Errors of the Church of Christ (4)

According to historian Richard Hughes (see bibliography), grace is understood by the CC as something that God is obligated to give the believer who is obedient—though they would not phrase it this way. They would more likely say that God’s grace provides a “way” to salvation, but it’s up to us to save ourselves. They do not see grace as the regeneration of our dead spirits, as a work of God apart from anything we do or can do. They may also believe that grace is what God bestows to one who has done everything he can to be obedient. Again, while they may not state it in exactly these terms, we think that it is a necessary inference from their theology; thus grace is the small remaining step that remains toward salvation after one is correctly obedient. God fills the gap with his grace. (Interestingly, this is the same view of grace held by Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.)

RT – What Richard Hughes said, if the sentiment attributed to him is accurate, is flat false. God is under obligation to no one. If God said He will do something and someone complied with that something (as God required it), then we might ask the author of this treatise whether or not God will fulfill His promise? Has God obligated Himself to do that something? No man saves himself; to so ascribe is a lie. What is “grace”? Perhaps our author ought to read Titus 2:11-14 in order to see what “grace” does. Is it true that “grace” is the actual “regeneration of our dead spirits”? It is not so defined by an English dictionary, and neither is it defined in a Bible dictionary this way. What shall we say of the author of this treatise who defined it this way? At best, I would suggest there is a tremendous mistake in what the author understands with regard to what he reads. At worst, this is a false view and, not far removed from a lie.

The role of Christ, and thus the atonement, was merely for the purpose of displaying God’s love for man and giving him a law to obey that would bring life. Christ is said to save by furnishing man an example. He simply showed man how to save himself. Their theology is either semi-Pelagian (salvation by works plus God’s grace) or full-Pelagian (God’s grace and the righteousness of Christ may be nice to have, but are not necessary for salvation because one can save himself by obedience).

RT – The false ascriptions and characterizations is blatant in these words.

The Holy Spirit is not well defined and is limited in his activities. The Holy Spirit is often said to be either not active today, or the Holy Spirit’s activities may be limited to the words of the New Testament, or that the Spirit’s activities are limited to helping us understand the Bible. In any case, they see the Holy Spirit’s activities in a much more confined role than other Christians. So the Holy Spirit becomes, in a sense, the same as the Bible. There is little or no place for the Holy Spirit in regeneration or sanctification. Some even reject the notion that the Holy Spirit indwells a person.

They deny (vehemently) the historic Christian doctrine of Original Sin. Thus man sins, not because of any corruption in his nature, but because of his lack of understanding or simple stubbornness. This is a view they share with non-Christian groups: Muslims, communists, eastern religions, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

RT – It is rather unfortunate that some brethren respond to others the way they do with regard to the topic of the Holy Spirit. Thus, there may be some warrant in the criticisms relative to the Holy Spirit; some brothers disagree amongst themselves, and see how quick lines can be drawn. Fortunately, those who are so quick to divide are getting smaller and smaller in number; they are seen as radicals.

It is true that the man-made doctrine of original sin as taught by many is flat false and can be demonstrated. It may be “historic”, but it is not biblical. If man’s nature is corrupt (contaminated with sin) – even at birth, then Jesus who was is all points like a man was also corrupted at birth. If this is not the case, why is it not the case?

Associations, if there are similar ways of thinking on the same topic, does not make the particular view false. The last statement has one purpose – guilt by similarity.

They refuse to fellowship with other Christians, even other conservative Christians.

RT – Fellowship is in accordance with the Lord’s teachings. 1 John 1:1-3; 4:1, 6; 1 Peter 4:11, etc.

Question for the Church of Christ: Have we summarized your views correctly?