Errors of the church of Christ (22) – Justification (4)

12. If a Christian can sin so as to lose one’s salvation, just what sin or sins will place him in such danger? Is it possible to know at what point one has committed such a sin and become lost again? Please be specific and give clear Bible references.

RT – Hebrews 10:26-31

13. To reiterate, the CC view on justification is contradictory. The first law of logic—The Law of Non-Contradiction—says that two distinctly different or opposite things cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. So, how is it reconcilable to say that we are saved by a free gift (Romans 5:15-176:23) from God (grace) and at the same time imply that the gift is not free—that we are saved by our works after all? This method of interpretation makes the Bible contradict itself at every turn. Grace does not mean grace; a free gift is not free. Man is not hopelessly sinful; but then again he is. Christ is necessary; but then he isnt’t. The law does not save; but yes it does (and only a Church of Christ preacher can interpret all the details of which works save and which ones don’t). This hermeneutic leaves the Bible in hopeless shambles. Is not this exactly what Paul is arguing in Romans 11:6 and Galatians 2:9?

RT – The problem is not logic, but your use and understanding of words. The word “grace” means in the English dictionary “unmerited divine assistance” and in the Greek dictionary it has several uses (cf. Vines, pp. 509-511), and one of those uses is in Titus 2:11 where we learn that the grace of God instructs us to do something (I suspect you will deny this, however). The option is ours: we will use the word as used in the Greek dictionary or the English dictionary – which will it be? Of course, to the thoughtful person, there is no incompatibility in Understanding the word as used in both dictionaries. The English defines a word as is currently used; the New Testament Greek dictionary defines the word as it was used during that time. Let us consider the passages you referenced. Romans 5:15-17 is in the broader context of Paul’s point to those who would attempt to be justified by the Law of Moses. There is a contrast in systems: the Law of Moses served its purpose, and now the grace of Christ is to serve its purpose (cf. Galatians 3:24-27). Paul’s specific point is that through Adam came death, but through Christ came life. One chooses to participate in one or the other of the “systems of justification”, but only one system of righteousness can justify. This point is a culminating point of Paul (Romans 6:21-23). Thus, God’s grace is to all freely, but God’s grace must be received. The last half of your paragraph is easily dismissed, and I beg of you to offer something more substantive than silly assertions. I am up for the challenge.

14. Let us ask this question of biblical logic: Is grace necessary for salvation? If you say yes, then does it not follow that NOTHING one can do will be sufficient to save us? Thus, no matter how hard you labor to earn God’s favor, there is still something missing, namely God’s grace? If you say no, how do you deal with the over 100 passages in the New Testament that insists that we are saved by grace? A young Church of Christ preacher emailed us that “We do not need the righteousness of Christ to be saved.” This statement should horrify any Christian. How dare you minimize the finished work of of our Lord?!

RT – Yes, grace is necessary for salvation. No, you have asserted that “grace” requires no response of the human heart and action, but you have not demonstrated it from Scripture. As soon as you affirm that the human heart must respond, you have given up your point. Moreover, if “NOTHING” is to have its intended force, then this includes even the human heart. Logic is not the problem; it’s your use of words.

15. In fact, doesn’t God despise the idea of works righteousness (Mat 23)? We may be very wrong, as we often are. But those of us who look at the CC from the outside see such statements regarding justification as inherently contradictory and legalistic. It seems to us that the hermeneutic error that the CC makes is to make biblical statements about justification additive rather than reconciled. So, instead of making conflicting statements about, on the one hand, how we are saved by grace and elsewhere saying that we must be obedient to be saved—a contradictory construction—a better and non-contradictory construction would be to say that we are saved by grace through a type of faith which leads one to conform his life to the will of God. Does the Bible contradict itself? If so, it cannot be the Word of God. The distinction here may be subtle, but crucial.

RT – This remark is terribly unfortunate: “So, instead of making conflicting statements about, on the one hand, how we are saved by grace and elsewhere saying that we must be obedient to be saved—a contradictory construction—a better and non-contradictory construction would be to say that we are saved by grace through a type of faith which leads one to conform his life to the will of God.” ***** FIRST, you have asserted that there is something contradictory in the statement you have attributed to Christians – but you have not shown this to be the case. How is “grace” contradictory to “obedient to be saved”? There is nothing in the meaning of the words to make this demonstration so it is up to you to demonstrate this to be the case. SECOND, where in the world does any part of the Bible teach what you think ought to be said by a Christian? Do you really believe there is warrant to saying that one is saved by “a type of faith” which leads to a confirmation that his life is lived to (in accordance with) the will of God? There is no such biblical teaching and, to so suggest, make YOU the one who is, to borrow your word, “additive”! 

#church-of-christ-errors