Faith

WHY ARE SOME ADVOCATING NOT TO USE "FAITH" AND "BELIEVE" IN PRESENTING THE GOSPEL?

In some of the comments that have been offered, “believing” is said to be a work that one does to save himself. Believing in Christ and his accomplished work of salvation is not described as a work on our part in the scriptures.

I believe that Christ lived, died, rose, and ascended for the salvation of all humanity and has become the savior of the world in doing so (1 Tim. 2:6; 4:10; 1 Jn 2:2)and all of this was by grace. The scriptures say that we have access by faith into the grace in which we now stand (Ro. 5:2). It is provided freely by God’s grace and is received or becomes effective through the medium of faith (Eph. 2:8-9). We are not saved because of or on account of our faith. Faith is a gift to us (Ro. 12:3) and the object of our faith is Christ.

Faith is the medium through which we receive salvation and all of its detailed elements including adoption. The Greek word “dia” is a preposition and its meaning is determined by the case of its noun object. In passages where we are told that righteousness (Phil. 3:9), sanctification (Ac. 26:18), or adoption (Gal.3:26) is through faith, the noun “faith” is in the
genitive case and should be translated as “by” or “through” as a medium or channel through which it is received. If “faith” were in the accusative then it would mean “because” or “on the account of”. If our salvation was “because” of our faith, it would be a work to earn our salvation. But the scriptures are telling us that our faith is a medium through which we
receive what is mentioned when we believe in the object of our faith, which is Christ.

The whole human race was reconciled, adopted, sanctified, made righteous, justified, and glorified in Christ historically by his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. It is sufficient for the whole world but is only effective to those who receive it through the medium of faith. Only
believers believe (have faith) in Christ. I have for years preached that Christ died for the world making the provision available. It not only entailed his death, but his life of righteousness also. This is the righteousness of God that we received through the medium of faith. And this
is the righteousness needed for salvation.

JOHN HUFFMAN

Comments

  1. John raises a number of important points. It highlights the limitations of a blog like this in being able to adequately address all the issues at stake in this theology.

    Until we get a face to face forum where questions can be discussed in real time we'll have to make do with partial - and often confusing - discussion in this environment.

    So, without trying to create a huge long post to address all the issues, I would say this by way of summary:

    When we correctly answer the question "who is Jesus?" we realize that saying the work of Christ is sufficient for the whole world but is only effective to those who receive it through the medium of faith makes sense from a standpoint of human logic but is not biblical.

    Here's why: the bible very clearly states that Jesus is the Son of God, the one in whom all humanity lives, moves and exists.

    Everyone reading this blog needs to go study the following verses if you haven't already: Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:2-3; John 1:3-4; Eph. 1:23; Eph. 4:10; Acts 17:28.

    If you read these verses you will see that Jesus is in relationship and connection with all humanity and all creation.

    This means that wherever Jesus goes and whatever happens to Jesus, humanity goes with him and humanity experiences what he experiences.

    So, when he dies, we die (2 Cor. 5:14.) When he rises, we rise (Eph. 2:6.) His one act of righteousness makes all people righteous and gives them all life (Rom. 5:18.)

    The bible says that humanity is in Christ, we have died, risen, and been made righteous in him. Our belief does not cause us to die to sin - Jesus does. Our belief does not cause us to rise to new life - Jesus does. Our belief does not cause us to be made righteous - Jesus does.

    Because all people live in connection and relationship with Jesus his work is both sufficient and effective for all people.

    Here's an analogy: my parents caused me to be born without any decision, will, or belief on my part. They brought me into existence and I can believe they are my parents or not believe it, but my belief has no impact on what is real and true. They are my parents, through faith in the truth of that fact I can enjoy my relationship with them but my faith does not cause them to become my parents. That relationship is already established by them, with and for me.

    Likewise, Jesus has caused humanity to be adopted as children of the Father (Eph. 1:3-4.) That relationship is already established, by the Father, in the Son, through the Spirit, with and for humanity. Through faith in the truth of that fact we can enjoy our relationship with the Father but our faith does not cause him to become our Father. Jesus has already caused him to be our Father by including us in himself and in his relationship with the Father.

    Belief is important. It is the second most important thing in our lives. The thing that is of first importance is that humanity has been reconciled to the Father (Col. 1:19-20.) The second most important thing is that humanity believe this.

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  2. It is interesting to note in Ro.5:19 where Paul stated that by the disobedience of one man many were made sinners (Aorist Pass.), so also by the obedience of one many shall be made (Future Ind. Pass.) righteous. The Aorist tense in Greek makes a statement of fact. Many were made sinners. The Future Indicative Passive indicates that the righteousness of many is to come in the future. This was stated by Paul after what Christ accomplished 2,000 years ago. In other words, if “ALL” have been saved they would “ALL” already be righteous. The fact is that the believer’s righteousness is from God through faith. We are “in Christ”, that is due to our spiritual relationship with Christ. We are righteous spiritually, just as we are dead to our sins and crucified with Him spiritually. We are also resurrected spiritually to a new life and are ascended spiritually into the heavenly realms with Him, and seated spiritually with him.

    Ro. 5:18 is used to make the claim that condemnation came to all men because of the offense by one man. Also that justification came to all men because of the righteousness of one man. Then the leap is made in v. 19, by saying that by the obedience of one ALL are made righteous. According to the “Adoption Theology” all have been made righteous, 2,000 years ago, whether they believe it or not. It is the objective (historical) truth of what God has completed in Christ.

    But let’s back up to Ro. 5:12 and pay attention to when ALL is used and not used.
    V.12- Death passed to ALL [Grk. Pantas] MEN [mankind] for ALL sinned [in Adam].
    V.13- See NIV.
    v. 14- See NIV.
    V. 15- By the offense of one MANY [polloi] died [Not “all” because Jesus didn’t have to died for this offense], much more the grace of God, and the gift in grace, which is of one man Jesus Christ, abounded to MANY [the same many excluding Jesus].
    V.17- See NIV.
    V. 18- So then as by the offense of one condemnation to ALL MEN [mankind], so also by one righteousness to ALL MEN [mankind]. The provision of justification is for All, to be received through faith.
    V. 19- For as by the disobedience of one man the MANY were made sinners [Aorist pass.], so also by the obedience of the one the MANY SHALL BE MADE [Fut. Ind Pass.] righteous.

    The “many” who were made sinners was mankind excluding Jesus who never came under that condemnation by virtue of his virgin birth and the fact that he lived a righteous, sinless life. So this could mean that all mankind (the “many” excluding Jesus) shall (in the future) receive salvation, especially by way of the judgment for those who do not accept or believe the truth now. It could also mean that everybody will not ultimately receive salvation, just a majority.

    This is an open question, BUT WHAT IT DOES NOT SAY is that ALL MEN [mankind] have already been made righteous through what Christ has accomplished. Believers have it spiritually through faith.

    When Christ returns the dead in Christ and those in Christ who are alive at that time will actually become righteous and immortal as they are glorified because they had believed in their lifetime and received the Holy Spirit as a seal and deposit guaranteeing their inheritance with Jesus as his bride. These are the ones who spiritually had Christ’s righteousness through faith in their lifetime, but will then actually be righteous in their glorified, immortal existence.

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  3. Jonathan,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph. Christ reconciled all humanity removing the barrier between God and man. 2 Cor. 5:17-20 certainly says this and also gives the command for mankind to be reconciled. In other words, do their part. They are the ones who have a wrong picture of who God the Father is and Who Jesus is. God in Christ has done his part. Belief is the second most important thing.

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  4. Jonathan,
    I agree with you that we all died (2 Cor. 5:14)in him and rose in him (Eph. 2:6). Paul and Jesus through John's gospel say the same thing.

    Paul says that he has been crucified with Christ. Of course, he is speaking spiritually. He is identifying with Christ’s death (Gal.2:20). He died in Christ spiritually.

    Jesus said “whoever hears my word and believes who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned”, a guarantee for believers. He went on to say that “… a time is coming AND HAS NOW COME when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live [have eternal life, not immortality]” (Jn. 5:24-25). The is a spiritual resurrection and, in line with the Amillennial approach to interpreting scripture, is the first resurrection, against which the second death has no power (Rev. 20:6). But again we have not been literally resurrected. We were spiritually DEAD in our sins IN ADAM and now through the medium of faith have been spiritually resurrected and are now IN CHRIST.
    Jn. 5:28-30 speak of the literal resurrection when Jesus returns.

    Being IN CHRIST is our new status. We are a new creation, spiritually speaking (2 Cor. 5:17). We will literally be a new creation when we are glorified. “… Now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 3:2).

    We have been reconciled (2 Cor. 5:18) in that he completed the whole process and accepted all. It remains for mankind to be reconciled by believing in Jesus and receive salvation which is a gift by grace, through the medium of faith (Eph. 2:8-9). We receive sanctification, justification, adoption, and righteousness through faith (Ac. 26:18; Gal. 2:16; Gal. 3:26; Phil. 3:9).

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  5. Hi John,

    Just thinking about the comments and the reasoning regarding Adam,disobedience, Jesus Christ, righteousness,faith, verb tenses, etc.

    It seems the bottom line of the comments are (and I may be missing something) that:

    Adam has the power by his single act without our faith to pass sin, condemnation, and death to all humanity without their consent or belief...

    But Jesus Christ God , Light of the Cosmos, Creator of the Universe, the Father's Son in whom He delights, who has all power in heaven and earth can't make us righteous through his perfect faith in the Father, perfect life, perfect baptism, perfect overcoming temptation, perfect death of God, His resurrection, ascension, and cession in which the Bible says to took us to the father's right side (in the past and from all eternity)...Jesus God can't do this without having our faith.....this proposition about Adam and the results of his action on all humanity compared to Jesus and his action on all humanity...seems like you are bottom line saying Adam is more powerful than Jesus God...because he can't reverse Adam's passing of sin and death on humanity without man's faith...when Adam never ask our consent at all.... that small "jesus god" is not the Light of the Cosmos and Creator of the Universe I've come to know...help me with this.

    Steve Burns

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  6. Here's an interesting quote from page 143 in "Pastoral Ministry according to Paul" by James W. Thompson. This is one of the books assigned for our ACCM Epistles of Paul class.

    "In the twofold interpretation of the Christian story in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Paul indicates the implications of the Christian narrative for his relationship to the Corinthians. In the first interpretation ('therefore all died'), he includes 'all' - the entire believing community - in the Christian narrative. He is linked with the Corinthians as they together share the narrative of Christ. The principle state in the second interpretation of the Christian story in 5:15 ('that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them' [NRSV]) applies especially to Paul, but it also links him with every believer who participates in the death of Christ. Just as Paul assumes that 'we all' are being transformed into the image of Christ, he assumes that 'all' died with Christ and no longer live for themselves. Paul's aim is a transformed community that shares with him the continuing significance of the cross."

    By the way, Jonathan, thanks for the "Who is Jesus" Powerpoint. I gave that sermon last Sunday.

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  7. To demonstrate my understanding of what the WCG is teaching, I’ll list a one quote written that seems to sum up the new theology. “No matter what (unbelievers) believe, they are just like us. They are included, adopted, redeemed and have the Holy Spirit living in them. They don’t know any of this about themselves and that leaves them lost in the dark about their real identity as children of the Father.” This would tend to lead to the idea of universal salvation but subsequent writings I‘ve read unequivocally state that some individuals will still experience Hell by choice. I’ll not attempt to consider the theological gymnastics involved with ‘saved’ people being in Hell. Rather, I just want to consider the belief that all people have the Holy Spirit living in them in the personal sense (not in the sustaining sense as referred to of Christ in Colossians 1:17) and that everyone is adopted in Christ. If I am misunderstanding what is being taught, I apologize.

    In contrast to this WCG theology that all people have been adopted in Christ, John Huffman has presented the traditional, orthodox understanding of salvation his writings. I assume everyone understands the WCG teaching is no longer the traditional, orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical understanding of salvation. We can sum up the traditional view in the words of Billy Graham. One simple approach he uses can be summed up with the 4 ‘r’ approach. Recognize God’s love; Realize your predicament (separation by sin); respond in repentance; receive Christ in faith; Others will use various jargon; accept Christ, make a decision for Christ, choose Christ, be born again. The impetus is the same.

    Given our own history we might pause for a moment. Are we once again asserting to be the heralds of new truths or newly rediscovered truths that have been relegated at best to neo-orthodoxy? The current teaching of the WCG is more in line with Karl Barth’s theology, who taught not a strict universalism, but rather a universal election in the individual sense (as opposed to the Armenian corporate sense).

    Therefore when myself and others question this brand of Trinitarian theology, it’s not a question of God’s love. It’s a question of what is true. Ultimately, the question is whether or not the Bible supports the theology. This question should always be asked, but is most apropos in this instance for two reasons. The first was already mentioned in respect to the long held understanding in the church. The second reason is because Barth did not accept the infallibility of the Scriptures. Barth made no apologies for his approach, so we at least can give him credit for being honest. His belief was that the Scriptures contained, not just grammatical error, but error in actual intent. In other words, in Barth’s view, the Bible is not 100% the Word of God. It is rather a word about God.

    This in my mind certainly does not make everything that Barth says to be of no value. But I hope we are all in agreement that having a theology that sets aside Scripture as the fundamental determiner of doctrine represents a fundamental flaw in thinking (II TIMOTHY 3:16-17; JOHN 10:35; JOHN 17:17). The Bible attests and explains Christ’s saving work. The Bible is also clear that Jesus’ revealed saving work must be applied to Biblical interpretation (LUKE 24:25-27). However the Bible nowhere instructs us to take all Scriptures and somehow try to filter much of what is direct and plain speak through the shaded, awesome, and unobtainable doctrine of the Trinity. The Scriptures are actually all we have to give us objective truth of the Trinity and other doctrines (through the Spirit’s enabling).

    The written word is not in tension with the Living Word. God breathed the written word. John Huffman has made numerous references to the plan of salvation plainly laid out in Scripture. He has brought out the resultant conundrum from the Trinitarian Theology espoused. How is Jesus’ grace applied to sinners? The teaching of Scripture is through faith, not automatically. I’ll not repeat the Scriptures John has already given.

    Everyone does not have the Holy Spirit living in them (ROMANS 8:9-11, I JOHN 5:12, II CORINTIHANS 13:5). Further, those who do not believe in Christ are still in the predicament of being under sin’s death penalty and subject to God’s wrath (JOHN 3:18, 36; II THESSALONIANS 1:8-10; REVELATION 19:15, ROMANS 2:5-11). These Scriptures are not a fiction. Man is sinful and in a lost condition before an all Holy God until Christ is received in faith. Lostness is not a figment of one’s imagination. The channel of faith is given by God not only to accept the gift but to also allow a free will individual to construct his or her own dam and thus deny the gift if they so choose.

    Evil is real (contrast to Barth’s notion of it’s nothingness origin). The idea that everyone has the Holy Spirit living in them is incredible given the atrocities we see in the world. Children are raped. Genocide occurs. People are butchered. Are we to conclude that the Holy Spirit is active or dormant in the lives of these malevolent individuals? Such an approach calls into question the doctrine of sanctification. When Jesus is really received into the life of an individual, transformation really takes place. This is not legalism. The is the reality of an all powerful, all Holy God taking residence in the life of sinful man. Hence the consistent calls in Scripture to personal holiness and the numerous warnings in Scripture to examine our walk and watch our conduct (ROMANS 6, ROMANS 12, EPHESIANS 4:17-32; MATTHEW 7:15-27; LUKE 6:43-49). The list goes on and on. In fact one is hard pressed to open the New Testament and not find calls to personal holiness, not to be saved, but as evidence we are.

    Some supporters of the WCG theology make hyperbolic statements suggesting that the expectation of any fruit in the lives of Christians is akin to teaching a grace-work salvation. That is simply a misrepresentation. The Bible is clear. If we are controlled by the Holy Spirit, we are not controlled by the sinful nature. Of course the sinful nature remains, but it’s power is broken. The tide of our Christian walk should be advancing even though the waves of our sin constantly knock us around and down. In other words, while we repeatedly slip and fall, we are persistently progressing in a more Christ life walk enabled by very power of Christ.

    We probably all agree that certain passages can be singled out to build a theological framework. That’s why we have so many variants of theology. It’s also why we must study the Bible intently, to rightly divide the word of truth. It takes a whole Bible to make a whole Christian. The evil one fires two bullets at us intellectually but it’s the only two he has in his gun and he’s been firing them since Eden. “Oh, did God really say that? Well if He did say it, He didn’t mean it.” The Bible is an infallible record of what God says and means. The plain things are the main things and the truth of the gospel is made plain over and over again in numerous Scriptures. The gospel is not expressed as “Christ died, you‘re adopted and saved.” The gospel is repeatedly expressed as salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Those in Christ then have the Spirit of adoption awaiting the actual fulfillment of adoption (ROMANS 8). Man’s ability to receive grace is a gift, but it must be received in saving belief (JOHN 1:12; ROMANS 8:15; COLOSSIANS 2:6) and it is not transmuted automatically nor forced. And the gift is eternal life, for whosoever has the Son has life.

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  8. Hi Tony and John,

    I am still just thinking about the comments and the reasoning regarding Adam,disobedience, Jesus Christ, righteousness,faith, verb tenses, etc. and Tony's most recent post just above...

    It seems the bottom line of the comments are (and I may be missing something) that:

    Adam has the power by his single act without our faith to pass sin, condemnation, and death to all humanity without their consent or belief...

    But Jesus Christ God , Light of the Cosmos, Creator of the Universe, the Father's Son in whom He delights, who has all power in heaven and earth can't make us righteous through his perfect faith in the Father, perfect life, perfect baptism, perfect overcoming temptation, perfect death of God, His resurrection, ascension, and cession in which the Bible says to took us to the father's right side (in the past and from all eternity)...Jesus God can't do this without having our faith.....this proposition about Adam and the results of his action on all humanity compared to Jesus and his action on all humanity...seems like you are bottom line saying Adam is more powerful than Jesus God...because he can't reverse Adam's passing of sin and death on humanity without man's faith...when Adam never ask our consent at all.... that small "jesus god" is not the Light of the Cosmos and Creator of the Universe I've come to know...help me with this.

    Who is Jesus and is He more powerful than Adam as discussed in my post...Adam got the whole human race separated by his sin and brought sin and death on ALL humanity but the Lord Jesus Christ can't reverse Adam's sin and death without our faith...
    Romans 5: 18 NASB "So then as through ONE transgression there resulted condemnation to ALL men(who in humanity was not "included" in that all?) , even so through ONE act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to ALL men." (does Christ's act include a smaller "all" than Adam's "all" in the very same verse?)
    So my question is again....
    ....this proposition about Adam and the results of his action on all humanity compared to Jesus and his action on all humanity...seems like you both are bottom line saying Adam is more powerful than Jesus God...because he can't reverse Adam's passing of sin and death on humanity without man's faith...when Adam never ask our consent at all....
    Please, again, help me with this...

    Steve Burns

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  9. No! Adam is not more powerful than Jesus. Jesus IS all that you described. He is awesome and powerful, but salvation did not come to mankind in the same way that sin did. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

    Remember the jailer who asked Peter and Silas: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
    And they said, you don’t have to do anything; you are already saved!

    No, that is not what they said. “They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…’.” Here goes the tenses again. They didn’t indicate that he was saved. They said you WILL BE SAVED (fut. tense) when you believe.

    You mentioned Ro. 5:18. I explained that in the same comment to which you are referring. Here is how it is stated in the Greek: “So then as by one offense [it was] towards all men to condemnation, so also by one righteousness towards all men to justification of life.”

    God breathed the breath of life (literally said lives, mankind to exist later). When Adam sinned, this nature and condemnation was passed to his offspring. Christ through his incarnation produced righteousness and never succumbed to sin. This is the righteousness that we need for salvation. This verse is saying that because of him this righteousness is now available to ALL MANKIND. It’s available and through faith God considers those of us who believe to have it now; however, we are not really righteous yet.

    Ro. 5:19 tells us that MANY were made sinners but those only who have his righteousness through faith shall be made righteous (fut. tense) by him at his return. We have to be righteous to receive immortality and God is not leaving it up to chance. He will provide it for us at that time. We will actually be righteous. In the mean time we have it by faith (God considers us righteous as his Son is). Only those who have faith receive it. Those without faith do not receive it even though it is available for ALL.

    I hope you don’t think that I am objecting to who Jesus is, and what he has done, and his power to save. I am challenging those who want to get away from prepositional theology as Karl Barth did. I am challenging those who want to tell us about salvation from a purely subjective perspective of who they say Jesus is, and what they say he has done, and how they say he has accomplished it, without regard to scriptural parameters. Karl Barth believed that the scriptures were written by man and that the Word of God – Jesus was “The Revelation” from God. The next time you prepare a sermon, try doing it without recourse to scripture. The scriptures give us boundaries; otherwise, we could preach any idea that was appealing to us. I think this Adoption Theology is appealing for some, and they are sticking to it regardless of many plain scriptures. You may have noticed that I don’t just stick to three or four scriptures to answer all questions.

    I hope this helps.

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  10. Quoting from Tony's second paragraph above --In contrast to this WCG theology that all people have been adopted in Christ, John Huffman has presented the traditional, orthodox understanding of salvation his writings. I assume everyone understands the WCG teaching is no longer the traditional, orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical understanding of salvation.

    My response to that would be:
    Athanasian Creed -- Fifth-century creed traditionally ascribed to Anthanasius (d. 373) …It expounds orthodox Christian views of the trinity and the incarnation, warning that these beliefs are indispensable for salvation. (P.20 Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Donald K. McKim.)

    Athanasianism – (same reference) Views based on the writings of Athanasius (c.293-373), bishop of Alexandria, who vigorously defended the teachings of the Council of Nicea (325) that Jesus Christ was eternally divine and fully God . He contended against Arianism (Jesus is not God but a created being not truly all powerful like God).

    Athanasius fought tenaciously for the Orthodox teaching about Jesus Christ. He fought Arius and most of the church at the time about the truth about Jesus. You see Jonathan Stepp’s repeated statement “Who is Jesus” is the key to all truly orthodox teaching.

    Now let’s look at one of the writings of the truly orthodox warrior , Athanasius 'On the Incarnation'*. Here is a quote from him about the inclusion of all in the saving work of Christ. Consider this quote from section XX.2 ... talking of Jesus he says ...(centuries prior to Karl Barth or WCG)

    “it was owing that all should die, for which especial cause, indeed, he came among us: to this intent, after the proofs of his Godhead from his works, he next offered up his sacrifice also on behalf of all, yielding his Temple to death in the stead of all, in order to firstly make men quit and free of their old trespass, and further to show himself more powerful even than death, displaying his own body incorruptible, as first-fruits of the resurrection of all.”

    According to my reading of Athanasius he is saying Jesus died for all people, and in the place of all people, with the result that his resurrection secures the resurrection of all. This does not mean that Athanasius was a literal universalist (everyone gets to heaven in the end), he understood that Christ’s work objectively saved all but that does not mandate that all will receive and accept that work by the faith OF Christ IN the Father. You see Christ has to provide THE faith to us as well. ( ie. The older son in the Prodigal Son parable demonstrates in Jesus words that all will not receive the grace that is already theirs.)

    Did you notice in Athanasius’ quote above he directly says Jesus is more powerful than death (Adam’s heritage). Yes, Jesus is more powerful than death, than Adam, than Satan, ..This Jesus Christ is Lord and Light of the Cosmos and is not subservient to the “faith” of fallen mankind. This is all about “Who is Jesus”. This is not an exegetical problem…this is a “set of glasses” problem. Can you be hyperbolic when describing the objective work of our Lord Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of the Father who delights in him and anoints Him with the Spirit without measure…before whom every knee shall bow …glory be too Him forever and forever.

    ( As far as scriptures go, multiple scriptures have been cited by many people demonstrating Christ as Savior of all, died for all, ad infinitum. If scriptures are a proble...would you like me to post some scriptures? Reference my previous post..."why do people not like or accept this teaching?"...but I have more...

    In the Orthodox faith of the early fathers,
    Steve Burns

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  11. Steve, I meant the comments I made about orthodox, Evangelical teaching in a more restrictive sense. Doctrinally, I was only making reference to the teaching about salvation through faith as opposed to salvation being applied to all because Christ died. My point was that Evangelicals have in large measure held to the former and not the latter. You could go ask some Evangelical pastors in your area if they believe that unbelievers are saved, adopted and have the Holy Spirit living in them. I think their answers will explain what I was trying to get at. Sorry for any confusion.

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  12. Hi Tony,
    You're right, I didn't see what you meant about "restrictive sense". But help me and correct me if I'm wrong...if you are going to use a "restrictive sense" then Billy Graham himself would be considered less than "orthodox" by the various Baptists groups in different parts of the country...do you know Billy Graham has never been able to give a campaign in Harrisburg, PA because there are so many pastors in Harrisburg who totally disagree with his theology of evangelism and they think his campaigns don't really produce long term commitment. I found out about that because after attending the BGSE in Toronto, Canada , I met with the largest prayer group of pastor's in Harrisburg area to try to get something started for a BGEA local campaign. members of that big group of pastors and a fellow in my local ministerium both explained that "Billy Graham" would never be accepted by the pastor's of this community. A couple of the pastor's whom I inquired with after the huge cold shoulder commented BGEA would be "sheep stealers" for some of the local Baptist churches. But not apparently for the branch of Baptists called the Northern Baptists because those Baptists don't share all of Billy's theology. They are a different branch of the Baptists. I'm not sure which branch of the Baptist's are more orthodox. Do you?
    My mother took me to Sunday school at the First Baptist Church in Gladewater, Tx. when I was a child but I don't know which branch that was...probably Southern Baptist.

    I get confused trying to compare all these views and keep it straight especially if I use the "restrictive sense".

    Could you help me with this?

    Steve Burns
    PS By the way, what did you think of Athanasius and his comment so long ago?

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