I'm sure my denomination is closer to the truth than..."

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Jack Matthews, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews
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    For quite a while now, I've been involved with a small group that gets together on Sunday nights and worships, prays, and does an in-depth study of the scripture. The three individuals who more or less develop and conduct the Bible study come from different denominational backgrounds, as well as a career background of writing and teaching Christian theology and doctrine. The group was originally launched by a non-denominational church, but as it has grown and formed over time, it has picked up members from a wide variety of denominational backgrounds. Within its membership are people who belong to Baptist (2 kinds), Nazarene, Catholic, Church of Christ, Disciples of Christ, Assembly of God, Quaker and Evangelical Presbyterian churches. It's a group of about 25 people right now.

    The Bible study is very in depth, and on occasion, various perspectives representing specific denominational views, do work their way in, not in an aggressive, pushy sort of way, but for comparison. I've observed two things. One, agreement on what are the essentials of Christian faith, and on those essentials, is virtually unanimous, and two, not a single person in the group has ever stated that they believe their denominational perspective is superior to any other. There is obviously contrast between denominational views on secondary issues and on what I call tertiary issues. Most of that involves a different way of looking at particular passages of scripture, actually, it almost always involves preconceptions rather than an objective look. After a long discussion one night over whether the church is connectional, hierarchial, or congregational in the scripture, one of our Catholic members brought a Catechism of the Church to the next meeting. It was the most thoroughly written interpretation of the subject, with far more Biblical content than anyone else provided. I borrowed the book, and after wading through it, discovered it to be a very well written, detailed, systematic document, with scripture essentially supporting, according to their interpretation of course, every point. It is far more detailed than any systematic theology I've seen from a Baptist or Evangelical author.

    I don't feel compelled, in this environment, to lay claim to my denomination being closer to the truth than anyone else. When it comes down to it, applying an objective interpretation of scripture virtually precludes such a conclusion. Personal experience and education affects the way scripture is interpreted and evaluated. Different doesn't necessarily mean that one is right and one is wrong, it could very well be that both are wrong, or that there are parts of correct interpretation in both views, not contradictory, just seen differently.
     
  2. mont974x4

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    I would not join such a group as it includes people from groups that believe and teach things that are counter to Scripture. I am not talking about minor issues but essential doctrines related to the person and work of Christ. These are essential because they are salvation issues.
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    I would imagine that the "in-depth" studies are in reality very superficial when it comes to pivotal points of essential differences. For example, how many of your group believes in justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without works before God in contradistinction to a more comprehensive justification in connection with regenerative faith which is always with works before men?

    I have read many indepth studies on the nature of the Church and the vast cannot majority cannot correctly draw the line of distinction between ecclesiology and soteriology.

    I have heard much about so-called in-depth studies which are nothing more than superficial studies that stay above the real points of issue.
     
    #3 The Biblicist, Nov 28, 2012
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  4. drfuss

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    Biblicist writes:
    "I would imagine that the "in-depth" studies are in reality very superficial when it comes to pivotal points of essential differences. For example, how many of your group believes in justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without works before God in contradistinction to a more comprehensive justification in connection with regenerative faith which is always with works before men?"

    I'm courious, which denominations do you say do not believe in justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without works before God?
     
  5. The Biblicist

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    It is far easier to list those who do believe in it than those who don't. Nearly every one listed by Jack does not. The vast majority of Christendom and its denominations utterly repudiate it. All denominations that believe that true born again children of God can be lost repudiate it!
     
  6. drfuss

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    Really? There is so much incorrect information floating around in eternal security circles, about what other denominations believe concerning works. Suggest you check the denominations websites to see what they actually say about works. Don't depend on what you have been told from eternal security types or things written by eternal security believers about other denominations. Or even by some individuals who don't believe in eternal security, but are promoting a fringe doctrine.

    Quotes from the denominational websites would be more convincing.
     
  7. The Biblicist

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    I have been dealing with this issue among various denominations for over 40 years. It is impossible to believe that a true child of God can lose their salvation and at the same time believe justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without works. Why is it impossible? Glad you asked! Because obviously if salvation is lost it is not due to Christ's failure or insufficiency and that leaves but one other alternative doesn't it? Whether you want to call that "bad" work free choice, refusal to repent, or whatever else you might like to candy coat it, it still comes down to works or what the believer either did wrong or failed to do right. I might remind our readers that it is the human will that foremost needs salvation from sin as it is but the expression of a persons mind and heart and if that is not saved from unbelief then they have not been given a new heart!
     
    #7 The Biblicist, Nov 28, 2012
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  8. drfuss

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    Biblicist, there was a Dr. Walter on here a while back that took the same position as you are taking. Are you the same person?

    Both of your positions are that you know more about what the various denominations believe in than what they do themselves. Both refused to actually check out the actual beliefs of the denominations.

    As I indicated before, there is so much incorrect information floating around in eternal security circles for many years, about what other denominations believe concerning works. Don't depend on what you have been told from eternal security types or things written by eternal security believers about other denominations. Or even by some individuals who don't believe in eternal security, but are promoting a fringe doctrine. Go to the denomination itself and get the real information first hand from their website.
     
  9. The Biblicist

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    I have checked it out and what it comes down to is semantics and definitions of similar terms. Certainly most denominations deny they are justified by works but that they are justified by grace yet it all boils down to how they DEFINE "grace" and "works" "justification" "saved" etc.

    If you want a clear case in point look up the debates on John 6:37-40 and you will discover the DRASTIC difference between justificaiton by grace according to Scriptures and "grace without works" defined by the majority of denominations - it hits the fan with such texts as John 6:39.

    I can tell you have not really got down into the nit grit of things. You accept the superficial terms. You ought to know that even Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons use the same Biblical terms evangelicals do but with different meanings.

    I have read the Lutheran articles of faith. I have read the Assembly of God article of faith. I have read the Roman Catholic Catechism. I have read Weslian articles of faith. I have read many other articles of faith from various denominations. Better yet I have debated them all and I know first hand how they define the terms.

    If you have been any time on this forum you should have seen the obvious and open disagreements on this very issue in regard to explaining terms differently but still using the same terms. if not, please go back and read pages upon pages that are very much available on this forum.

    If you want a case in point just look up any thread where John 6:37-40 is debated or Romans 4:11 is debated. Here you will see the DRASTIC difference between Justification by grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE without works.
     
    #9 The Biblicist, Nov 28, 2012
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  10. The Biblicist

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    Let me state it this way so as to be clear. IF you will read the Lutheran, Methodist, Assembly of God, Catholic, Church of the Nazerine, etc., articles of faith on Justification IN CONTEXT you will see they have absolutely nothing but a SUPERFICIAL similarity to the Biblical doctrine of Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone without works. Indeed, they REPUDIATE IT when you understand THEIR DEFINITIONS in THEIR CONTEXT of this doctrine.

    Let me give one absolutely clear explicit text dealing with this very point and that is Romans 4:5-11 or John 6:37-39. They all make these UNCONDITIONAL statements to be CONDITIONAL statements by redefinition of terms and thus repudiating the text entirely.

    Let me give you another example, Philip 1:6; 2:13 and hebrews 12:2 make unconditional assertions yet these same groups make them conditional assertions. If Salvation is a PARTNERSHIP program then it cannot be justification by grace ALONE through faith ALONE in Christ ALONE without works. The believer is the one being saved and the Savior is Christ not the believer and thus it is not a PARTNERSHIP program.

    Let me say it even easier for you to understand. If God has given a person "eternal" life it is not "conditional" life but it is not "eternal" life if it is conditional! Life conditioned is "conditional" or "temporal" life. Did you grab that?
     
    #10 The Biblicist, Nov 28, 2012
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  11. drfuss

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    I have been involved in many debates on eternal security and Calvinism over the years, and have no intention in getting involved in yet another one. I agree with you that much of the differences involves definitions and terminology. From a practical point of view, there is little practical differences in most issues except definitions and terminology; this includes: the most popular eternal security doctrine, being able to forfeit one's salvation, and being able to lose one's salvation. In all three beliefs, those in one belief are sure of their own salvation and see uncertainities in the other's beliefs.

    On doctrinal issues, what one takes to a scripture is usually what one gets out of it.
     
  12. The Biblicist

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    My friend (if you will permit me to address you that way) the difference between the gospel of Jesus Christ and "another gospel" hindges on the doctrine of justification as can be clearly seen in the book of Galatians and Romans 3-4.

    The pivotal point where the pendulum swings from the true gospel to "another gospel" is the issue of satisfaction in Christ's work of justification. Either what Christ provided completely satisfied ALL of God's demands in regard to the ultimate salvation of true believers or those demands are still conditionally satisfied - period - end of story.

    The False gospel denies unconditional sufficiency in the status of those justified by faith by demanding it is still CONDITIONAL and therefore still subject to incompletion and failure. The true gospel denies any such insufficiency or possibility of conditional failure. Conditional failure can only occur with the believer's responses and nothing else and that is ultimately justification or damnation by works regardless how you sugar coat it!

    It is as simple as that! It is the difference between who is really the Savior and what is really in need of being saved - period!
     
  13. The Biblicist

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    In the salvation of "another gospel" there is no ultimate salvation of the human will OBTAINED. In the salvation of the true gospel there is sufficient ultimate salvation of the human will OBTAINED (Philip. 2:13; Rom. 8:28-30; Jn. 6:37-44; etc.)
     
  14. drfuss

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    Thank you. I have heard the above many times before and have enjoyed interfacing with you.

    Signing off.
     
  15. Jack Matthews

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    Statements of faith of various denominations are pretty meaningless when set up against personal testimonies of faith. So there are some people who wouldn't join such a group because of what you think the people in it might believe because of their denominational background. I hope they can get over that feeling before they reach eternity. Otherwise, they will be as miserable there are they are here.

    Paul told the Philippian jailer, in response to his simple question, "What must I do to be saved?" to "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." Even if you over analyze the term "believe," which is hard to do considering the context, and the rest of Paul's writing that clearly outlines his position, and it's not all that complicated. Jesus died, and when he did, fulfilling his purpose, his death atoned for my sin, and everyone else's. Whatever process is involved in the Spirit's work of sanctifying and justifying, it happens because of believing in it. That's the basic testimony of everyone in the group, at least, that I've heard and that I'm aware of, and I accept their testimony.

    I had a few other comments I wanted to make, but The Biblicist has done a superb job of providing an almost perfect illustration of the point I was making, that I really didn't need to. It is self evident. Thank you.
     
  16. Michael Wrenn

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    What it comes down to is whether you believe that God compels someone to be saved and then compels them to stay saved. This is fatalistic determinism and completely foreign to the character of God.
     
  17. Michael Wrenn

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    I would like to be a part of a Bible study group like the one you have.

    When some people get to heaven, I wonder if they are going to insist on their own little corner of that.
     
  18. The Biblicist

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    your illustration from Acts 16 sorely abuses the context. If you will remember there was public preaching by Paul in that city that led to a public explosion. hence, what he preached was not in a dark corner. Second, you assume they were silent in their dealings with the prisoner upon the procedures of securing them in prison. Next you forget that they were having a very vocal singing service in the jail. Last you forget that Paul and Silas corrected his false soteriology of works when he used the present tense "Sirs what must I keep on doing to be saved" while they answered with Aorist tense completed point of action "beleive on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

    I have found that those take your position simply have not done their homework and really do not understand even the basics of the bibical teaching of justification by faith. I am not saying that to be mean but it is a matter of my own experience in dealing with the kind of things that you and the other writer say. You need to be grounded in the truth with good Biblical hermenutics and solid context.
     
  19. The Biblicist

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    There is no point in discussing this with you as you have no openess to even discuss it reasonably. There is a vast difference between compelling them to be saved and saving the will from apostasy. You have no salvation for the will and if there is no salvation for the will then salvation is worthless as it is the will that ulimately determines finalities isn't it? However, Ezekiel 36:26-27 describes a salvation of the will that is obtained at regeneration so that the compulsion comes from within the new heart and spirit of the saved so that he is caused to walk in the ways of God according to the measure of faith and grace given to him by God.
     
  20. Michael Wrenn

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    And you do have that openness? I think not.

    You have your scriptures that support you, and I have mine that support me. Neither one of us will change our minds, so you're right about one thing -- there is no point in discussing it. One thing I am certain of, though -- no amount of Calvinism can change the character of God.
     

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