Mar 11, 2009

Simple Plan of Salvation

Pastor Bruce Oyen has e-mailed me these comments and I think they are worthy of posting in a separate entry. He wrote:

"I don't know if this is post-worthy or not, but according to "Church Of Christ" theology, none can be saved while repenting and believing in Christ on their knees in the privacy of their bedroom, no one can be saved while sitting at their kitchen table crying out to Christ for salvation, no soldier can be saved by asking the Lord for salvation while dying from a gunshot wound on the battle field, no astronaut soon to die in outer space from a heart attack can be saved by simply believing in the Lord, no one trapped in a burning house can be saved by asking Christ for mercy, no one dying of injuries from a car crash can be saved by simply believing the Gospel message. None of these persons can be saved according to "Church Of Christ" theology, unless they can be baptized for remission of sins. Now, if a "Church Of Christ" person would say there are some exceptions that would allow some persons to be saved w/o baptism, it proves baptism is not necessary for salvation."

As a former member of the "Church of Christ" ("Campbellite") sect, brother Oyen truly knows how important is this issue concerning the purpose of water baptism!

What a precious and comforting doctrine to know that salvation is by a simple look of faith in Jesus Christ!

Thanks brother Bruce for these good words!

10 comments:

Bruce Oyen said...

Stephen, I'm glad you could make some use of these thoughts. Also, please understand that, though I was baptized in a Church Of Christ in Forest Lake, MN, my association with the Church of Christ was not of long-standing. The Lord in His mercy got me out of it soon after my baptism, though you get a good dose of Campbellism in a short time. I say this so as not to misrepresent myself or to be inadvertently misunderstood.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Bruce:

God was gracious to you!

I stayed in Hardshellism for about seven years, although I had begun to see their errors within a couple years of learning their beliefs and comparing it with what I was seeing for myself by private Bible study.

Thanks for your comments and this posting. Please feel free to send such entries.

God bless

Stephen

Ysleta1960 said...

Exceptions to a rule do not nullify the rule. Just because one may exceed the speed limit in an emergency and not get a ticket does not give anyone and everyone the right to drive that way under normal conditions. The matter can be illustrated in numerous ways. If you base all your precepts on exceptional situations you will have no precepts.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Y:

True. But, are there "exceptions" to how God saves a sinner? I don't think there are. I believe all are born again the same way. John 3: 8.

When we say something is "necessary" for salvation, we exclude "exceptions."

Are you saying that Acts 16: 31 is the rule or the exception? In other words, was it the rule to give the invitation of salvation to faith only or was it the exception? Was it the rule to make baptism a part of the invitation, or the exception?

God bless and thanks for your comment.

Stephen

Bruce Oyen said...

If we consider the very many NT verses in which salvation is said to come to us simply by believing in Christ, and compare that number with the very few verses which can be understood to say both faith and baptism are necessary for salvation, we must conclude the exception would be getting saved by faith and baptism and the rule would be getting saved without baptism.

Anonymous said...

Clearly faith is the predominant term by which the condition of salvation in Christ is expressed. The question is what is encompassed by the term when it refers to salvation. Does it include or exclude repentance? Does it include or exclude prayer? Does it include or exclude confession of the name of Christ? Is saving faith intellectual assent alone? Some words have both comprehensive and limited senses. If someone says "I thought John was a Frenchman" And I reply, "No John was persuaded to become an American citizen," do I mean he became a citizen merely by being persuaded? Or do I imiply he complied with all the conditions necessary. I would suggest it is the second. In this context "persuaded" implies application for citizenship, oath of office and complying with any other required conditions. Faith in reference to becoming a Christian is comprehensive when used alone, inlcuding repentance, confession of Jesus' name, baptism, and any other condition required by the gospel.

What is the definition of saving faith? Saving faith is obedient faith. Intellectual assent only is a kind of "faith" but not the kind that saves (Romans 1:5 versus John 12:42). Faith and obedience are sometimes synonymous (cf. John 3:36, as even the lexicons recognize).

God expects people to confess with the mouth (Rom 10:9), but surely he makes an exception for the mute. Yet for the normal person, he continues to require the lips to speak. He expects people to assemble on the Lord's day for worship--but surely he makes exceptions for the stranded traveler--without nullifying the normal requirement of assembly.

God did not mention exceptions for the Sabbath law against work; but both Jesus and the Jews recognized exceptions and without nullifying God's law of the Sabbath under normal conditions.

Thanks for your courteous reply.

FC

FC

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear A:

What is essential to faith? Conviction of gospel truth and trust in and love for Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable graces. One cannot have one without the other. Faith is a turning to God and repenting is turning.

Baptism is not essential to faith. Faith comes before baptism and thus is distinct from it.

You seem to imply that faith is without obedience or action before baptism. This is an error. My faith was alive with love for God before I was baptized. Your view would say you were baptized upon a dead faith. Your faith was dead when you went into the water and became alive in emersion from it. But, how can faith that trusts Christ, and which turns to him with humbleness and contrition of soul, be said to be dead?

God bless

Stephen

Bruce Oyen said...

Stephen, I am pleased to see that you have Campbellite readers of this blogsite.Change of opinion often starts with thoughts planted in the mind like a seed. In fact, Luke 8:11 tells us "the seed is the Word of God." May the Lord use your blogsite to enable them to put their faith in Jesus alone.

Anonymous said...

Dear S,
You said, that faith also includes trust, conviction, love, and repentance. I assume you received this knowledge from the Scriptures. So, if it includes all such things, why can it not include other matters identified by Scripture--such as baptism?

You said that Baptism is not essential to faith. Does Scripture say this?

Saving faith includes assent, repentance, love, obedience, confession. Why not baptism? A typical marriage will involve love, commitment, exchange of rings, an exchange of vows, etc, but until the couple has completed the entire legal process they are not yet married and would not inherit each other's property if one of them should suddenly die prior to that point. Until all the divinely prescribed elements of saving faith are present a person has no promise or assurance from Gods's word of salvation.

I would not describe someone in the process of completing his or her faith as having a dead faith, but rather an incomplete faith.

My view is that my faith was incomplete until baptism.

Thanks for the cordial exchange of views on issues rather than personal attack.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear A:

Why is baptism not an essential part of faith? I answered by saying that faith was required before baptism, thus it cannot include baptism.

Some things are just essential parts of faith, and I don't think you would disagree. Is understanding not part of faith? Can one have faith without understanding?

It depends on how we define being "married." Many governments recognize marriages that were not entered into formally by ceremony. Certainly the government of God allows for people to be joined in heart to the Lord although it may not be declared in formal ceremony. Thus also with water baptism.

When the Eunuch was permitted baptism, it was because he was already judged a "believer." But, by your view, the Eunuch could not be judged a believer till he was baptized. Was he a believer before baptism or did baptism make him a believer?

Yours sincerely,

Stephen