to damn souls?

    I would love to hear Mac weigh in as to why he thinks God did not provide a list. If our obedience on every nuance is so critical, it seems logical that He would. I mean, He did for the Old Testament. Why is it in the New Covenant we have to interpret our list of rules from less concrete sources such as silences and examples?

  4. Thumper Says:

    Mac, as a conservative myself, you have missed the basic point here. You wrote:

    “They suggest that as long as a Christian continues in “penitence and faith,” they cannot be lost. So, sincerity saves the saint and not his obedience to the gospel! Galatians 5:4, 7 clearly shows that Jay and Todd are in error. “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace…Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth?” Nothing is said about any insincerity on the part of these fallen Galatians. Jay and Todd are contending that whatever sincere Christians do as sincere Christians, they are safe in the doing of it!”

    Your response is just wrong, I’m afraid. Those who would attempt justification by the law are no longer continuing in penitence and faith. That “faith” is faith in Christ as their Savior.

    The one attempting justification by the law has their faith in their own works and righteousness.

    No contradiction here at all to what Todd and Jay’s position is.

    Your response is making more conservatives sympathetic to Todd and Jay’s arguments than you realize.

    So far, the conservative position you have outlined appears tragically off the mark.

    Oh so sad.


  5. Mac’s response is the typical dribble put forth by the dogmatic sect within our brotherhood.

  6. Dusty Chris Says:

    I appreciate the effort and time it took Mac to respond, even knowing each word is scutinized and criticized…But that is what it takes for a conversation to take place.

    Mac’s response confused me. I carefully read the scriptures cited and couldn’t for the life of me piece them together to come up with the same conclusion. It made me think that the differences are not doctrinal (because Scripture is what it is) but preferential interpretation. Conservatives may read the same words progressives read and come to completely different conclusions. The Bible says what it says and leaves it open to for us to figure it out and obey the best way we can.

    In some ways the Bible is like reading email (or a blog) in which we cannot know the intonation, emphasis and intent of the writer (or what moved the writer) perfectly. Grace covers us as we try to understand and obey His Words.

    Mac’s answers (or non-answers) proved a point…the Bible is an elegant, story that does not have all the answers in rational black and white. It leaves some mystery to grace and faith which defy being completely and fully answered, until heaven. We may get tangled up in trying to prove each other wrong instead of proving that we have an incredible Savior that, through no merit of our own, loves and saves us.

    Enjoying the conversation…

  7. Dusty Chris Says:

    Thumper, what do you wish Mac had said? What would you say differently?

  8. J. T. Says:

    Mac & Phil wrote in responding to the idea of sin not being reckoned to one who is “in grace”:

    “So, either
    (1) Once saved always saved is true (which Jay and Todd say that they do not believe); or
    (2) Once saved, a person can sin so as to be lost and he forfeits grace.
    Thus, what they have described as “an entirely different possibility” is no solution whatever!”

    In view of this comment, how do you account for Romans 4:5-8?

    “(5) However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. (6) David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: (7) ‘Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (8) Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.'” (cf. Psalm 32:1-2)

    If I understand Jay and Todd, they are saying that as long as one continues to trust Christ as Savior and to have one’s heart turned toward God, they are in grace. Such people will do all in their power to please God – but will still fail. Saul of Tarsus was not in this condition before he met Jesus. He was trusting in his own righteousness under the law. The Galatians whom Paul warned in Galatians 5:4, 7 were not in this condition. They were trusting in the works of law.

    It is interesting to me that you neglected to reference the verses between Galatians 5:4 “you are fallen from grace” and verse 7 (who… kept you from obeying the truth?”. The verses in between read:

    “(5) But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. (6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts if faith expressing itself through love.”

    If those two verses do not summarize what Jay and Todd are saying, I am incapable of making sense of anything! (Which some people would say is true of me, but I don’t think it is in this instance!)

    In your discussion of “the truth” you take little account of the fact that Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Get your attitude and heart toward Jesus right, and you can be wrong about many things but still in grace. This is true because a heart fixed on Jesus is constantly being molded into His likeness by His Spirit within. On the other hand, a heart that is wrong about Jesus does not have faith in Him – and so that person is not in grace.


  9. Mac, you summarized Jay and Todd’s position as:

    “(1) Once saved always saved is true (which Jay and Todd say that they do not believe); or

    (2) Once saved, a person can sin so as to be lost and he forfeits grace.”

    I can think of at least one other way to interpret it:

    “(3) Once saved, a person can sin so as to be lost and he does not forfeit grace.”

    This would, of course, be the situation the apostle Peter found himself in when refusing to dine with Gentile Christians and upbraided by Paul. I should think it would be the hope of all those who seek to correct the perceptions of others about what’s right and what’s wrong: that the person who has sinned will be instructed about the error and repent. The question is what happens to the person who is not so instructed … or who is instructed about a matter which – like Peter’s – is not immediately clear. Paul felt it was a heinous sin to observe Jewish dietary laws in a Christian era. Peter evidently did not, by practice. Who was right?

    I don’t see this discussion as inherently different from the Catholic classification of sins as “mortal” or “venial.” The Bible makes no such distinction, and is generally open to interpretation about which sins are beyond penitence. Frankly, I believe that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit – the attribution of the label “evil” to God’s work in this world – is a sin beyond penitence. The sinner no longer has a clear concept of what is right and what is wrong; his/her conscience is “seared,” in Paul’s words.

    Beyond that, I must agree: the idea of compiling lists and classifications of sins is absurd. Sin separates us from God.

    But we can sin without knowing it – sin while thinking we are obeying God, as possibly Peter did. We all do!

    So, is it possible that the intent of New Testament scripture is NOT to re-tread the law (which cannot save), by creating new law? But to encourage is to live a life as close to Christ-like as we can … and trust God to apply His grace to our imperfect understanding and imperfect practice?

    Grace transcends all the logic of mankind and the classifications we may try to apply to satisfy our arrogant conviction that we have all the answers, can legislate them ourselves, and enforce them upon others (when the truth is that we cannot ourselves live up to them)!

    Grace leads us to obey. It does not require perfection. Perfection has already been provided in the life of Jesus. We obey in gratitude for what He provided with His very life-blood.

    I am disappointed that the conversations here seem to continue to turn on law rather than grace.


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