Errors of the church of Christ (21) – Justification (3)

7. After reading this, what do you now think about the concept of imputed righteousness?

RT – The Bible does not use the phrase.

8. We cannot help but wonder whether the CC fails to appreciate the depth of our sin. The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9). It also says that “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (Jas 2:10Mat 5:48). So, if you believe the Bible, your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. And assuming that you acknowledge at least some sin, you are guilty of breaking the whole law. Right? Thus, if you are guilty of breaking the whole law, are you really pleasing to God?

RT – The heart left to its own way of thinking – which is the context of Jeremiah 17 – is deceitful and self-serving. Did you pay any attention to it when you referenced the verse? You look at it in relation to 17:10. What about Matthew 5:48 – did you even look at it? The passage clearly teaches us to be like the Father. How does one go about doing this? They are able to do this as they apply 1 John 5:3. Do you find fault with this? Paul says the same thing in Ephesians 5:1. With regard to James 2:10, to what is James referring? The context is abundantly clear that James is speaking of the Law of Moses and the failure of some to meet its standard (James 2:8-13). Thus, you have misapplied the Scriptures to comport with your theological ideas.

9. In fact, since each one of us is guilty of breaking the whole law, aren’t we therefore guilty under the law and deserving of hell no matter how hard we try to keep the law? How can one possibly say that he is pleasing to God?! What seems most ironic is that in spite of its insistence on New Testament commands, the CC seems to have missed the New Testament purpose of the law—which is to show us our own sin Rom 3:20. If you have, in fact, missed the deeper penetrating spirit of the law rather than the external letter of the law, isn’t it fair to say that God is not pleased?!

RT – If you want to keep the Law of Moses, since that is the context of the passages you referenced, then it is your right to do so – but you will be lost eternally because of it. How can one possibly say he is pleasing to God? You will forgive me in this bit of incredulity when I ask if you have ever used a concordance.  If you have, have you ever looked up the word “pleasing” in it? If you have not, please take a moment and look at 1 John 3:22 and Colossians 1:10. When you do you’ll have the answer to your question. Your reference to Romans 3:20 pertains to the Law of Moses; I have already seen, however, that the problem of not understanding the purposes of the Law of Moses is in you.

10. There are other examples of how CC theology seems to us to contradict itself. Here is what one CC teacher says: “The church of Christ does not teach salvation by works. We teach salvation by the grace of God, which is given to those whom God says will receive it: specifically, those who humbly submit to his will.” When we asked, doesn’t the Bible make it clear that it is one’s inward character that is important (Titus 1:15), this same person responded: “Yes, and the inward character will result in humble obedience, which God requires in order for one to be saved.”

RT – You find fault with this?

11. We reviewed an audio tape of a lesson from the same Church of Christ gentleman. In explaining Ephesians 2:8-9 he said that “Well, this passage must mean that there are some works that do not save,” implying that there are some works that do. But in other contexts this man said, “This of course does not mean that works can earn salvation.” Isn’t there a contradiction in these two apparently different statements? What then is a straight forward answer to how one is saved?

RT- Ephesians 2:8-9 pertains to works that originate with man. There is no work that originates with man to save him. He must respond to the Lord’s work in that humble obedience mentioned in the previous paragraph that you seem to be unsettled about. Works that originate with man eliminates God’s opportunity to turn us into His workmanship – because man wants to do this on his own terms. Again, I will ask: Is man saved by the works of man or the works of God? This is not a difficult question, and should be easy for you to answer.