O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
This thread will be dedicated to discussing Christ, the cross, the atonement (from an Old Covenant perspective, into the New), and various other related things.
So, to get things started, I will lay out my current thinking --
Christ did not die on the cross to save Gentiles from "the death" and "sin" from a Law covenant that they were never under. However, when someone post AD70 trusts in the finished work of Christ on the cross, they pass from "darkness" into "light" and are in covenant with God (much like the example given in Exodus 12). Those in covenant with God through Christ will never face condemnation in any way via a thing called "sin." There is a natural repercussion for living outside of loving God and loving your neighbor, but nothing imputed or ongoing whereby a person is "saved" and then not "saved," then can be "saved" again.
That's a very rough outline, but I'm trying to do 100 things and I want to get the discussion started.
Thanks for starting this thread, Dustin.
I very much appreciate you sharing your current position on some of the issues we've recently been discussing on Facebook. It is my hope that we can be honest with each other and, with no personal offense taken or offered, discuss these issues openly and with a view toward arriving at a more unified position which agrees with scripture properly exegeted. I say that with the realization that, if we are truly honest with ourselves and with God's word, that we all may have to lay down some of our closely held beliefs in this process. It has been my view for a long time that church tradition (and personal belief by implication) is only valuable insofar as it aligns with a "rightly divided" study of God's word. Where tradition fails in that regard, it must be jettisoned or amended to agree with scripture.
I am currently working on several projects myself, so I will come back and contribute later today. Thanks again!
I guess we have to start somewhere, although I'm not sure that starting from one person's particular views is the best jump-off point. So be it, let's begin.
I would first like to note that I detect several refined pieces of modern church rhetoric in your opening statement. I do not wish this to be about scrutinizing individuals and their personal postions, but I guess that is where it will ultimately lead. I am wholheartedly in favor of viewing scripture as covenantal language and I think that aspect escapes many modern followers of Christ. But I also sometimes think we over-apply that logic, often leading us into some extreme conclusions which may or may not remain entirely aligned with holy writ.
I'll start with the latter portion of your statement which I would like to examine:
"Those in covenant with God through Christ will never face condemnation in any way via a thing called "sin." There is a natural repercussion for living outside of loving God and loving your neighbor, but nothing imputed or ongoing whereby a person is "saved" and then not "saved," then can be "saved" again.
You may certainly correct me, but I suspect you would base your statement perhaps on this scripture:
Romans 8:1-2 [KJV]
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Would that be a fair statement and are there other scriptures you had in mind that you feel support your position as you stated it, Dustin?
While I'm awaiting Dustin's reply, I will offer a few of my concerns and the reasons that motivate me to seek greater unity in discussing these doctrinal issues.
I will openly admit that I am not of the Reformed faith or Calvinist tradition. Big surprise, right? So, is there only one other option if I'm not one of those? Does that make me an Arminian? I really don't care for private labels much, so I will say that I simply try my best to seek the truth of God's word. If that causes someone to stick a label on me, then I cannot help that. But no one can really stick a label on me or anyone else, but rather they can place filters over their own eyes through which they CHOOSE to see me or others.
My main concerns are that, on the whole, the churches across America (really, the world) are teaching what I perceive to be some very dangerous doctrines that enable people to believe they can remain completely walking in their sin, while at the same time consider themselves as "appearing" perfectly righteous before God. I will specifically cite the St. Augustine doctrines of "original sin" and the Calvinist/Reformed doctrine of "Total Depravity" or "Total Inability" as two of the major sources of what I perceive to be major doctrinal error and deviation from the real 1st century traditional faith of Christ.
What I hope will NOT happen here is that this discussion will devolve into simply a "see who can defend THEIR version of the "faith" slugfest and shoutdown. This would benefit no one and not edify the body of Christ. I have my views...others have theirs. This should be about holding our mutual views UP to the light of scripture so we may see which parts are true and which are false. That is all that really matters.
I agree with Dustin's statements at FB that indicate his lack of willingness to "divide" and break fellowship on these doctrinal issues. And I do not suggest that dividing further would be an answer, but only a continuation of what already exists...division in doctrine, if not fellowship. And I do not believe the scriptures and commandments of Christ allow us any such latitude to divide over these issues in any way, but rather we are commanded to UNITE and come to agreement and one accord on the very most basic teachings of Christ and his apostles. Private interpretations are simply not within our prerogative, though we may like to think they are.
Thus, I maintain that the modern doctrines which redefine God's grace by converting it into a mere "covering" for open and repetitive sin in the lives of believers is entirely erroneous. Further, these doctrines do not encourage or direct new believers into a path of true repentance in faith which is proven by deeds meet for repentance, as the bible teaches. As a result, we now have a "different gospel" than that which was once delivered unto the saints. It is a gospel that teaches that sinners are saved while they continually remain IN their sins and does not actually result in sinners being saved FROM and PURGED of their sins to walk in newness of life in the Spirit. There are many, many points I could make along these same lines, but let's focus on one aspect at a time if possible.
I'll wait for Dustin to post....perhaps he has already.
I really don't know for sure, Cory. However, some of the Preterists in the FB discussion seem to be upholding the Calvinist/Reformed views. And as I currently understand those particular teachings on grace, original sin, total depravity, total inability, limited atonement, etc., they are in conflict with the 1st century traditional teachings. Those doctrines did not originate, as far as I am able to determine, with the apostles and Christ, especially the doctrine of original sin. That is a gnostic teaching the found its way into the RCC through the teachings of Augustine who was a convert to Christianity from Manichean gnosticism.
I just don't want this to turn into a Calvinist vs Arminian debate because that is unproductive. What I want to strive for is to get at the HEART of what scripture actually teaches, OUTSIDE of systematic theological presupps. If we can actually do that, then each person can decide for himself/herself whether the teachings they've been handed by their own church denominations fit the scriptures.
My background is in the Church of the Nazarene, which is an offshoot of the Methodist/Wesleyan doctrines. Our church doctrine was one of striving for personal holiness (we called it entire sanctification as a 2nd work of grace apart from initial salvation) in practical life, but due to the subtle inclusion of the doctrine of original sin, the holiness focus naturally gave way to allowing sin back into their lives. Why? Because if you believe that sin is internally inherent within your very flesh and you are just told to keep repenting when you "mess up", then eventually you cease the struggle due to discouragement and you either fall away from God completely or find another church such as a Reformed church that "comforts" you IN your sin.
Well, it seems clear that this discussion will likely not go anywhere productive. I did not come in here "with guns blazing." I was hoping we could have a discussion about these things, but you are defensive out of the gate. I am happy to hear your positions and had hoped you would post before I could make any other statements. But your opening post established the "us vs. them" simply because you stated your own personal views as a starting point. I merely asked you a question and then stated my views so we could have an open, common understanding of each other's perspective, right or wrong. I am sorry that you have concluded that my posts were an "attack." That was not my intent. How can we ever hope to have an exchange of ideas unless we are able and willing to discuss our own views and discuss our perceptions of the views of others without acting like someone intentionally hit us with a hammer merely for asking?
My apologies, Dustin. This was obviously a bad idea.
Paul: I am sorry that you have concluded that my posts were an "attack."
Just an observation Paul… could it be that you have yourself mis-“concluded” as an “attack” what I as casually reading simply took as a clarifying word by Cory-Lynn? I could be wrong as I’ve not been privy to your FB discussions. This is the inherent problems with forums… not getting each other’s “intent”.
Just a thought :)
Thanks Davo, but I had no issue with Cory. Dustin and I got off on the wrong foot in transferring our discussion here from FB. We've worked it out privately. No worries! :)
All good. :)
Neither do I (but I wasn't asked) ;-)
No one was asked. It's just a post.