Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 3

Mac’s Answers to Jay’s and Todd’s Questions

by Mac Deaver

Now we turn to their new questions for us:

1. Yes, as for me, I will accept your summation as adequate for our discussion. On the summation itself Phil offers the following:

I object to the statement: “Not all doctrinal error damns.” I rather affirm, “All doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation.” Any human teaching or opinion has the potential to lead people away from God (Col.2:6-8).

Any teaching or opinion may become more than intended and may defile the many. Even if a doctrine is at first merely an opinion, that teaching can become (has the potential to be) bound as a tradition (Matt.15:1-14) or to cause a division (Titus 3:9-11).

This should not be understood to mean that I take back things I said about the patience of God. There is a time when men have opportunity to repent, but this period is not forever.

I do not think a belief has to be pressed on another. Paul said of false doctrine, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (Gal.5:9). People tend to do what they think is popular even when it is not right. When a false belief is known, others may ignorantly leave the truth on their own and adopt it. Peter was tempted by the behavior of the Jews and joined in their hypocrisy, standing “condemned” (Gal.2:11-14). They did not press him, but he joined them in rebellion to the truth of the gospel…The list is by no means exhaustive. I could not, for instance, teach heresy about the nature of Christ and be right with God. Nor could I affirm that there is more than one church and remain right in God’s eyes. I also believe fiddling with the organization of the church is damnable. The pastor system among the denominations is simply wrong.

2. Not necessarily.

3. Not necessarily if he presents his view as a matter of opinion. If he becomes factious, he stands condemned (Titl.3:10, 11).

4. Not necessarily.

5. Not necessarily. I do not know. If he becomes factious he is lost (Tit.3:10, 11). It is possible that a teacher can teach something wrong and he himself not be guilty of the thing of which he theoretically approves. If the teacher never becomes an adulterer, it is conceivable to me that though he is wrong in his concept, he is not wrong in his personal practice, if he does not commit adultery himself. It is possible that a preacher could be wrong on some aspect of marriage and divorce and yet no one in his congregation ever commit adultery. The preacher certainly bears responsibility for teaching a doctrine that if followed causes sin. However, every brother and sister finally and ultimately bears individual responsibility for whether or not they accept what is taught as actual truth. We are all to search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). How far God will go in extending grace to teachers regarding complex issues when the teachers themselves make a logical mistake but do not commit actual sin sanctioned by the theoretical mistake, I do not know though allowance for mistake that, in effect, sanctions sin seems slight (Jas.3:1).

6. I don’t know. You do not say what the facts are regarding the man and his wife as to whether or not the husband did, in fact, commit adultery against her. You only state what the elder believes. If the elder knows that fornication was not committed against the woman before she remarried, and he extends spiritual fellowship to her in welcoming her and her new “husband” into the congregation, he sins in so doing, and, as far as I can see, would at that point be lost (cf. Heb.13:17).

7. Not necessarily.

8. I would say so because of his factiousness (Tit.3:10, 11).

9. He is wrong if he considers others lost who use multiple containers lost, and I would say that he would be lost.. He is not lost if he uses the one cup only as a preference. If he doesn’t “fellowship” multiple container users (for conscience’ sake) in the sense of participating with them in their communion service, but does consider them saved, he is not lost in regard to this topic.

10. He could be lost. If he is covetous, it would seem that he is lost (1 Cor.5:11; Eph.5:5).

11. Not necessarily. Fellowship, as far as the concept of “participation” is concerned is basically a congregational matter. There are things that we continually do as regular practice that we have no control over in other congregations and from which we would, perhaps, abstain. Our “fellowshipping” others in other congregations as brothers does not mean that we necessarily endorse what they do in constant, regular, weekly, worship or that we would necessarily participate with them in all that they do.

12. No.

13. He is wrong to say that these folk do not need to repent of their sinful practice. He is wrong if he sings with them in worship to the accompaniment of mechanical instruments. He is not wrong in “fellowshipping” them in the sense of counting them as brethren. What God will do with him, I do not know.

14. Not necessarily, I would say. It would depend on what the difference actually is.

15. Not necessarily.

As an explanation to the above answers, let me make the point that while we have to wrestle with sin and error, and while we have to do certain things to protect the local congregation, we do not know and cannot know in all cases the ultimate salvation/damnation outcome of every individual. If the practice of pure Christianity depends upon our knowing the eventual eternal destiny of everyone or even of many with whom we have to spiritually do on this earth, we cannot practice Christianity. We are not God in whose hands ultimate judgment rests.  God knows the hearts in a way that we cannot (Acts 1:24). Paul teaches us that there are some things we can not determine “before the time” because some things cannot by us be known (1 Cor.4:5), and Jesus teaches us that some things are so alike some other things, that God will finally determine the cases himself (Matt.13:24-30, 36-43). But, any position taken regarding the practice of obligatory truth that undermines either (1) the possibility of knowing truth itself or (2) the possibility of actual obligation to truth because of or on the basis of human finitude is an unscriptural approach to both truth and to obligation and one winds up facing the difficulties that Jay and Todd now face.

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6 Comments on “Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 3”

  1. J. T. Says:

    Mac & Phil,
    I found it difficult to follow your answers because I had to continually cross-reference to the questions. Jay & Todd were helpful in inserting the question they were answering into the text of their reply. Could you possibly do the same in the future?

  2. Alan Says:

    Note, Todd and Jay admit… But, then they say… So, it is impossible for a sincere Christian to subscribe to a doctrine that damns his soul! … What confusion!
    Mac, once again, you really should spend more time trying to understand what Jay and Todd are saying before you respond. They’ve already agreed that some doctrinal errors damn. Jay and Todd are neither confused nor incompetent. You are arguing against a straw man which you invented.

  3. Alan Says:

    Repairing my quoting syntax.. sorry for the double post!

    Note, Todd and Jay admit… But, then they say… So, it is impossible for a sincere Christian to subscribe to a doctrine that damns his soul! … What confusion!

    Mac, once again, you really should spend more time trying to understand what Jay and Todd are saying before you respond. They’ve already agreed that some doctrinal errors damn. Jay and Todd are neither confused nor incompetent. You are arguing against a straw man which you invented.

  4. Nick Gill Says:

    If the practice of pure Christianity depends upon our knowing the eventual eternal destiny of everyone or even of many with whom we have to spiritually do on this earth, we cannot practice Christianity. We are not God in whose hands ultimate judgment rests. God knows the hearts in a way that we cannot (Acts 1:24). Paul teaches us that there are some things we can not determine “before the time” because some things cannot by us be known (1 Cor.4:5), and Jesus teaches us that some things are so alike some other things, that God will finally determine the cases himself (Matt.13:24-30, 36-43).

    Therefore, it is impossible for a Christian to know whether or not they are saved.

  5. laymond Says:

    Right you are Nick, If we could make the judgment that as to who is saved, why will there be a judgment day?

  6. laymond Says:

    I wonder what Paul would say about this discussion here,well maybe I don’t need to wonder.

    1: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
    2: Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
    3: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
    4: For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. (I believe Paul is saying think of us as faithful messengers, not judges)( I believe that is what is required of Christians today, be faithful messengers, not judges)
    5: Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
    ( when one says “I know I am saved, and you are not” is this not prejudging? judging before it is time for judgment)
    6: And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

    (that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written,)


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