Errors of the church of Christ (26) – Legalism

13. This brings up another point. In the New Testament, there is a difference between commands  to non-believers and to believers. Non-believers are told to repent and believe (for example Acts 20:20-21). We argue that all other commands in the Bible, including baptism (!), are to people who are already Christians. Check out what Robert Morey says about this and then let us know what you think. Each of these video clips is about 9 minutes in length:

Morey on Obedience 9-14

Morey on Obedience 10-14

Morey on Obedience 11-14

RT – Let me encourage you, then, to set forth your argument. I look forward to your effort. In the meantime, let me ask you about what Peter said to those in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Did Peter require any of those to whom he spoke that they needed to believe his message before they could repent? If so, where does Peter so require it (what verse or verses)? You’ll have to do better than asserting Acts 20:20-21; from this, what do you want me (or others) to make of it? I look forward to you pressing me on this.

14. What specific work is required for salvation (John 6:27-29)? Faith, right?

RT – Sure, but I think you may not like what the Lord said; He said it is a work and you have said, plenty of times, that there is nothing a person can do to be saved, but we have here at least one work that the Lord required. Hmm. Moreover, should we look at Acts 2:38, or how about John 3:5, just to name a couple of others?

15. Are we reconciled to God by what we do or by what God did to present us holy in his sight (Col 1:21-22)?

RT – So, I am to understand that man has no obligation from God to give a single response, right? If that is correct, then Jesus was wrong (John 6:27-29)! Yet, if you say a person must respond in faith, then there is something a person must do. I guess that answers a part of your question.

16. How does the CC respond to those who may accuse them of following the letter-of-the-law and not the spirit-of-the-law? For example, the Bible says we should care for widows and orphans (the letter of the law), and were astounded to hear a CC person tell us that charity should thus be limited to these groups. But Jesus gives the example of caring for the outcast and others who need help (example, the Good Samaritan) and commands us to be merciful (Mat 5:7). Is the CC attitude legalistic in this regard too, adding insult to injury to the Christian faith?

RT – You do too much listening to people, rather than reading the Lord’s Book. That which the Lord said in His Book, a faithful Christian will do.

17. The CC has been known to define legalism as either (a) “putting human tradition above God’s commandments,” or (b) “taking one commandment out of context and twist it to make it contradict another.” Haven’t we already shown that Church of Christ theology in fact is guilty of both definitions?

RT – Whoever defines “legalism” as you have described is the one to whom you need to address your question. The “straw man” you have built concerning “church of Christ theology”, I imagine, makes you feel good concerning your ability to destroy.

18. Is not faith very much alive before good works are performed, and not because of good works? Christians in the historic orthodox faith thus believe that we are saved by grace through faith and strongly agree that a faith without works is dead; that is, a true saving faith will be accompanied by works. Christians also believe that faith before it has a chance to work is a saving faith—for example, the thief on the cross. The CC would have others believe that faith is dead until one rises out of the water. Thus someone on his way to be baptized could not be one whose faith is working by love. Isn’t this view therefore legalistic and contrary to Scripture?

RT – A biblical “faith” is described in Hebrews 11:1 and Romans 4:16-22. I can’t improve upon what Scripture teaches. Faith is a work of God, just like all commands of God are a work of God. You can relegate God’s command, if you so desire, to something non-essential, but no faithful Christian will do such.