A Thoroughly Biblical Argument Against Penal Substitutionary Atonement

A Thoroughly Biblical Argument Against Penal Substitutionary Atonement April 27, 2016


A common criticism of people like me who openly oppose Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory is that we are picking and choosing the bits of the Bible we like, whilst ignoring some of the trickier bits.

I intend now to try and make it super clear that this is not what we are doing.

Invisible Goggles

The thing is, we all read things into the Bible that may or may not be there, based on our own understanding, cultural background and personal opinions.

It’s really, really difficult to read the Bible objectively (impossible, actually) – we all emphasise some bits over others, reject some bits as irrelevant and project our own frameworks of understanding onto the text to help us make sense of it. This is not a bad thing – it just helps to be aware that we’re doing it.

Most Christians who believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement claim that the Bible clearly supports it, and that there is no other way of interpreting certain texts. What they don’t realise is that they are reading the Bible through invisible lenses. Let’s call them PSA goggles.

PSA goggles have been the height of fashion in the protestant, particularly evangelical church for a good many centuries now. Long enough that they’ve become so much a part of our identity, we don’t even realise we are wearing them. They provide a logical explanation of the core meaning of Christianity based on a handful of verses, through which we then view the rest of the Bible.

PSA goggles also seem to have the unfortunate effect of obscuring the wearer’s view, so that many parts of the Bible which don’t fit with PSA theory are overlooked or ignored.

Before we jump right into dealing with the specific passages that appear to support PSA, we need to look at six broader Biblical themes that will help to put them into context.

1. Sin and Salvation

In the Bible, sin is about more than just our own personal wrongdoings. It is the whole devastating human condition which separates us from our Source and will eventually lead to our destruction. The salvation that God offers is not just forgiveness from our transgressions, although that is a major part of it. It’s also not just just about an afterlife. Where salvation is mentioned in the Old Testament it refers to liberation from bondage (Exodus 14:30, 15:2, Psalm 106:21), return from exile (Isaiah 45:17) and rescue from danger (Psalms 27:1, 51:12, 65:5, 69:2). The Gospels are full of Jesus offering salvation from illness, death, blindness, fear, violence…if it is all about God forgiving our personal wrongdoings so that we can avoid hell, then life and teachings of Jesus don’t make a lot of sense.

(I wrote this article on this very topic a few months back.)

2. God’s Wrath

I think there has been some confusion here. I’m not saying that God is never angry and just lets everything slide. I think he is very angry at ‘sin’ – at that which separates his children from him and threatens to destroy them. I think the full extent of his fury will be unleashed upon the powers of darkness that oppress people and bring destruction to God’s good creation.

Penal substitution claims that God actively punishes his children for disobeying him; that in contrast to his holiness, every single human being is so filthy that we deserve not just to die, but to be tortured for all eternity. That although God loves us, he must balance out the cosmic weighing scales by unleashing his wrath and punishment on anyone who has not accepted Jesus as their Personal Saviour.

So a young boy is born into a war zone, experiences a life full of fear and pain, and drowns at three years old when the boat carrying him to safety sinks. Death for him doesn’t bring relief, but eternal conscious torment in a lake of fire. Or even “an eternity separate from God” (a phrase people like to use to make hell sound more palatable).

And we are supposed to love this God.

Seriously, WTF?

This twisted interpretation continues to repulse and offend me.

God is angry at sin because it threatens to destroy his beloved children. He unleashes his wrath at that which causes us harm, because he loves us more than we can know. (John 3:16)

Like a mother fiercely protecting her young, willing to sacrifice her own life to save her children. (Matthew 23:37).

Of course our own destructive habits are a major part of sin, but on the cross we were set free from the power of sin, so we are no longer slaves to it (Romans 6:6-7). We have been separated from sin, so it no longer has to control us and be part of our identity. But we still have to choose to turn away from our lives of sin.

Do you see what a difference this slight shift in understanding makes?

(Read more of my musings on hell here).

3. Transformation

The meaning of the cross is not a transaction – a legal deal where Jesus gets us off the hook by standing in front of us and taking our punishment. This widespread understanding implies that ultimately, what we do in this life doesn’t matter as long as we’ve completed the transaction and secured our insurance policy against hell.

The meaning of the cross is transformation. When we choose to follow Jesus, we metaphorically die with him and rise to a new life. We are changed from the inside out. Sin is still a part of our lives but we are no longer defined by it, but by grace and love (Romans 6). We become agents of God’s Kingdom, which starts now and one day will come in full (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Choosing to ‘believe in Jesus’ doesn’t mean simply intellectually asserting that certain historical events took place and have eternal implications.

‘Believing in Jesus’ means choosing to follow in the Way he showed us, choosing to love him, putting our trust in him as we would a close friend.

4. Justice

We usually think of justice today as meaning criminals getting the punishment they deserve. Punitive or retributive justice. So we read the Bible with this in mind, and deduce that the ‘justice of God’ is about God punishing wrongdoers.

A better understanding is distributive justice. God wants everyone to be treated fairly, to have enough food and equal rights to a full life. Throughout the Bible God favours those who are oppressed and challenges those who abuse power. This is a major theme – from God liberating the Israelites from slavery in Egypt right through to Jesus befriending prostitutes and challenging those religious leaders who sought to control people…

God always backs the underdog.

God is passionate about the poor, the weak, the outcasts from society, and he desires justice, equality, freedom and fair treatment for everyone.

5. Crucifixion

The fact that Jesus died on a Roman cross was hugely significant. Rome was the ultimate symbol of worldly power – they maintained their control by any means necessary, crushing anyone who stood in their way. Crucifixion was the slowest, most painful form of torture and execution, reserved for people who challenged authority. To the New Testament writers, this would have been central.

Penal substitution tends to completely ignore the political significance of how Jesus died. If God killed Jesus, then the Romans were simply pawns in God’s greater plan of violently punishing sin and venting his wrath.

No, men killed Jesus. “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34). The powers of this world and the dark spiritual forces behind them did their absolute worst to him, and thought they had won.

The resurrection was God declaring once and for all that the dark and oppressive powers of this world, represented by Rome but echoing to the ends of the earth, will not have the last word.

6. Sacrifice

Sacrifice is everywhere in the Old Testament. People sacrificed animals (usually) as a means of communicating with the gods/God, to ask for something or to show gratitude. The sacrificed animal was ‘made sacred’, and it would then be eaten (often by a Priest – see Leviticus 2) to symbolise communion with God. The animal would not have been seen as a substitute, taking the punishment that humans deserved.

Where sacrifice is mentioned in reference to Jesus’ death, through our PSA goggles we have traditionally seen this as implying substitution – Jesus took the punishment we deserved.

But sacrifice doesn’t mean substitution. Think about it.

If someone sacrifices their life to save someone – a father dies in saving his child or a soldier takes a bullet to save a friend, their deaths are not in any way settling a debt owed by that person.

Equally someone can sacrifice their life for a cause – there is no implication that they were a substitute.

So, time to get down to the nitty gritty.

Here are the main Bible passages that are used to support Penal Substitutionary Atonement, and why I am convinced that is not what they mean.

Genesis 22: God tells Abraham to sacrifice his son

Abraham doesn’t bat an eyelid when God tells him to provide Isaac as a burnt offering. In the ancient world, that’s what the pagan gods did. People believed they had to do this to keep the gods happy and ensure the survival of their tribe.

So the point here is that this God doesn’t do that. They are entering a new understanding of their relationship with the divine, and learning that He doesn’t demand child sacrifice.

Thank goodness for that.

Exodus 12: The Passover, referenced in John 1:29, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 5 – ‘the Lamb of God’

It’s pretty clear that the New Testament writers saw a parallel between the story of the Passover, and Jesus’ death.

Passover is a Jewish celebration of the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt. The story goes that God told them to sacrifice a lamb and mark their door frames with its blood, so that when God came to strike down all the firstborn sons in Egypt, He would pass over the houses marked with blood and their sons would be spared.

The Passover lamb wasn’t in any way a substitute for sin. The blood wasn’t payment, it was a sign of faith, an indication of loyalty and identity. They were instructed to eat the lamb after it was slain – if it symbolically represented their sin, eating it would not make sense.

So when John the Baptist declares “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), he is referencing the sacrificial lamb which brought the Israelites liberation from Egypt.

No sign of substitution.

Leviticus 4-7: Sin offerings

This is a detailed and pretty gory set of instructions regarding making animal sacrifices to atone for sin. These sacrifices were intended to be a peace offering, to restore the people’s broken relationship with God. There is no sense of the animal dying in place of the person, or of sin being placed upon the animal. It is a gift to make up for wrongdoing.

Leviticus 16:10: Scapegoat

But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.”

So the one time sins are symbolically placed onto an animal, that animal is not killed.


Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV)

This is the most commonly quoted Old Testament passage used to defend Penal Substitution. I’ll write my little commentary in italics

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
(the suffering that is the result of sin)

yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
(WE considered him – I suspect when Jesus hung on the cross it looked a lot like he was being punished by God. Doesn’t mean he literally was…)

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
(Yes! He took the full force of sin upon himself and broke its power – sin punished him, not God!)

Matthew 27:46 (NIV)

“About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)”

I don’t even know how this has become a “proof text” for penal substitution.

God allowed Jesus to be killed? Yes. He sacrificed his Son to save us.
Jesus felt abandoned by his Father? Whilst suffering the most painful form of execution known to man? I reckon so. 

So God killed Jesus? NO! WHAT?? Why would you even say such a thing??

Mark 10:45 (NIV)

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Yes, a ransom paid to the powers of darkness and death…they demanded blood, not God!

Romans 3:23-26, 8:32 (The Voice translation)

You see, all have sinned, and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. When God set Him up to be the sacrifice—the seat of mercy where sins are atoned through faith—His blood became the demonstration of God’s own restorative justice. All of this confirms His faithfulness to the promise, for over the course of human history God patiently held back as He dealt with the sins being committed. This expression of God’s restorative justice displays in the present that He is just and righteous and that He makes right those who trust and commit themselves to Jesus.”

“If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him?”

Speaks for itself! Not even a flicker of God pouring out wrath on Jesus.

Gave him up as a sacrifice? Definitely.

Punished him in our place? What?? No!

2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13 (NIV)

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.””

So Jesus took the full force of sin upon himself, was cursed by sin… doesn’t mean God was punishing him.

1 Peter 3:18, 2:24 (NIV)

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed”.

Yes indeed. Still no mention of God punishing Jesus.

1 John 4:10 (NIV)

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Yep. Atonement, at-one-ment, making things right between us.

Sacrifice – still doesn’t mean substitution.

I’ve probably missed some out but hopefully by now you get the picture.


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  • TH

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I have struggled for awhile with the idea of psa, and wondered about these very verses!

  • mlshatto

    Thank you for this very detailed and accessible discussion of the substantial problems with the theory of penal substitution atonement. In case you are not familiar with it already, I call to your attention Peter Schmiechen’s excellent scholarly volume “Saving Power: Theories of Atonement and Forms of the Church.” From it I learned, among other things, that penal substitution is a relative latecomer among the various understandings of the atonement that have been set forth by theologians and other Christian leaders over the past two millennia. Personally, I think it has seriously distorted our relationship with God.

  • jesuswithoutbaggage

    Wow Emma! You express all of this very well! It is also fresh and original–obviously not a rehash of standard discussions on these issues. You have to have worked through this on your own, and it is very effective.

    Well done!

  • Peter

    How does this fit with the story of Noah, God sending rain to flood & kill all the earth apart from Noah and his family?

  • Duane Armitage

    This is really well done, both writing and thought. It’s probably the best, if not one of the best, reflections I’ve ever read on this question, precisely because of it’s clarity and it’s willingness to address all possible exceptions and objections — most books and academic articles never show things quite like this. I learned from you here.

  • Duane Armitage


  • What an encouragement – thank you!

  • Reblogged this on New Horizons and commented:
    A very good overview on the meaning of the Cross, and how we need to stop distorting a beautiful Truth.

  • James Church

    Congratulations this is the fairest of the anti-PSA pieces I have read today (this is my third <- glutton for punishment), albeit still inaccurate. PSA does not require one believes that "in contrast to his (God's) holiness, every single human being is so filthy that we deserve not just to die, but to be tortured for all eternity" just that "the wages of sin is death" and that Jesus took our place in dying upon the cross. Always best to argue from your opponent's strongest argument rather than a straw-man designed to make him look like a masochist.

    Also, you are better than lapsing into foul language in your moment of indignation under your section about the wrath of God. You are clearly correct, however, when you state "The Gospels are full of Jesus offering salvation from illness, death, blindness, fear, violence…if it is all about God forgiving our personal wrongdoings so that we can avoid hell, then life and teachings of Jesus don’t make a lot of sense." I literally know of no believer in PSA who believes that the theory is the only and exclusive theory of the atonement, though it sounds like you have met a few (and I feel sorry for you).

    I can't agree with your implication in Mark 10:45 that God treated the forces of evil as needing some sort of appeasement. Nor your commentary on Isaiah 53. You are also hiding behind a looser translation of 1 John 4:10 than the Greek offers. I personally think that the penal substitionary model takes its place amongst a number of subsititutionary and non-substitutionary models of atonement, The death of Jesus takes place within an immediate penal system (that of the Roman Empire) with Jesus being substituted pretty clearly for Barabbas whose name means 'son of the father'. I accept that its an earthly penal system, it is still a penal system however.

    I also think that the penal substitutionary model has a pastoral strength that is needed, primarily not with the sinner themselves but instead with the sinned against, because it shows us that God doesn't just dismiss sin or wave a wand and forgive it and tell us to do the same. He understands the cost of sin, and the fact that the victim has to bear that, and shows us that he is willing to bear it (because of his holiness and love). I find this doctrine both constantly humbling, but also challenging, and profoundly moving.

    Most objections to it I see as being rooted in a misunderstanding of the Trinity and a separation of purpose being asserted between the Father and the Son.

  • I am in awe of your clarity and well-reasoned Biblical approach. One of the most powerful articles I have read on the subject. Are you a recognized theologian?

  • Total amateur, just very into theology. Very encouraged by this – thank you!

  • Luke

    Now THIS is a debate worth having!

    1)”So a young boy is born into a war zone, experiences a life full of fear and pain, and drowns at three years old when the boat carrying him to safety sinks. Death for him doesn’t bring relief, but eternal conscious torment in a lake of fire. Or even “an eternity separate from God” (a phrase people like to use to make hell sound more palatable).

    And we are supposed to love this God.

    Seriously, WTF?

    This twisted interpretation continues to repulse and offend me.”

    Most of the article is Biblically based, but this ^ is an entirely emotional argument. Whether or not it’s true or accurate, it’s not reasoned. Romans 9 argues that we don’t have the prerogative to challenge the wrath or judgment of God. As the risk of sounding cold, I don’t much care how offended the author may be at PSA theology. I care whether it’s Biblically consistent or not.

    2)”Throughout the Bible God favours those who are oppressed and challenges those who abuse power. This is a major theme – from God liberating the Israelites from slavery in Egypt right through to Jesus befriending prostitutes and challenging those religious leaders who sought to control people…

    God always backs the underdog.”

    This ^ is sheer Marxism. Of course God cares for the widow, the orphan, the poor, the oppressed. But his compassion is not formulaic. He has mercy on whom he has mercy.

    Exodus 33 and 34 paints a beautiful picture of God “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”

    3)”Penal substitution tends to completely ignore the political significance of how Jesus died. If God killed Jesus, then the Romans were simply pawns in God’s greater plan of violently punishing sin and venting his wrath.”

    Isaiah 53:10 says it all.

    4) Genesis 22

    “And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering INSTEAD of his son” (emphasis mine)

    5) “Yes, a ransom paid to the powers of darkness and death…they demanded blood, not God!”

    Hebrews 9:22. Actually, all of Hebrews 9.

    For the record, I like a lot of things stated in the article, especially the bit about transformation. But this is not an especially convincing argument against substitution.

  • chuck

    well, peter, you certainly had your “PSA” goggles on during this one, although to your credit you didn’t “actually” claim you weren’t wearing them, perhaps just trying not to. Your lapsing into emotive pleas, as others noticed, did nothing to enhance the strength of your argument. And your simplistic treatment of Isaiah 53 was shameful. “We considered”? Is that supposed to pass for exegesis. If you can read these and other verses in that chapter of Isaiah and come away with a “it only means it might be possible to see it that way”, may i suggest an elementary book on exegetical studies.
    Let me recap here: He was pierced FOR OUR transgressions, crushed for OUR iniquities, the PUNISHMENT that brought us peace was ON HIM, by His WOUNDS WE WERE HEALED”. All of this leads you to “sin punished Him”. Seriously? SERIOUSLY??!! For your information, sin can’t punish anyone. You’ve got a major category error going on here. Sin isn’t a person. Sin isn’t a judge. It’s a nature. It can’t make a decision to impose a price for said actions. Sin doesn’t punish us or anyone. Indulging in sin can cause others to punish us. I fear that those who embrace your interpretation so eagerly are probably those who are woefully ignorant of scripture at large and have little or no ability to properly interpret scripture especially in light of the ENTIRE teaching of the bible on this and other topics. They, like you, are still busy searching for a god made in their own image, one more palatable and pleasing, a tickler of the ears so to speak.
    What you and others see as some sort of cosmic child abuse is, quite the contrary, pictured in scripture as a beautiful and loving act. “For God SO LOVED the world He GAVE His only begotten Son…” Yes, God the Father GAVE His Son. How? By His death. Why? To redeem us. To purchase us. Both redeem and purchase (found throughout scripture) imply a cost. The crucifixion did NOT sneak up on nor surprise the Father. He knew exactly what would happen and the purpose for which He would allow it.
    For goodness sake, if Jesus didn’t die to redeem us from hell (and other important reasons), then WHY DIE AT ALL? As a shining example of sacrifice with no real end purpose? Couldn’t His life of love not been enough of an example if that’s all it was. The wages of sin is death. And you and I are going to die because of it. Sin brought death into the world. You say God doesn’t “wink” at sin, but if the death of Christ doesn’t assuage the righteous anger of God against sin, then there is no real forgiveness, just alot of “winking”.
    To help you out on a point here, let me explain “My God, my God….abandoned me? God does not “look upon sin”. Yes, of course, He certainly sees it. What that means is that He will never look upon it favorably, or without righteous indignation. As the bible clearly teaches (abundantly), Christ became sin for us. Why? To give us an example to live by? That’s hilarious. He did it to purchase us and redeem us from the one who has a legitimate claim on us. The god of this world. We who have been given to the Son by the Father now are seated in the heavenlies, children of a new covenant, members of God’s Kingdom, adopted as sons through the only begotten Son. Thus there was a moment of time (and this is mind-boggling and humbling) when the Father, to do the very righteousness and justice He requires, had to “look away from His son”. I won’t pretend to fully understand all that that involved. Nonetheless, Christ felt or sensed, or knew, what was occuring, thus His cry. He was willing to endure this separation to ensure we would never have to be again. In other words, the Father indeed was inflicting the consequences of sin upon His beloved sin, who willingly endured it. How can you not be driven to your knees when you realize what Jesus was willing to experience to purchase us?
    Yes, this is a God i can love. Your usage of abbreviated foul language in the midst of this discussion shows me the Holy Spirit was not involved in your thought processes. One is tempted to say “get thee behind me Satan”. May i suggest to all that you pour yourself into a serious study of scripture of a more scholarly tone. There are many books out there that give different viewpoints on hell, penal substitution, etc, some by Zondervan, others by Intervarsity Press. These are often in debate form, so that you can read two, three, sometimes four different perspectives and responses to them. Please do this, and don’t consider yourself well read because of something someone writes online, whether it’s Peter or me or anyone for that matter. And let scripture be your guide. What Peter has written here is nothing new. It’s the same arguments i have read for over 40 years. His article is neither biblical nor remotely thorough. The arguments for both sides involve hundreds of scriptures and interpretations. To pretend, or even suggest, that a couple of thousand words written on a blog site could ever come close to accurately representing a topic such as this is the height of hubris.
    Lastly, may i again suggest less arrogance and much more humility in all of your searches for godly understanding. Please believe me when i say that when you start using words such as “unfair”, or phrases such as “I can’t love a God like this”, that you follow the lead of Lot and put you hand over your mouth and fall humbly at the foot of the cross. These words and phrases are straight out of Satan’s handbook. I cannot dream of comparing my wisdom to God’s, nor shall i ever dare to think my concept of rightness, justice, or fairness would, in this sinful darkened body and mind i have, be more than a dying ember compared to the fullness of the suns light. You must believe that God IS? You must love Him with ALL your mind, heart, soul, etc. ALL. The bible tells us there is NONE LIKE HIM, and asks dismissively, “who does HE consult? From who does He seek wisdom or advice? Why don’t you just surrender, humble yourself? Trust Him in whom there is no error, no possibility of wrong-doing? He doesn’t need you or I to do “damage control” for Him, to “fix Him up” for public consumption. He is the I AM. And we ARE NOT. A broken spirit and a contrite heart, these He will not despise. If you do not trust Him (unless He meets YOUR standards), then you have real relationship with Him. However “long” hell is, THAT thought should strike fear in your heart.

  • tonycutty

    Emma, this is the first time I have seen this excellent piece. So, so well said! Ignore the naysayers; this is pure gold and I would love to reblog it too. Once again, well done!

  • mwcamp

    Nice job, Emma. So many times, people read into the Bible their pre-conceived theology, rather than derive their theology from it–in a fair, linguistically and culturally accurate way. PSA is one example, which I call “a nonsensical, abhorrent tenant that fuels the fire of unbelief and atheism.” I would add too that the testimony of early Christian history also shows the earliest believers did not subscribe to PSA (as well as the popular view of “original sin”). See my “How Western Theology Screwed Up the Jesus Story” > http://www.michaelcampbooks.com/how-western-theology-screwed-up-the-jesus-story/
    Cheers and keep up the good work!

  • chuck

    sorry about the above. should read “have NO real relationship. And may i add, the “theory” of penal substitution has been around quite a long long time. It didn’t just crop up the last few decades or centuries. And emma, by all means, don’t ignore the naysayers. There are valid reasons why the church and it’s scholars challenge new ideas or reconfigurations of long held doctrines. It’s because they are so often wrong. In spite of all the emotive pleas, I have yet to read a viable explanation, both biblically and coherent, for why Jesus died at all. Lots of talk about love and what not, but usually nothing more than an expression of personal dislike for penal substitution. Who should care? What, i change long held biblical belief supported by church history merely because YOU may find it unappealing? I hope your other held beliefs are founded on more than emotional satisfaction. And nothing that has thus far appeared on this blog has offered the slightest refutation of penal substitution. Despite claims to the contrary, there has been a total ignoring of the scores and scores of bible verses and passages on which PS is based. When attempts, they are mostly blithe treatments of verses with a few caricatures thrown in in an attempt to minimize their import. For Peter, EMMA, and others impressed by the original post, you might read my post above, which was a serious attempt to engage the scriptures and the fallicious arguments that you offer. If you can’t even answer my simple post, and yet remain blissfully enraptured by the god you newly envision, then i pray for you. God doesn’t need your approval and support. He needs your faith. He has no desire to be popular and acceptable, but to be recognized as sovereign. You may be sincere, but you are quite deceived.

  • tonycutty

    The ‘abbreviated foul language’ is what you have read in to it.

    Emma could easily have meant, ‘What the Flip’, a very common euphemism here in the UK.

    And even if not, ‘foul language’ does not negate the argument St. Paul wrote that “…[he considered] it all dung compared with the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord” – so, ‘crap’, then – from St. Paul’s own pen.

    And how dare you criticise Emma’s relationship with Jesus. You have no idea – no idea at all. You should be honoured that she had the grace – which has of course gone unacknowledged by you, graceles person – to allow your passive aggressive comments on here in the first place. On *my* blog, any comment insinuating a flaw in someone else’s deeply held personal faith would result in immediate deletion.

    Feel free to have the last word – I know you will anyway, your type always do – because I’m not going to waste any more sick bags reading your tripe. I won’t see any comments you make.

    Note to other readers – not all Christians are like Chuck here.

  • chuck

    oh blah blah blah. What banal tripe. Criticize someone because you think they attack someone’s character, and then do the same thing yourself. Obviously you don’t recognize the hypocrisy, or maybe you are overly used to it.
    And as to your implying that being christian is to become mindless and accepting of whatever drivel is posted on sites, you might enlighten yourself with scriptures that command (not suggest) to discern EVERY spirit and not be driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine.
    I also note that not one person, you tony included, has even attempted to rebut a single point that i made. This, to one paying attention, is a fairly good indicator that the initial point has no real scriptural support and is little more than emotive pleading, as are the supposed rejoinders.
    And lest you think you’ve read somewhere in the bible that sincerity or kindness is equivalent to truth, you haven’t. Perhaps you could make one up. And yes, tony, when i read what someone has written, i am not only free but encouraged to “test it.” My first test is “does it match scripture?” Or is it just proof-texting with various scriptures out of context and with little or no attention paid to the actual meaning of words or intent of the biblical author. Next i contrast new ideas with the history of christian thought. While i am aware that there have always been and will always be concepts that christians will disagree on, one can usually find a general, and often overwhelming, consensus about most matters of faith. This does not bother me. It’s just human. What i do appreciate is when a perspective is based on clear biblical teaching, accompanied with good exegesis and a passable knowledge of the biblical languages and history of christian thought.
    And yes, tony, when i read that people (many here, not just emma) are rejecting long held christian believes and support such rejection with little more than emotive pleas or arrogant thought, I am quite entitled (even by God’s word) to reject both their teaching and claim to faith. Perhaps you should read the book of Hebrews, esp. chapters ten through twelve. Here we find that those who reject clear biblical revelation about the work of Christ, are, to quote ,”crucifying Christ again”. Having rejected what He has done, they are rejecting His sacrifice on the cross. Ironically, most here seem to be rejecting substitutionary death not because He didn’t do enough, but apparently because He did too much. Sort of like one saying, “Hey Lord, we don’t need all that dying for our sins, and we don’t need you to pay any price for us (thus eliminating redemption), or perhaps you’re saying, “while we appreciate your efforts, you perhaps went a bit overboard.” In reality, you are just saying you don’t like penal substitution, but offer no explanation of how mankind’s sins are actually dealt with (except by “winking” them away, all protests to the contrary),
    Emma may be a wonderful person. And you are right, only God truly knows her heart. I, however, while never asked to judge her heart, have every biblical right to judge her doctrine. And seeing as how God is big on Truth, if one’s doctrine (the important one’s pertaining to the nature of God, salvation, etc.) are unbiblical, it would be quite illogical for me to assume that a true faith is revealed by false doctrine. And in this case, one of the most important ones. If Christ did not suffer our punishment for sins, then we have no forgiveness. (remember, no winking allowed). Yes,God is love. He is also just. The penalty for sin is death. The entire bible story is one long thread of redemption. God always required sacrifice for sin. Blood atonement. Don’t like that? I could care less (you however, should), Without the shedding of blood, there is NO remission of sin. Yep, tony, right there in the bible. Over and over again. If Christ had just lived a normal life and died of old age, you and i would still be in our sins, destined for eternal torment. Of course, you don’t like that either. Those of you who started at the end in an attempt to eliminate hell eventually realized you need to work backwards in order to make a coherent argument, so it’s to be expected you would get around to eliminating penal substitution. I look forward to your next step backward.
    Notice here, tony, a proper response. Deal with points made and offer counterpoints. Minimize or preferably eliminate useless and fallacious ad hominem attacks. But please, by all means, continue with emotive pleas and avoid defending your position at all costs. And lest you think me cruel or judgement, i believe Paul commanded us to treat those who present a gospel different from the one he presented as “being accursed”. I think i’ve stopped short of that. That should be seen as a kindness. I merely exhort all of you to humble yourselves, accept God for ALL that He is and has done, and to love Him for all that He is and does. I’m sure you’ll agree it is the enemy who derives the greatest pleasure from deception. I simply point out that the further you drift from biblical truth, the greater the likelihood you are deceived. And the scary thing about deception, tony, is that those who are deceived have no idea they are. In fact, they would argue until hell freezes that they weren’t. That’s why it’s such an effective device to use. And why i exhort all of you to immerse yourselves in the Word, and not blogs that tempt you to construct a god that you can approve of.
    Finally, vain attempt on the vulgarity. I have no idea where emma is from, but i imagine, in this media savvy society, that even Muslims or Hindus who were familiar with english would know what those three letters most often mean. Even if she didn’t intend that, why use them at all, or at least just write the words out to avoid mistaken interpretation. I certainly have seen no apology offered for a supposed “unintended offense”, so perhaps you should let emma defend or explain herself. For now i’ll assume, nothing offered to the contrary, that the letters mean what most anyone knows they mean. If i had done it without meaning that, i would be offering profuse apologies, considering the topic we are discussing. If no one here can get up the guts to rebuke something as trite and obvious as that, i seriously doubt if you are equipped or courageous enough to confront false doctrine.

  • chuck

    oh tony, i forgot. Your statement that not all christians are like me is a juvenile, (and character attacking, something you so dreadfully abhore) and an obvious truth. Kind of like, not all water tastes the same. And it’s a good thing. I sincerely pray that no one is like me. Nor should they attempt to be. However, as Paul often held himself up as an example for others to follow, may i do the same? What i am referring to is a willingness to let scripture teach it’s truth without my maiming it beyond understanding, and a dedication to become educated as much as possible with all viewpoints with above stated conditions. This is not boasting. It’s simply what scripture encourages us to do. But what you said was a very good example of ad hominem attacks, usually employed when one has nothing substantive to offer. And perhaps you should drink a little wine for your stomach.

  • chuck

    i love it. “Some people read into..”. Surely you can’t be serious. ALL people (including you) read “into” everything you read, including the bible. There are no purely objective people anywhere on the face of the earth. We ALL interpret what we read through the lens of our individual paradigms. ALL of us. Pretending to belong to some class of totally objective persons is both pretentious and disingenuous. Now that we’ve got that straight, your comments are nothing more than, well……….comments. Your opinion. And opinions are not identical to facts. While you may impress yourself, your opinions do not impress me. There are scores of verses and passages that either clearly state or definitely imply that Christ became sin for us. Again i will say, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. While this topic has surely been debated throughout church history, a thorough search of the church’s historical writings will show that PSA, as you call it, is absolutely NOT some recent new perspective.
    And for the record, it is the evil one who “fuels” the fire of unbelief and atheism. This tactic is always a last desperate measure used to dissuade people from believing the truth. “Oh, that’s just too repulsive.” Or, “don’t believe that, people will reject the gospel message”. Well Mr. Camp, i believe it was Paul who told us that both believers and the true gospel message will always be an “offense” to the blinded, prideful, mind, in fact, it will be a “stench in their nostrils”. As i have already posted, it’s the postmodern mindset that wishes to nullify objective, genuine truths. To be true, they insist it must be inclusive, non-threatening, even appealing. Strange, i find none of this taught in scripture. Quite the opposite, in fact. And please, if you are an author of some sort, please explain to me why the blood of Christ was shed? Why the emphasis on His blood.? Why did He even have to die? (surely you believe He had to. He said so Himself). What did His death accomplish? Anything? I ask people of your mindset these questions constantly and have yet, over the years, to receive anything resembling a biblical based answer. Mostly just ranting about how offensive PSA is, or emotive pleas to “tone down” this aspect of the gospel message so as not to turn people away.
    The spirit of man, when awakened by God, becomes quite aware of the awful nature of sin, and embraces with humility and gratitude the concept that, because of Christ’s shed blood, one who accepts this gift with humility and repentance will be made righteous before God. A mind that is not willing to accept the magnitude of his or her sin will surely be offended by the very suggestion that a sacrifice as great as that of the Son of God was necessary to make them “clean”, wearing “white robes”.
    Perhaps your mind should be focused on this. A gospel message “eagerly” embraced by a world, welcomed as a palatable one, is surely one divested of it’s truth and power. If the message you offer, with little or no cost, is being gobbled up, perhaps it is because it is more of a “fast food” message rather than a biblical one.
    Despite the overjoyed acceptance by sycophants here on this site, not one person has offered an answer to any of my challenges, and they are by far the easiest ones i could offer. Nothing but silence, or the usual ad hominem attacks from those frightened by their own inability to support a position which purports such imaginary strength.
    Of course, i have come to expect nothing less, or anything more. As i said, this, among many other biblical topics, has been and continues to be debated. Perhaps you could offer a “fair and linguistically based” response. As far as “culturally accurate” goes, I think you will have a hard time establishing that the Jews of Jesus’ day did not see the shedding of blood as a remission for sins. Why they even had a scapegoat, one tied with a red ribbon to it and driven into the wilderness, where said ribbon would turn white if the sacrifices offered had been approvingly received by God. You may not believe that actually happened, but it certainly was believed by the priests. What better way to show that the sacrifice of Christ was approved by the Father than the ressurection? As Hebrews tells us, this was the only sacrifice (key word being sacrifice here) needed for the new and better covenant. The final and ever effective shed blood of Christ, an adequate sacrifice for the offenses of the entire world. Perhaps if you had spent over eight hours with a demon possessed (is that too offensive? too antiquated?) and saw the demonic reaction to the shed blood of Christ, you might be more easily persuaded. Then again, perhaps not. Just be honest enough to admit that you don’t accept PSA because, well, you just don’t like it. And not because of a purely objective perspective. This IS the gospel that Paul taught, throughout his writings. And he considered ANY other gospel cause for being cursed. Perhaps i read scripture a little too literally, but you know, I would rather be stupid in heaven than clever in hell. I await your “reasoned and fair” response.

  • Martin

    Absolute bollocks Jesus was quoting Psalm 22 on the cross, the audience would have known it off by heart. Jesus said that all His disciples would abandon Him on the cross but not His Father. Jesus said I and my Father are one, there is not hint that this was separated on the cross, God was in christ reconciling the world to Himself. The Father did not abandon or turn away from Jesus on the cross, the Father was ON the cross with Jesus. Later in Psalm 22 it specifically says GOD DID NOT abandon the one on the cross. God was with Jesus like never before on the cross. Sin has no effect on God at all, in terms of His relationship with us. Even our sense of separation is an illusion Paul says in Col 1:21. If any payment is required then forgiveness ceases to be forgiveness it becomes a business transaction. Forgiveness by it’s nature is a free gift requiring no payment. As soon as payment is required it is no longer forgiveness. The price Jesus paid was to us not God by Jesus submitting himself to the wrath and violence of man. In John 17 Jesus says BEFORE the cross that He had completed the work the Father sent Him to do, yes shocking for PSA believers but the work the Father sent Jesus to do DID NOT INCLUDE THE CROSS. Yes God allowed the cross to happen so He gave His son to our violence. God however neither required or desired the cross. The cross was 100% for our benefit to release us from sin and death. God could have forgiven us and indeed He does without the cross. The God having no record of wrongs is because God is love! Not because of the cross! The cross changed our mind about God, not His about us

  • Lee

    Hi Emma,
    Thanks for another good article.
    I would also add another very simple, thoroughly biblical argument against penal substitutionary atonement:
    The Bible simply never says that Jesus paid the penalty, or price, for our sins.
    For over twenty years I have been challenging Protestants to show me a single verse in the Bible that says that Jesus paid the penalty, or the price, for our sins. So far, not a single one of them has been able to do so. That’s because the Bible never actually says that.
    Now, if this were some incidental side doctrine, that wouldn’t be such a big problem. There are plenty of things the Bible doesn’t talk about, and thoughtful Christians must make up their own mind on these issues.
    However, within Protestantism penal substitution is seen as the way by which God saves us through Christ. It is a central doctrine of those who hold to it, if not the central doctrine.
    And yet, the Bible never actually teaches it.
    Is God so incompetent that God is unable, in God’s own Word, to plainly teach us the doctrines that are essential to our salvation? Is God so incompetent that it took 1,500 years for human beings to “see” this doctrine in God’s Word?
    The plain fact of the matter is that the Bible never, not in a single verse, ever says that God paid the price or the penalty for our sin.
    And that, to my mind, is the strongest thoroughly biblical argument against penal substitutionary atonement.

  • Lee

    Hi Emma,

    Also, I firmly believe that 2 Corinthians 5:21 should be translated as it is in the Tree of Life Version:

    He made the One who knew no sin to become *a sin offering* on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (italics added)

    The Greek word harmartia used here does most commonly mean “sin” in the New Testament. But in the Septuagint, it is used as a translation of the Hebrew word for “sin offering.” Here I believe Paul, who relied heavily on the Septuagint, is using the word hamartia in that sense.

    If we read it that way, it makes perfect sense, tying in with all of Paul’s other teachings about Christ being the sacrifice for our sins.

    Saying that “he became sin,” as it is usually translated, simply makes no sense. Besides being a very weird statement with no discernible meaning (people don’t “become sin”), Jesus did not become sin (whatever that means). He was the only sinless man (Hebrews 4:15).

    Paul loved to play around with words, and he loved a good play on words. Here he is indulging in that love by using hamartia in two different senses in the same sentence.

  • chuck

    as you say Martin, absolute bollucks. Seldom have i seen so much heresy sprinkled in among a few salient statements.
    First, the Father was NOT on the cross. This confusion among the members of the Godhead was one of the first heresies introduced into the gospel message. A simple perusal of the earliest church fathers will see that they addressed this quickly and effectively. To take another approach, show me ONE, just ONE scriptural verse that states or even implies that the Father was crucified with Christ. To jump from “I and the Father are one” to “The Father was crucified (did He die?) with Christ” is juvenile and heretical.
    If you believe God is all-knowing, then you must logically believe that He knew the cross was predestined to occur. Christ Himself knew He was going to be crucified, and did so willingly. And for your information, Christ said “it is finished” on the cross. THAT is when He accomplished the work of sacrifice. And yet, we still know that He had yet to be resurrected, so even on the cross He was not “totally finished”. These statements refer to His earthly ministry, choosing the disciples, and teaching them The cross statement refers to His sacrifice. And we know He is coming back to do even more at His second coming.
    Yes, Jesus recited the first verse of Psalm 22. An educated priest or scribe would often refer to sections or passages of scripture by citing a key verse. Thus they, as witnesses to the crucifixion, could have, by memory, recalled Psalm 22 and realized that it is a passage of scripture describing the very scene they were presently witnessing. It’s a crucifixion prophecy.
    Of course God the Father did not, nor would, nor theologically could, abandon His eternal Son. Yet we see the man Jesus Christ make just that statement. God did indeed not abandon Him but brought Him back to life at the resurrection. This is different from than having to “look away” at the cross. Might we not allow Christ to reflect the truth in this case. Was He just imagining it? Was it a cry from a lonely and confused man? I think I will go with Jesus on this one Martin. Those are HIS words. Surely you don’t know the mind of Christ better than He Himself?
    And please let me state again for clarity, the Father was NOT crucified on the cross. Of course, if you include the Father, don’t leave out the Holy Spirit. This is such heresy. I’ll be lenient and credit such belief to ignorance of both scripture and the history of christian doctrine.
    To state that sin has no effect on our relationship is preposterous and goes against hundreds and hundreds of verses in the bible where God warns us of the potential consequences of sin and its effect on the relationship of individuals and the nation of Israel and the gentile nations with God. Your statement also ignores the constant warnings (read Hebrews, I and 11 Peter, or the epistles of Jude or John) of the negative consequences of christians sinning and it’s effect (some would even argue annulling) of our communion and relationship with God.
    Your concept of forgiveness is simplistic and a bit vacuous, at least from a biblical perspective. You simplify forgiveness by equating it with a “forgetta bout it” concept. Any time a debt is paid, it is also forgiven. The lien holder releases all just claims of the debt. Seeing as how God is under no obligation aside from the death of Jesus to release us from any consequences of our sins, His action of providing payment for us is INDEED both a gift and forgiveness. What exactly do you think we were REDEEMED from, and that not of ourselves. All that we receive from God is a gift, even the ability to believe. Don’t think you are “saving” God’s reputation by demeaning the heinous nature and consequences of sin.
    Do you mean that if someone murdered my wife that I could not forgive them unless i demanded that they not pay any consequences for their actions? They should just go free. What utter nonsense, a concept that no one practices. Of course I could forgive the murderer. Justice, however, demands a payment. AND GOD IS JUST!!! Behold the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. How? By His sacrifice (unless you think it bloodless). Scripture tells us we are washed clean by God’s word and Christ’s blood. Shed blood. A death. A sacrifice. A voluntary one. THAT is your gift, and not some “winking” at sin and pretending it didn’t happen. God doesn’t have to wink, at least not at believers. That’s because Christ Himself approached the throne of the Father and presented His blood as a one time all effective covering for our sins. For goodness sakes, read the book of Hebrews. That book alone demolishes most of your arguments.
    To say that God forgives us without the cross is the epitome of heretical thought. You should be ashamed. Even those on this site who aren’t particularly fond of me should jump in here and give you some much needed correction. Again, i will attribute these thoughts of yours to ignorance. Not stupidity, but ignorance. A lack of knowledge. Be careful reading scripture though. The more you read, the more culpable you are for heretical beliefs.
    And no, Martin, NO!! God does not hold us accountable for our sins, not simply because He is love (He is also just. Why is love more important), but because of the very cross on which His Son was crucified. You so cheapen the death of Jesus. Perhaps unintentionally. You’ve been informed otherwise. Perhaps you are a new christian (I will assume you are, but certainly not because of your doctrine). God is patient and gracious. He will give you time to learn and grown. Please buy a book or two on christian doctrine. And read them with the bible at your side. I encourage and exhort you to do this. You desperately need to. And my doing so removes any excuse for false beliefs when you stand at the judgement seat of Christ. I wish you well.

  • Martin

    Chuck I find your tone patronising in the extreme. I am neither a ‘new Christian’ (since 1977) not ignorant. I used to believe the same things you did using the same passages of scripture as you do with me! Although I hope I did it with more grace than you show.

    Of course the Father was not crucified with Jesus, God is Spirit and therefore cannot die still the unbreakable union between Father, Son and Holy Spirit was not even for 1 second suspended on the cross! In 2 Cor 5 Paul says that God was ‘in Christ’ reconciling the world to himself. Clear as day God was on the cross with Jesus. In fact the Father must have been on the cross before Jesus, as Jesus said that He only did what He saw the Father doing, therefore Jesus must have seen the Father going to the cross and followed Him! Note ONLY what He saw the Father doing.

    No where did I say that sin doesn’t affect our relationship with God or with others, however this is only from our perspective not God’s. God has no record of man’s wrong doing (the Bible which you seem to take so literally says that) so God does not even know what human sin is. You say I dishonour the cross. Well I think you dishonour that particular concept (as many traditional evagelicals do they just cannot bear the fact that God has no sin record so has nothing left to judge or punish in the future!)

    I didn’t say once in my post that a a sacrifice wasn’t required either! It absolutely was! it just wasn’t required by God, but by us! Even in the OT God makes it clear that he neither needs or requires and sacrifice to forgive sin. The sacrificial system was’t even God’s idea it was set up by man so that in the shame and guilt they felt something was being done about sin. Even in the OT it was a bull or goat that was sacrificed for sin, not a lamb Jesus is the passover lamb and that was about being released from bondage and death NOT about forgiveness of sin. Yes Hebrews does say a lot about the sacrifice of Jesus and the difference between the old and new covenants, it no where says however that the sacrifice was to God. The blood of Christ was needed to ratify the new covenant, but that did not require His death one drop of His blood would have done that. The blood of Christ remittted sin from all of mankind, to release us from the sin of Adam. So yes the sacrifice of Jesus was absolutely needed bu by us not by God. God graciously gave His Son and Jesus was obedient to the Father for our sakes. To me that makes the cross even more amazing. That God didn’t need it but still went through it, truly amazing!

    Many people including it seems you project our idea of justice which is retributive and punishing onto God. We think that because God doesn’t do justice the way we do that it isn’t ‘just’ God being ‘just’ and God aren’t equal. being just isn’t the essence of His being it is a attribute that flows out of Him being love. So God’s justice flows out of Him being love. God’s ‘justice’ looks like restoration healing showing mercy. Zach 7:9 sums it up nicely it defines ‘true’ justice as showing loving kindness and mercy. I say again that if forgiveness requires any payment it is no longer forgiveness. Forgiveness is freely given and requires no payment. If someone murdered your wife and you say ‘I forgive them but only if they do their time in prison’ that isn’t forgiveness that is debt payment. We don’t owe God any debt. Jesus forgave people before the cross and without any evidence of any repentance on their part. If you are saying God can’t do this that or or other because of ‘justice’ you are putting a power above God, you are saying God is beholden to justice! He isn’t He is God He can do what He wants! That might offend our sense of justice but who cares! His level of love mercy and justice are way above ours!

    By the way Paul absolutely did not believe in PSA and her certainly didn’t believe in a ‘ECT’ hell! I would say a gospel that includes these is a false gospel!

  • Martin

    Why can’t you see Chuck that no one who has chucked out PSA is saying that the death or Christ wasn’t necessary or that His blood doesn’t remit sin of course it does! We are saying that it was needed by us not by God!

  • Martin

    actually ‘dog shit’ in the original!

  • Martin

    My deconstruction of PSA went exactly how you said Chuck, instead of using proof texts out of context (the ones that support PSA ) I went into the context, the original language the audience relevance and original intent of the author.

    Low and behold what did I find? PSA collapsed like the straw man it it. This demonic doctrine is coming down for sure Chuck, better to get on board now!

  • Martin

    very good Lee!

  • Martin

    Dedicated to Chuck…

    A parable: guess the characters…
    I have a kid he is terrible totally rebellious, doesn’t do a word I say, bad mouths me even, says He hates me wants nothing to do with me. i love Him to bits, do anything for Him, even though he hurts me. I am always showing love to Him but he rejects it. Well I say I love Him, I’m also absolutely furious, seething that He’s such a bad kid. I give Him rules to keep Him in line but no chance. I write poems and love songs to Him that doesn’t
    I have another kid, bit of a goody 2 shoes, never does anything wrong, tells me he loves me every day, does anything I ask Him to do without complaining even with a smile on His face. I love him too just as much as the other one.
    I really want to let the bad kid off, you know forgive Him because I love Him so much (as well as being mad at him), but well it wouldn’t be right would it! wouldn’t be just or fair. What I am going to do?
    I know I’ll take that good kid and kill Him in as cruel a way as I can think of, but first I’ll get that big guy from across the road, the one in the army, to give him a good beating, just so He knows i’m serious. I’ll get the bad kid to watch as well, great idea!
    Wow that went well, watching that kid bleed and squirm and die! well to be honest I had to look away for a bit. I’m used to seeing violence, done a bit myself, but that was too much to watch. But I feel better now, justice has been served wrong has been punished. Now I can ‘freely’ forgive the bad kid, with a clear conscience…
    Hey kid! did you see what I did to your brother, yes now I can pour my love and forgiveness on you, we can have a fantastic time together, you know hanging out, loving each other and stuff…but there are a few things I want you to do to show how grateful you are that I killed your brother in stead of you. Here are a few songs about how loving and merciful I am…Oh and a few saying thanks to your brother for what he did for you. Didn’t say a word you know, took it on the chin. Although he did look a bit upset when I couldn’t look anymore, guess because we were so close before he looked disgusting! Oh and don’t forget to tell everyone you meet how loving and forgiving I am. I’ll count what i did to the good kid, enough for them too, I’m good that way.
    Still not interested! sigh some people! what can you do. Now where did I put that b-b-q and never ending supply of briquettes!
    This is a story my kids aren’t like this and none of them were harmed in the writing of this piece!

  • chuck

    the Lee, by your reasoning, i should feel quite comfortable rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity merely because there is no verse that “literally” says, “God is a Trinity”. See how easy it is to demolish simplistic arguments. But let’s look at a few verses. Let’s start with Isaiah 53 (oh how you people hate this one).
    verse 5: “But he was pierced (crucified, obviously) FOR our transgressions, he was crushed FOR our iniquities, upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and WITH his WOUNDS we are healed……..and the Lord has laid ON HIM the iniquity of us all…..stricken for the transgression of my people…..Yet it was THE WILL OF THE LORD TO CRUSH HIM (for those who think God had nothing to do with the crucifixion……and he shall bear their iniquities,,,yet he bore the sin of many.
    Now, if you can’t see the magnificent yet simple truths in those verses, might i suggest your mind is being blinded. It was God’s intent to crush him that he might obtain righteousness for us.
    Lets try the book of Hebrews. Chapter 1:3- … After making purification for sins (now YOU show ME where in the bible this is done without the shedding of blood. Double dare ya)
    2;9-….crowned with glory and honor BECAUSE of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God (gee, seems God had something to do with it afterall)……For it was FITTING (appropriate?)….should make the founder of their salvation perfect THROUGH SUFFERING…”
    9:12- (Christ) entered once for all in the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but BY MEANS OF HIS OWN BLOOD, thus securing an eternal redemption…..how much more will the THE BLOOD OF CHRIST……purify….vs.22.-“..without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (this said in commending the shed blood of Christ as superior to blood sacrificed in the old covenant). vs. 26″…he has appeared once for all to put away sin by the sacrifice (crucifixion) of himself.”
    10:10-And by that will we have been sanctified through THE OFFERING OF THE BODY of Jesus Christ once for all…” vs. 19 “..since we have confidence to enter the holy places BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS……….THROUGH HIS FLESH…..
    A WARNING FROM PAUL “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot of Son of God, AND HAS PROFANED THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT by which he was sanctified, and has OUTRAGED the Spirit of grace?”
    Chapter 12;24 “,,,,,and to Jesus, mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled BLOOD (of Christ) that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”
    chapter 13:12 “…So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people THROUGH HIS OWN BLOOD…..”
    And now i quote Paul for your sakes “….since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you out to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food……for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness since his is a child….solid food is for the mature.
    Your post reveals great ignorance. And what, have you talked to EVERY PROTESTANT, or perhaps just those with little knowledge of scripture, like many, apparently, on this site. Perhaps i can reverse the challenge. Please, if you can, explain to me why you think the blood of Christ WAS shed, other than as a side effect of being crucified.
    No, it is not God who is incompetent. As Paul above states, it is those immature in their thinking, who aren’t able to digest solid food, the deeper things of God. So, i gave you lots of verses and passages. And i could keep going for days blogging more. But until you’ve explained (away?) the ones i have, perhaps you should boast less about your interaction with the ignorant and spend more time in the word. Your claims were all based in falsehood and lies. I’ll pray that God opens your eyes to the magnificent sacrifice of his Son, and what it achieves for those who embrace it’s truth.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Indeed, the Trinity of Persons is a false doctrine, invented by human beings several centuries after the Bible was written. That’s why it is not stated in the Bible. Because it is not true.

    As for the rest, I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. None of these passages say that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, which was the subject of this article and my comment.

    Was there something else you were trying to point out?

  • chuck

    Of course you prefer that reading Lee, because you think it supports what you already read into it. I prefer the ESV, a proven “word for word” translation (like the KJV).
    2 Cor;5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteous of God”. This is exactly how the Greek reads. There is no Greek word meaning “offering” in any Greek manuscript of this passage. There is no debate about the original writing. Besides, if you are going to translate the first “sin” as “sin offering”, you must, to be exegetically consistent, translate the second occurence IN THE SAME VERSE exactly the same, thus “For our sake He made Him to be a sin offering who knew no sin offering”. This is ludicrous and nonsensical. It shows the weakness of your theology to be driven to some obscure bible translation for apparent support. Using your method i could support all sorts of deviant doctrine.
    Besides, a “sin offering” was considered to be sinful, thus the sacrifice and covering with blood for cleansing. What it may mean in Leviticus is not necessarily what it means in Pauls writings. Yes, they did use the Sept, but then again, Paul did have greek words at his disposal if he wanted to say “sin offering” literally. Again, you can’t just grab ONE reference by Paul to the death of Christ and ignore the dozens of other verses and passages in which he speaks to the same topic. Again, read Hebrews, etc. In my case, you are interacting with someone who has read and translated Greek for over 40 years. The tree of life aside (which i have), centuries of manuscripts and commentary have understood this the accepted way. You’ll forgive me if I refuse to wipe out centuries of understanding based on a modern version. Perhaps you’ll be quoting The Message next. Do better.

  • chuck

    other than that you are heretical? Not really. What group do you belong to Lee? Obviously neither Catholic or Protestant. Be honest, so at least people know your a priori assumptions. I am an evangelical Protestant. And a conservative one. Your position on the trinity is both ignorant and misinformed. I always see this type of comment. It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth century…ad nauseum. A little historical study will reveal to you that the church was persecuted and suffered the deaths of many martyrs until the early fourth century. There was no opportunity for council meetings of bishops from widely separated territories, at least not without the likelihood of death or prison. And even the simplest study of the early church councils reveals that did not sit around and make up doctrines, but argued the merits of what had already been taught and accepted since the beginning of the church. While the official word “trinity” may not have become widely used until after the early church councils, the core of what it means can be found clearly referenced in the early church fathers at least as early as the second century.
    Regardless of our preferred word, the doctrine is clearly taught in scripture. There are dozens of verses referencing The Father as God, the Son as God, and the Holy Spirit as God. What scripture says overwhelms anything formulated at a council.
    So what are you? Jehovah’s witness? The Way International. Be open and honest. Don’t come on the sight pretending you are an orthodox christian when you are not, at least not in the historical sense. You are entitled to your believes, but identify them honestly.
    As for others reading this, be warned. This site has become a hotbed for heresy. Trust only the word of God.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You’re welcome to understand 2 Corinthians 5:21 in the traditional way if you like.

    However, translating the second hamartia in that verse as “sin offering” is not a “modern version.” It is based on a very common use of chatta’ath / hamartia in the Hebrew Bible / LXX. Paul was steeped in the Old Testament, he relied heavily on the LXX, and the imagery involved fits in perfectly with the general teaching of the New Testament that Jesus was the sacrifice for our sin.

    By contrast, translating it as “sin” sets up what is in effect a verbal hapax legomenon (“being made sin”) that occurs nowhere else in the Bible. It is the traditional interpretation that is strange and out of keeping with the rest of the New Testament and the Bible as a whole.

    You could speculate that Paul could have used other wording. But he doesn’t actually do so in the letters that are attributed to him in the New Testament. No other locution for “sin offering” occurs anywhere else in the Pauline epistles. Only in some places in the letter to the Hebrews, which is not attributed to Paul in the letter itself, and was almost certainly not written by Paul. And even there, various locutions are used, some of which do indeed seem to be using hamartia in the sense of “sin offering,” and are so translated in Young’s Literal Translation—which is hardly a modern hack job.

    Further, sin offerings were not “considered sinful.” They were considered holy to God. This is stated explicitly in many places in the Old Testament. For example:

    Once a year Aaron shall perform the rite of atonement on its horns. Throughout your generations he shall perform the atonement for it once a year with the blood of the atoning sin offering. It is most holy to the Lord. (Exodus 30:10, emphasis added)

    This, incidentally, is one of 116 occurrences of chatta’ath in the Old Testament that the KJV translates as “sin offering.” According to Strong’s, “sin offering” is the second most common translation of chatta’ath in the KJV. The rest of the translations (other than “sin,” which occurs 182 times) trail far behind in the low single digits. It is inconceivable that Paul would not have been very familiar with this common, ordinary use of chatta’ath / hamartia in the Old Testament.

    So once again, you can understand 2 Corinthians 5:21 in the traditional way if you like. But I believe the scholarly argument and biblical support for translating the second hamartia as “sin offering,” and understanding the verse as containing some of Paul’s famous word play, is far stronger.

    And even if you do read it as Jesus “being made sin,” it still doesn’t say that he paid the penalty for our sin, which is the subject of this article and the bone of contention here. So really, the interpretation of this verse is a side issue. Neither interpretation gives any support to the false, non-biblical doctrine that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    “Heresy” is in the eyes of the beholder.

    According to both the Catholic and the Orthodox churches, which predate Protestantism by many centuries, your beliefs about the atonement and salvation are heretical. Why should we accept your (at most) 500-year-old doctrines as “truth” when there are Christian doctrines that predate them by over a thousand years?

    So you can call me, and also the author of this website “heretical” if you want. But what that really means is, “My church dogma disagrees with yours.”

    In fairness to Emma and her readers, though, I should indeed make it clear that I am not a member of whatever church she belongs to (if, indeed, she currently belongs to a church), and that the things I say don’t necessarily represent or agree with her beliefs. I came across her website just yesterday, and she invited discussion, so I jumped in.

    To answer your question, I am an ordained (but rather independent-minded) minister in the Swedenborgian Church of North America. We consider Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, and Protestantism to be heretical in their fundamental tenets about God, the Bible, and salvation.

    So we can call each other “heretical” if we want, and you can probably say, “My church is bigger than yours,” whereas I can probably say, “My church is older than yours,” but none of that makes any difference when it comes to the truth.

    Now as for the Trinity of Persons, the first known formulation of an early version of that dogma is found in the writings of Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240 AD). While the dating of Tertullian’s various writings is not certain, he was converted to Christianity around 197-198. This means that his writings date from the first half of the third century. So the early third century marks the earliest known appearance of a doctrine of a Trinity of Persons.

    It’s all well and good to say, “Yes, but they must have talked about it before that.” But that’s just speculation. I prefer to base my understanding of Christian doctrinal history on what we actually know, not on speculation about what probably happened.

    As for the doctrine of the Trinity of Persons becoming official doctrine in the church, the earliest this could be dated is the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, which produced the original version of the Nicene Creed. The First Council of Constantinople in 381 AD produced a second, revised version of the Nicene Creed. And a century or two later, the Athanasian Creed spelled out the doctrine far more explicitly than does the Nicene Creed. It is the Athanasian Creed that is the real basis of and definition for the Trinity of Persons dogma that is accepted throughout Nicene Christianity.

    That is the historical basis of my statement that “the Trinity of Persons [was] invented by human beings several centuries after the Bible was written.”

    The plain fact of the matter is that the Bible never identifies Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as “persons,” still less as “three persons.” As far as we can tell from historical church writings, that idea was first formulated by Tertullian, a recent pagan convert to Christianity, for whom the idea of separate “persons” of God would be quite comfortable from his previous polytheistic culture.

    What the Bible does say is that God is one, that the Father and the Son are one, and that there is one God. The Bible simply never says that there are three persons of God, which is the central idea of the Trinity of Persons.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I suspect you wouldn’t listen to any of us even if we provided you with a detailed, blow-by-blow account of the reason, meaning, and purpose of Jesus’ death on the cross.

    However, I would suggest that you read up on Ransom Theory and Christus Victor, which were the primary views on atonement and salvation for the first 1,000 years of Christianity, until Anselm and Aquinas.

    Even the Catholic Church largely abandoned these original, biblically based understandings of the Atonement and Jesus’ death on the cross in favor of Anselm’s newly invented (and not biblically based) satisfaction theory, on which the Protestant penal substitution theory is based. Of the three major branches of Christianity, only Orthodox Christianity continues to hold to the original teachings and beliefs about Atonement that were held to for the first 1,000 years of Christianity based on the plain statements of the Bible itself about how God in Christ saved us and made atonement for our sins.

    Ransom theory had problems (the “ransom” mentioned in the Bible was probably meant metaphorically rather than literally), which is why Christus Victor actually became the dominant theory, and remained so for 1,000 years, and continues to remain so today in Eastern Christianity.

    Short version: God in Christ saved us by defeating the power of the Devil over the world, and over humanity. The Passion of the Cross was Christ’s final battle against the Devil, by which he secured complete victory, overcoming death in the process, and taking to himself the power to defeat the Devil within every person who believes in him and follows his commandments. Unlike satisfaction theory and penal substitution theory, all of this is based on clear narratives and statements in the Bible showing that Jesus was in a battle with the Devil and the powers of this world, and overcame the Devil, completing that victory on the Cross.

    This is the true and ancient understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

  • chuck

    Lee, apparently you missed my reference Isaiah. Seeing as how you like to get your new testament interpretations from old testament passages, you should appreciate my referencing it. Seriously now, just how many verses to you need to accept this truth. Are you delusively looking for some exact wording that will satisfy you. The passages quite clearly state that Christ paid for our sins in numerous ways. Obviously you can’t see it.
    Again, sin offerings, while holy to God, were just that because they represented payment for sins. The sins of the people were considered to be “placed, or put on”, borne by the offering. If the offering bore no sins then none were forgiven. It would be a useless offering.
    While Paul was certainly familiar with the Septuagint, he was not limited to using it for his theological arguments. There are quite a few words that are translated “offering” in the Greek new testament (prosphero, anaphero, didomi, parecho, spendo, holodautoma, anathema, and derivatives thereof. Paul could certainly use (and indeed did) any of these to denote offerings. The fact that he did not, and simply used the word for sin argues that his intended meaning was SIN. Your argument that locutions aren’t found anywhere else in the New Testament is false. As above, there are plenty of words used to describe sin offerings. You admit the exception is Hebrews (what is it? Nowhere? Only in the book of Hebrews?), but then try to argue that Paul didn’t write it. You are correct that there is debate on this topic, but the great majority of scholars who accept that the bible is inspired and inerrant find no good or convincing argument against his authorship. We just don’t know. The early church, by and large, considered it to be written by Paul. Many epistles don’t have a name introduction. Silence is not a substantive argument against Paul writing Hebrews. That aside, the Book of Hebrews has been considered inspired scripture by the vast majority of church fathers and scholars. So trying to cast doubt on it in order to encourage ignoring it is suspicious at best, especially in light of it’s refuting your previous claims. Again, you resort to picking and choosing. And yes, i will continue with the traditional (at least you are correct on this point) understanding, which happens to coincide with the exact wording of the Greek. I’m sorry, i can’t get your statement out of my head. This is found nowhere else, except in the book of Hebrews. Dude, Hebrews is part of the scriptures. Think about it. Something has never been found, but is found somewhere. Doesn’t make sense. If i could think of any new testament author who would have written Hebrews, it would have been Paul, and appropriately so, dealing often with Jews who claim to accept Christ as Messiah but are tempted to fall back on the Law and circumcision. Paul was totally familiar with the Jewish priesthood, the Law and it’s requirements. Whoever wrote Hebrews knew his stuff. Again, I don’t interpret new testament words based on their old testament usage. A bit anachronistic, don’t you think. To the contrary, the interpretation of these words and the verse is the core of the argument. If Christ became sin for us, and was offered as a sacrifice (both clearly stated in scripture) then He did indeed PAY FOR OUR SINS.

  • chuck

    while you continue to hide your affiliation, your statement that PSA or ransom do not take into account the victory of Christ over the powers of darkness can only lead me to believe you have done little or no reading from it’s proponents. You post talks alot about victory, but gives no relief for the burden of sin. No cancellation. No defeat. You give half the truth. I wonder why it offends you so, except for the usual “offense” that your crowd finds with PSA. And while i appreciate references to different church doctrines and teachings of various historical characters, (i use them often myself), my real concern is what scripture states. That will always overwhelm any interpretation by anyone, regardless of affiliation. And by the way, the cross was and is not the “final” battle between Christ and Satan. Christ will certainly, and is now, always be the victor, but perhaps a reading of Revelation (i shudder to think of what you do with that book) will make it clear that there still is more resistance from Satan, at least one more major battle between Christ and the forces of darkness. We already know who wins. We get to read the end of the story.
    So what, are you Eastern Orthodox? No, that can’t be right. They believe in the Triune God. So along with ignoring all of the verses i offered and all the viewpoints except the one you thought you had an answer to, why won’t you reveal what you believe and what, if any, affiliation you have with church bodies, denominations, heck, cults if you need to. I’ve been clear on mine (though my responses clearly indicate where i reside. I am evangelical. Protestant. Just joined a little Presbyterian church, the first time my wife and i have ever belonged to a particular denomination during our 40+ years as christians. There now, that wasn’t hard, was it? You can pretty much divine what my beliefs are (tho i do not adhere to some of the minor doctrines of the Presbyterian church, such as infant baptism. I’m not really against it, i just don’t put the same degree of importance on it.) So, “what” are you? You deny the Trinity, so you are not Catholic, Protestant, nor Orthodox. Why the refusal to answer? Certainly if you can discuss your viewpoints on biblical topics you can reveal such a small thing as this. I simply want to know if you are associated with anything involving the historical christian church. I think people have a right to know. You jump on line, wax philosophical on the bible, use lots of christian sounding terms. I think we have a right to know what undergirds your belief system. Of course, maybe that’s just me. Perhaps no one else cares. There is little discernment on this site. Perhaps the people are sincere. Oh, if only that could seal our salvation. But no. Being sincerely wrong will not cut it at the judgement. Especially when you have irritating people like me on line trying to get you to the truth. Like Jesus said, it just might be better had you never heard.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I didn’t miss your reference to Isaiah 53. What I do miss is anything at all in Isaiah 53 about Christ paying for our sin, or paying the penalty for our sin. Would you please show me the verse where it says that? I don’t see it.

    That may be your interpretation of it. But the text itself never says that Jesus paid for our sins, still less that he paid the penalty for our sins.

    And I said specifically that Paul didn’t talk about sin offerings elsewhere in his writings. I didn’t say that the New Testament doesn’t.

    Yes, the Letter to the Hebrews does. And if you want to argue that Paul wrote it, you can certainly do so, though the letter itself doesn’t say that, and human tradition is a somewhat shaky basis on which to base doctrine and belief. That’s what got both the Jews of Jesus’ day and the Catholic Church into trouble.

    But if you want to look at the letter to the Hebrews, consider Young’s Literal Translation of Hebrews 9:28; 10:6, 8. In each case, Young translates the Greek hamartia as “sin-offering.” And I doubt you can claim to be a greater Greek scholar than Robert Young.

    If you want to argue that Paul wrote Hebrews, then you’re making my point for me, since this very accomplished Christian Hebrew and Greek scholar, who focused on providing as literal and accurate as possible a translation of the Scriptures, identifies three usages of hamartia in Hebrews as meaning “sin offering.”

    Finally, if you don’t interpret New Testament words based on their Old Testament usage, then you are missing not only much of the flavor, but much of the meaning of the New Testament.

    The New Testament was written largely, if not entirely, by Jewish converts to Christianity. They were steeped in the Hebrew Bible, and/or in the Septuagint. Paul was a Pharisee. And the New Testament in general displays a Greek style heavily influenced by Hebrew and Aramaic idiom and vocabulary, and heavily indebted to the Septuagint as well. If you don’t understand that, you will miss much of the meaning of the New Testament.

    In fact, one of the reasons Protestantism has gone so wrong doctrinally is that it has missed this very point. It reads Paul as if he were a Greek philosopher, when in fact Paul was a dyed-in-the-wool Pharisaic Jew. Without understanding this about Paul, you simply can’t understand the things he wrote about being justified by faith without the works of the Law. And Protestantism in general has badly misunderstood Paul.

    If you want to know what Paul was talking about in saying that we can be saved by faith without the works of the Law, read Acts 15. There the controversy Paul was engaged in with the Christians in Jerusalem is spelled out very clearly. Without understanding that controversy, you simply can’t understand Paul’s letters.

  • chuck

    ok Martin, here goes. My reference to the Father not being on the cross is taken from a direct quote in your post. You said He was. But now you say he wasn’t, but wait, now you say He was. You’ll forgive me for not knowing what you mean, because apparently you don’t know what you mean. You say the Father must have “been on the cross” (your exact words) BEFORE Christ was, this because He “only did what He saw the Father doing”. So, when Jesus ate a meal, was it only because He saw the Father eating a meal? When Jesus slept, was the Father asleep? You see how ridiculous it becomes. I myself am a literalist, within the bounds of normal usage of language. Again, you say the triune bond can never be seperated or broken, thus you must also have the Spirit doing all the same things. You seem to be a sincere person, but wherever you stood doctrinally before, may i stridently encourage you to return to it. What you believe now is a mishmash of incoherent and illogical doctrines.
    Again, you DID say sin doesn’t affect our relationship with God. Read your own post, for goodness sakes. And now, after denying that you said it, you SAY IT AGAIN. You say God doesn’t even know what human sin is. SERIOUSLY MARTIN. This is just getting silly. Of course He does (he plans to use said knowledge at the judgement seat). God, who is all-knowing, doesn’t suddenly become incapable of remembering something. While it is true He does not hold said sins against those who are in Christ, scripture certainly states that He will hold them against those who do not believe at the judgement. So YOU are the one taking things way too literal, and that without being aware of the contradictions entailed therein.
    And Martin, saying that a sacrifice wasn’t required by God IS saying a sacrifice wasn’t required. Do you understand english? I’m not trying to be mean, but you don’t seem to understand the implications of your statements. And I am sorry, but do you relieve believe that Christ dies because WE (Humans) required it? This is laughable. God is not constrained to do anything just because WE require it. That’s not even possible.
    And no, God does require sacrifice for forgiveness of sin. Who do you think implemented the entire sacrificial system? Jehovah!!!!!! Your stating that it was set up by man reveals an incredibly ignorance of the bible, specifically here the old testament. MAN did not set up the sacrificial system out of “guilt”. God did!! Out of grace. Please Martin, read the entire books of Exodus and Leviticus. They will abolish your statements.
    You know, as i continue to read your post, i feel a sense of hopelessness. Virtually every sentence written is a totally inaccurate rendering of the biblical record. Hebrews does indeed talk about the sacrifice of Christ, and how Jesus entered the heavenly Holy of holies to present himself to His father as the final and ultimate sacrifice. It’s right there in the book of Hebrews, Martin, and if you had actually read the book, instead of skimming through or reading heading titles, you wouldn’t have (I pray) come up with such nonsense.
    While the death of Christ was indeed something we desperately needed (otherwise no salvation), it was ultimately to be offered to His Father in Heaven (again, Hebrews). And if only a drop was needed (a noble thought, but NOWHERE taught in scripture), why the crucifixion. Jesus could have just pricked His finger and voila!!! All done.
    Your response to my murder analogy is nonsensical and ludicrous. Its the LAW that requires payment for crimes (sins). So you really would stand in court and plead that the judge let someone who murdered your entire family go free, just walk out? Forgive my french, but what the hell kind of society would that be? Hey everyone, we’re forgiving people!! Just take what you want and kill whomsoever you desire!!! No consequences. Have at it. Sorry Martin, i do not take you seriously for one moment. It sounds like real religious and good talk, but it’s nonsense. You encourage evil to reign supreme while “godly” people are just supposed to stand around and be robbed or murdered, perhaps with their hands folded, halos aglow. You are free to turn the other cheek, Martin. You, however, are not free to turn mine or anyone elses.
    Yes, Jesus forgave. He also said, “GO AND SIN NO MORE” He publicly berated the people, priests, and scribes for their sinful blindness and hardened hearts. According to you, He just should have shrugged His shoulders, let their sin continue, and welcome them into the Kingdom of God. What utter drivel. Think me unkind if you will, Martin, but for someone who claims to have been a christian for about 40 years, you don’t seem to have one scintilla of historic, or even biblical faith. You were honest, though, and admitted that you (supposedly) once did, altho how you would get from there to here is quite beyond my imagination. Do what i said before. Get a couple, goodness, even just one, book on sound biblical doctrine that reflects the historic christian faith and read it. You don’t seem aware that you contradict yourself from one statement to the next. Perhaps you are just not good a putting things into words. Either way, you are far far astray, my friend. And not just on one thing. Or a little thing. I’ll pray for you. I don’t sense that you are evil or malicious, but that won’t keep you from being deceived.

  • chuck

    NO Martin, YOU are saying that. Many who reject PSA do indeed believe in what you just denied they do. Perhaps you don’t. But many do. And i reject it, to reference your last post, because i believe it to be a false gospel, so logically, i must consider it accursed.
    And FYI, no one talked about hell more than Christ. And no one used the word eternal in reference to it than Jesus. If you have a problem with ECT, take it up with the one who gave it to us. And please, stop this “all we are saying is give peace a chance” mantra. God is far more than love. And nowhere in scripture does it tell us that He is more “love” than any other of His “qualities”. You can’t just embrace love and ignore righteousness and judgement. Don’t accuse those who disagree with your pacifistic approach of being guilty of “wanting” people to suffer. While i am sure there are sadists in any crowd, i know of know believers, nor of any statements from christian churches where it is said that they want people to suffer forever. Quit acting like someone made it up. Jesus said it. Feel free to redefine or juggle with His words, but do so at your own peril. People who believe in ECT are no less loving than you are Martin. It is arrogant and self-righteous to think so. They just believe what Jesus said. I think that’s the safest bet, don’t you?

  • chuck

    Thanks Martin, i think we know what dung is. That doesn’t excuse using the fornication word. I am amazed at how people who think they are spiritually superior to other people are so often blind to their own error. Please feel free to extend the benefit of the doubt if you want, but having heard nothing to the contrary, i’ll continue to assume to believe she meant it that way, and will continue to believe it highly inappropriate, especially in this particular discussion.
    Any other curse words you want to discuss?

  • chuck

    Look Martin, i’m not going to answer twenty of your posts every day. Simplify, abbreviate, whatever, but i have a life. And what you think your statement proofs is beyond me (as is much of what you say). Your just stating a tautology. “i found this to be wrong because i found it to be wrong”. Based on your lack of knowledge concerning scripture, I doubt seriously that you actually read or understood the PSA position. You stand where you want, Martin. I’ll stand right at the foot of the cross and let His blood drench me, a beautiful, purifying sacrifice that makes me clean and pleases God.

  • chuck

    as usual, Martin, you neither read nor understood my response to Lee, which He also ignored and moved on to something else. But by all means, if “likes” are your thing, give him lots of clicks.

  • chuck

    you did however, Martin, manage to commit blasphemy numerous times. And like a blind man in a hole, you keep digging down thinking it will get you out. I hope you ask God to forgive you.

  • chuck

    well, thanks for the info. And yes, the historic christian church would consider you heretical. but to each his own. I don’t disagree with you about the church fathers or councils. The christian church does not believe(or should i say should not believe) in the Trinity because of a council or church father. They believe it because it is in scripture.
    You can argue over the usage of words such as “persons”, these are just human constructs used to understand or reference something. The church certainly does believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are “persons” in the sense that humans are. Some scholars use essence, nature, and on and on. What the Bible does give us are passages where the Father is called God, the Son is called God, and the Spirit is called God. They are also all refered to as “he”, not as a reference to sex, but as to their individuality, i.e., the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, etc. Now for your information, i developed my apologetic teeth witnessing to Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Way International, so if you want to debate the Trinity or deity of Christ, by all means, let’s have a friendly go.
    By the way, your church is not older than mine. Mine was founded around 30 A.D. And bigger is irrelevant. My faith is the historic christian faith of the bible, not the Catholic, Protestant (altho i would be considered one) or Orthodox branches. I owe no allegiance to any of them. My doctrines are founded in scripture, and as i said, you want to debate that, you have indeed found a dance partner. Thanks for your response.

  • chuck

    sorry about the above mistake. I meant to say the church doe NOT believe that the Father Son and Holy Spirit are persons in the human sense of the word. My bad.

  • chuck

    sorry about the above mistake. I meant to say the church doe NOT believe that the Father Son and Holy Spirit are persons in the human sense of the word. My bad.

  • Martin

    It only says that God ‘is’ love light and Spirit in the essence of His being. So yes the Bible say that love is higher than and different from His other attributes. Justice and righteousness flow out of and submit to Him being love, they are not equal.

    Jesus spoke a lot about ‘gehenna’ wrongly translated as ‘hell’ in reference to AD 70 He never mentioned ECT once! Why would Jesus introduce a new topic about which there is not a single verse in the whole OT. i am amazed Chuck that such a Biblical scholar like your self doesn’t know that the word translated ‘eternal’ is ‘aionios’ meaning ‘age to age’ or ‘age enduring’ and not for ever (another deliberate mistranslation by those with a doctrinal bias towards ECT) We both know Jesus taught that the ‘end of the age’ was AD 70 so the ‘eternal punishment’ (which should be translated ‘correction’) was referring to AD 70.

    No where is salvation ever presented as salvation from ECT none of the Bible writers believed in it. I would be a false gospel according to Paul, who never mentioned ECT once in either His recorded preaching or pastoral letters.

    I am surprised also that you don’t know that ‘go and sin no more’ is another deliberate wrong translation, the original Greek says ‘go your sin is no more’ But I guess you read into scripture what you want as much as anyone!

    Please don’t pray for me, I can’t think right now of anyone I’d like praying for me less than you. You could spend all day writing to me and quoting scriptures (that I have studied in detail with many commentaries) and nothing you could write would convince me that both PSA and ECT are demonic false doctrines. They are coming down Chuck no doubt about !

    Bless your journey!

  • chuck

    Hello Lee. Are you serious about Isaiah 53? He was pierced (crucified) for our transgressions (sins), he was crushed for our iniquities (tell me you know these are sins)….with his wounds (the beatings, the crucifixion) we are healed (from what? the common cold? Allergies?). Transgression, iniquities, pierced FOR, crushed FOR. Why in the world was all this necessary? You’re really going to argue that none of this means he paid for our sins because you can’t find the phrase “paid for our sins”? Synonyms for sin are used at least twice, the word “for” is used twice, “by” once. You’re just resorting to games here.
    And all due respect to Young, i consider Bullinger, Wuest, A,T Roberson and others as his equal, if not superiors. Again, may i say, i rely first and above all else on the actual words of scripture. If ANY scholar, regardless of rank, proposes a meaning or interpretation not in agreement with the wording and context of scripture, i will disregard them. And as my previous post pointed out, Paul had plenty of words at his disposal to use for “offering”.
    I won’t disagree that scholarship lost sight of Pauls Jewishness long ago. I also believe it has over-reacted and often interprets Paul as if He still adhered to old testament Law for salvation, ignoring his letters to the primarily Gentile churches. Paul honored both the Law yet made clear that the Law could not and never would save anyone. It’s Christ crucified or the Law, not both.
    Finally again, if you can read those verses in Isaiah and see nothing about bearing and cancelling out our sins, then honestly, there’s no way i can help you. Your blindness in this regard is worrisome. And that was just a part of a chapter. The references in Hebrew only reinforce the concept, not to mention other parts of Pauls writings. And i disagree with your statement about Paul’s other writings. Now if you are going to continue to argue that the concept of paying for sins cannot be present unless the EXACT words “paying for sins” are used, well then my friend, i’ve got a feeling you might have to eliminate many of your beliefs you think are based in scripture. You have kids? If so, would they have to use the exact words “i feel sick to my stomach” in order for you to believe they were? I feel nauseous wouldn’t do? My belly feels queasy isn’t good enough? My tummy hurts? do you really practice and live with such strictures on your language?
    Finally, in reference to “sin offering”. Even if i accept that translation (and a very great number of biblical scholars do not), which i don’t, it actually doesn’t prove what you assume it does. This is because of your incorrect concept of what a sin offering was in the old testament. You seem an intelligent guy. What was a sin offering? What was it for? What did it accomplish? Why could it qualify as sufficient? The concepts of PSA are derived from an understanding of what a sin offering was in the OT, and how and why Christ death ended the neccessity for them. It is only by removing most of what a sin offering was and did can you then receive false comfort from insisting on that translation. It actually accomplishes nothing for you. I am sure you won’t agree. But i do have history on my side. And no, claiming that because the EXACT phrase Penal-Substitutionary Atonement doesn’t appear in the early fathers does NOT prove that they didn’t understand or accept the concept. And again, they are just men anyway. Like you and me. Prone to error. That’s why, altho i am strident about what i believe, i am aware that those who are deceived are convinced they are not. So i try to remain open. A little. I just can’t let go of forty years of belief because of nit-picking words. I’m sure you wouldn’t either. And seeing we disagree on most everything, why do we even bother?

  • Martin

    Don’t need to forgiveness is un conditional in the new covenant. I’m forgiven whether i ask for it or not. All human sin past present and future was wiped from the record by the cross. None of the verses you quote from either Is 53 (and some of it Is got wrong) or Hebrews says that the penalty or price paid for sin was paid to God )because didn’t need a price paying) If a price needs to be paid that is not forgiveness, forgiveness is a free gift requiring no payment! The price Jesus paid was submitting himself to the cross for our sake when He didn’t have to! If the point of Jesus coming to earth was God needed a sacrifice why did’t God just let Him die in a cot death or peacefully in His sleep! I think you need to heed the words of Jesus , the only time He told people to really look into a verse ‘Go and learn what this means I require mercy NOT SACRIFICE!’

  • Martin

    Forgiveness means to wipe from the record yes! Jesus said His blood remitted sin form all of mankind. Jesus not say He gave the blood to God as payment then God remitted sin! It was the direct action of the blood. Yes Hebrews says without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It does not say without the shedding of blood God won’t pr can’t forgive you.

    Yes Jesus presented His blood to God, but not to satisfy God’s demand for blood in order to forgive. It was something like ‘Hey Dad we did it ! finally my blood Has wiped the sin of Adam from mankind, now they can come out of the illusion that we were ever mad at them or ever separated from them…’

    God having no record of wrong doing is based on Him being love, not on the basis of sacrifice! It says ‘God is love’ and ‘love keeps no record of wrongs’ It no where says ‘God requires sacrifice’ and ‘sacrifice means no record of wrongs’ Hebrews says the blood cleanses our conscience, not God’s!

    Jesus is the ‘lamb of God’ never the ‘bull’ or ‘goat’ of God. Lamb’s weren’t sacrificed for sin bulls and goats were!

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    If “being sincerely wrong will not cut it at the judgment,” then you’ve got some serious problems.

    But that, too, is false. Judgment is not based on correct belief. It is based on whether we have loved God by loving our neighbor, as Jesus himself says in Matthew 25:31-48.

    You are very much mistaken, because you have not paid attention to the plain teachings of the Bible, and of the Lord himself, about what will happen at the time of Judgment.

    See also Romans 2:5-16, where Paul applies the same principle to Jews, Greeks (pagan polytheists), and Gentiles.

    You are very, very wrong.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Your church was not founded around 30 AD. Your church is a human institution, founded by human beings, just as mine is.

    Do you want to know what causes people to be part of the church that Jesus Christ founded?

    He himself tells us:

    I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34–35, emphasis added)

    That, according to Jesus Christ himself, is what distinguishes a person as one of his disciples, and thus part of his church.

  • Lee

    Oops, this blog automatically italicizes block quotes. I intended that the second sentence should be in italics.

  • Lee

    Hi Emma,

    I think I may have tripped some spam trigger by posting one too many comments with links. I tried twice on my most recent comment, which had a single link in it. Both times it disappeared into the ether. Would you please check your spam folder? Or if this is a matter of your preferring that we not engage in this debate here, please let me know, and I will gracefully exit stage right.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Instead, the Protestant Reformers let go of 1,000 to 1,500 years worth of belief in favor of their newly invented ideas, found nowhere in the Bible, about Christ paying the penalty for our sins. And now you’ve been adhering to those human-invented ideas for forty years. That has only ingrained them so deeply in your brain that you are wearing a serious pair of “PSA goggles,” to use Emma’s memorable term.

    This is not just a matter of particular words or terminology. It’s a matter of concepts.

    Bearing sins is not at all the same thing as paying the penalty for sins.

    To use a rather ordinary example, children who grow up in the household of smokers bear the sin of their parents in the form of emphysema, cancer, and other diseases due to constantly breathing second-hand smoke. But they do not pay the penalty for their parents’ sin. The parents still suffer their own penalty penalty of physical disease and death for their smoking addiction.

    The one who sins is the one who will die (Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18:20). If innocent bystanders die due to others’ sins, they suffer for others’ sins, but they do not pay the penalty for others’ sins. Those who sin still die due to their own sin. This is an immutable divine law, stated numerous times throughout the Bible. And God does not break God’s own laws.

    Christ “bore our transgression” and “suffered for our sin” in the sense that he sustained in his mind and body the full force of all spiritual and worldly evil, which unleashed its fury upon him throughout his lifetime, and in full force at the time of his death.

    We get windows into this in the narratives of Jesus’ temptation in the desert after his baptism, and in Gethsemane before his crucifixion. And it stands to reason that these were not the only two times Jesus was tempted by the Devil. On the cross itself Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” quoting the opening line from Psalm 22, which is all about the struggles of temptation and God’s salvation in them.

    We also see it happening in the sustained attacks on him by the reigning religious leaders, scholars, and authorities of the day throughout his ministry—and, of course, in their handing him over to the Romans to be executed by crucifixion. And the Roman sentence of death open him also represents the secular world attacking and condemning him.

    So yes, he bore our iniquities and carried our sin, in the sense that he sustained all of the attacks that spiritual, religious, and temporal powers could heap upon him.

    And by defeating that overwhelming power of spiritual and temporal evil, which threatened to overwhelm humanity and sweep us all down into hell, he saved us from the power of the Devil, including in the powers and principalities of this world. That is why he said to his disciples just before his crucifixion:

    I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world! (John 16:33)

    He was saying that his disciples (which, by extension, includes all of his followers, throughout all time) will face persecution in the world, meaning trials and temptations of various kinds. But because he has overcome the world (meaning the power of evil, the devil, and hell in the world), we, too, can overcome through his victorious power working in us.

    That is how he saves us from our sins.

    Not from the penalty of our sins.

    From the sin itself:

    She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

    When Jesus saves us from our sins, the penalty becomes moot, because we are no longer sinners and we therefore no longer draw the wages of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23).

    This is the general concept that Isaiah is speaking about: Christ bearing the full brunt of spiritual and human evil in his person, and defeating it in order to save us from its power. The whole story is told poetically ten chapters later, in Isaiah 63. (And remember, Isaiah is prophetic poetry, not doctrinal exposition.)

    And this is why there is not one word in Isaiah (or anywhere else in the Bible) about Christ paying for our sins, or paying the penalty for our sins, or paying the price for our sins, or any other such language.

    It’s not just a matter of wording. The whole concept is not there because that’s not what the Scriptures are talking about. They are talking about a completely different concept than the fallacious, non-biblical, late-arriving, and frankly, blasphemous doctrine of penal substitution.

    Short version: The Bible never says Christ paid the penalty for our sins—not in Isaiah 53 and not anywhere else—because the Bible is speaking of a completely different reality.

    Your PSA goggles are causing you to see things in the Bible that simply aren’t there. That’s why you can’t show me a single verse in the entire Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty, or the price, for our sins.

    You say you derive your beliefs from the Bible.

    But in fact, you derive them from Martin Luther, John Calvin, Philip Melanchthon, and the other founding Protestant theologians. I can show you where those human theologians state explicitly that we are saved by faith alone, that Christ paid the penalty for our sins, and so on. It’s spelled out in plain words in their writings. No “interpretation” necessary.

    If penal substitution were derived from the Bible, and if it were indeed the core Christian doctrine about atonement and salvation as Protestants claim, then you could show me where the Bible actually says in its own words that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.

    But you can’t do that.

    Because the Bible never says that.

    Don’t try to tell me that your beliefs are from the Bible until you can show me a place where the Bible says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. I won’t pay attention to you if you cannot quote a single verse in the Bible that says what you claim it says. I will instead continue to pay attention to what the Bible actually says, and not to what you wrongly claim it says.

    And I would strongly urge you, for your own spiritual wellbeing, to remove those well-worn and decades-hardened PSA goggles, no matter how difficult and painful it may be, and read with clear eyes what the Bible actually does say.

  • chuck

    Martin, i now assume you are stupid. Go and sin no more is exactly what the Greek said. You’re talking to someone who has read and translated Greek for over 40 years. You are way out of your depth here. It’s you making stuff up. Yes, gehenna represents the Hebrew gehinnom (the valley of Tophet). It is found 12 times in the NT, 11 in the synoptics, all of those statements made by Christ. The valley of tophet was considered in Jewish lore as the place where the fires never died, where refuse was continuously being burned. Your childish and ignorant statement that the writers of the NT didn’t believe in it is, well, a lie. THEY wrote it. Jesus said it. He also said there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Is this what unconcious people do? Why fear anything eternal if you’re not even aware? No fear there. Hell is eternal. Jesus said so. It is torment. Jesus said so. It is conscious. Jesus said so. It’s you twisting the scriptures to change the obvious meanings of words.
    And please, stop your hypocritical rantings.Bless your journey? How trite. I don’t believe a word of your claims to vast reading and knowedge of scripture, Nothing in all your rantings belies the slightest understanding of biblical knowledge, or even logical reasoning. I will pray for you anyway. Anyone self-righteous enough to think they are too good for someone’s prayer desperately needs it. And i warned you about endless posts. I try to be patient, but you obviously can exercise no self control.

  • chuck

    Martin, more stupidity. Isaiah 53 and the entire Hebrews say exactly what i claimed. Even Lee admits that. Your knowledge of scripture is so very thin, but with just enough knowledge to be dangerous. Too little to understand it, but enough familiarity to twist it. You make claims with no substance whatsoever. “That’s a deliberate mistranslation”) apparently anything you don’t like becomes a “deliberate mistranslation”. I have no idea what bible you read or what commentaries you claim to have read, but you either ignored what they taught or your reading theological trash.

  • chuck

    Yes Martin, God does not hold our sins against as to judgement, although scripture does say christians can be disciplined for sinful behavior (turn such a one over to Satan for destruction of the flesh). And for goodness sakes, God is so much more than love. There is not one scripture that states that LOVE is God’s primary essence, reighning over all else. It also says God is light. Why isn’t this the most important. He is also truth. Why not this. He is righteous. Why not this. I could go on. To artificially alter the nature of God in order to get a god you are pleased with is both blasphemy and heresy. You must consider the whole word of scripture. And you Martin, have so very far to go.

  • chuck

    also, remission is forgiveness Martin. Part of the whole process. And Hebrews does indeed say that Christ presented His blood to the father for just this purpose. Please read the scripture Martin. Do you realize how much time you spend denying the clear meaning and intent of God’s word, conveniently claiming everything you don’t like as a “deliberate mistranslation”. What church do you go to. Or what pseudo–christian group do you belong to? Nothing about your stated beliefs parallel historic christian doctrine, and your exegetical skills are non-existent. You are in deep darkness, Martin. Your mind is so clouded you can’t seem to reason logically or coherently. I’ll pray for God to release your mind from the evil ones grip. You desperately need it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I made two attempts to respond with a link to an article on the biblical basis against the Trinity that I wrote for Christianity StackExchange, which lays out my views on this in some detail. Unfortunately, both times it disappeared into the ozone, so I’m hoping Emma can sort out why.

    Meanwhile, I suspect you’re actually thinking of the Athanasian Creed rather than the Bible when you state categorically that the Bible gives us “passages where the Father is called God, the Son is called God, and the Spirit is called God.”

    Certainly the Father is called God in many places.

    But it’s actually rather difficult to find a passage in which the Son is explicitly called God. There are many that strongly imply it, and I do believe it, but most commonly he is not called “God,” but “the Son of God.”

    And as for the Holy Spirit, you’d really be hard pressed to find any passage at all that states that the Holy Spirit is God. Rather, it says that the Holy Spirit proceeds from God, and so on. And Jesus even breathed on the disciples and said to them, “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). So the Holy Spirit isn’t really presented as anything like a “person” in the Bible, but rather as something that proceeds from the Father and/or the Son.

    So no, I don’t think there is any very strong implication in the Bible that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three “persons” of God. You could make that argument to some extent by inference about the Father and the Son. But the Holy Spirit? That would be difficult.

    Further, seeing them as “persons” even in some philosophical sense is a rather physical-minded, human- and earth-based understanding of elements of God that were more likely meant to be understood spiritually and metaphorically. I believe that using the terms “father” and “son” were simply the closest human terminology available that had some hope of describing the nature of these different elements in God and their relationship to one another. Aside from the fact that the Bible simply doesn’t say it, it’s a leap of logic to conclude that they are “persons” in anything like the way different human beings are persons. And yet, that’s exactly how trinitarians conceptualize and picture in their minds the various persons of God: as three human different figures in conversation with one another, each with a distinct character and role.

    Really, it’s just a Christian version of polytheism. And it’s no coincidence, I believe, that it most likely originated from the mind of a recently converted pagan polytheist: Tertullian.

    Are you aware that the word persona in Latin—which is the language in which Tertullian wrote—has the root meaning of “a mask”? I have come to believe that there are two basic ways to see the trinity of persons:

    As polytheism: three gods that are claimed to be somehow “one in essence,” and yet are still pictured in the mind as three distinct gods.
    As modalism: three “masks” or faces of God, or God presenting God’s self to human beings in three different ways.

    Both of these are false and contrary to the plain teachings of the Bible. And I do not think the doctrine of the trinity of persons can be extracted from these two possible ways of conceptualizing them.

    If I am able to post links here again, and if Emma doesn’t mind, I can provide links to several articles on Christianity StackExchange and on my blog that explain these subjects in greater detail.

  • Lee

    It would have been clearer to say “extricated” instead of “extracted” in the second-to-last paragraph of my previous comment.

  • chuck

    No Lee, my church is the body of Christ. Which was begun after the resurrection of Jesus. Again, while this extreme overemphasis on “love” seems so noble and spiritual, and so like Jesus, it turns God, Christ, and the scripture into a one-dimensional caricature of the truth. Yes, we are commanded to love one another. We are also commanded to believe that Christ died for our sins. We are also commanded to believe and trust (and not dally with) the word of God. We are also commanded to stop the practice of sin.There are so many more things that we are commanded to do and believe. Magnifying one at the cost of all others must make Satan downright gleeful. He’s more than fine with someone having a little of the truth, as long as he can deny them the rest. Yes, my church is the entire body of Christ. Around long before yours, and founded not by men, but by God the Son.

  • chuck

    me too

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    The church you’re talking about is not your church.

    It is also not my church.

    It is Christ’s church.

    And neither you nor I gets to say who is in it and who is not. That’s Christ’s job, not yours or mine.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    As for the rest, yes, of course the rest of those are very important, and even essential, for Christians.

    But Christ himself told us what the greatest commandments are. And they are not about belief, nor about trust, nor even about repentance, but about loving God and the neighbor.

    All the rest follow from and depend upon those two commandments, as Jesus himself said.

    It’s not a matter of “denying the rest.” It’s a matter of putting them all in their proper order of importance.

    Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is the most important—above both faith and hope, as well as all of the others.

    Loving our neighbor as ourselves is the second most important—also above faith, hope, and all the rest except loving God.

    The rest follow from these, and are correspondingly not as important, but still very important because Jesus Christ has taught us these other things in the Bible as well.

    If your theology does not recognize this, then it is not the theology that Jesus Christ taught in the Bible, and it is therefore not Christian theology, but some sort of human theology.

  • chuck

    your statement that the judgement is merely and simply about how we treated our neighbors is simplistic and pretty much ignores most of scripture. Again, this obsession with one emotion used as some sore of talisman go gain entry into the “we are the world” kingdom is so simplistic, and so wrong. Remember, you are in the pseudo-christian cult. The vast vast majority of the body of Christ would be in agreement. If you think you will enter heaven simply because you “loved” somebody while at the same time distorted and rejecting biblical teaching on the nature of God and the atonement, I will just quote Jesus. “Not all who call me Lord will enter into my kingdom” Christ is the Way, the TRUTH, and the life. You must believe in the truth, both biblically and in the person of Christ. Remember, even those who heal, cast out demons, etc. in Christ’s name are not assured of salvation. Nothing in these passages that say a dash of love will compensate for heresy. The book of Hebrews (your favorite)give numerous warnings about the danger of apostasy and heresy. May i suggest you pay them heed. You certainly will have no excuse at the judgement.

  • chuck

    Look Lee, i’ll say to you what is said to Martin. I have a life. I am not going to sit around all day responding to yours and his constant posts. Either simplify, abbreviate, or i’ll not bother. there is no need for this many posts. I’m going to deal with the issue plainly and clearly in this one post. There is one caveat, however. If you do not believe that the bible refers to both Jehovah and Jesus as REDEEMERS, then go no further. I will know you are willfully blind, because there are abundant scriptures that make just that statement.
    REDEEM- in the old testament- ga’al, padah, kapar, geullah-
    DEFINITIONS- (in same order)- to redeem deliver, avenge, act as a kinsman, it’s basic usage had to do with the deliverance of persons or property that had been sold for DEBT (the book of Isaiah uses this word referencing God 13 times). Padah- “to redeem, or RANSOM. (Is.29:22, I kings 1:29, Ps. 26:11;21:5; 71:23). kapar- to ransom, atone, expiate, propitiate (used in reference many times to chatta’t, the sin offering. Imagine that. Sin offering and ransom together. How surprising). Ge’ullah- right of redemption. used in regard to deliverance of persons or property THAT HAD BEEN SOLD FOR DEBT).
    New testament- EXAGORAZO- TO BUY OUT. especially of PURCHASING a slave with a view to his freedom. LUTROO- To release ON RECEIPT OF RANSOM. Titus 2:14 where the work of Christ in REDEEMING men “from all INIQUITY (sins). APOLUTROSIS- A releasing for (i.e. on PAYMENT of) a RANSOM. see Romans 3:24)
    Now Mr. Lee, if you can’t get it with this information, we honestly have nothing to talk about, nor do i believe you can discern the truth of these scriptures. You’re always harping about the words ransom, or payment. Well, THAT IS WHAT REDEEMED AND REDEMPTION MEAN. And God in the old testament and Christ in the new is called Redeemer. Payment and ransom is exactly what redeemers accomplish. All of above info is easily found in Vines Expository dictionary of old and new testament words. I haven’t changed a word. Straight out of the most used expository dictionary in the english language, with nary a negative word ever said about it. Used by all scholars of all denominations and branches. You can also verify the above by checking Kenneth Wuest’s lexicon, or Robertson’s word studies, and various others
    So here is my point. Christ redeemed us. He PAID THE RANSOM with His life and blood. These are the definitive meanings of the above words. IF YOU CANNOT ACCEPT THIS PLAIN AND SIMPLE TRUTH, WE HAVE NOTHING MORE TO TALK ABOUT. If you still reject this clear teaching, you are just plain blind. And i think willfully so. I’m not even interested in how you will try to wiggle out of this. Either accept the meanings of the words or admit that you don’t want to and will not. That would be the honest approach. Your blaming protestants, catholics, etc, when it is your inability and refusal to accept the teaching of God’s word is disingenuous.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So you’re saying that both Jesus Christ and Paul are wrong in the passages that I linked you to, and that Judgment actually happens the way you say it does, and not the way theysay it does?

    It matters not what “the vast majority of the body of Christ” (so-called) thinks. It matters what Jesus Christ teaches in the Bible.

    So please tell me how Jesus Christ and Paul are wrong in Matthew 25:31-48 and Romans 2:5-16.

    Did Jesus make a mistake, and your Protestant theologians are required to set him straight?

    Maybe it was just a little mistake. Maybe he just plumb forgot to say that we will be judged according to whether or not we believe that he died to pay the penalty for our sins!

    It would be an honest mistake. After all, there were no Protestant theologians around to nudge him in the ribs and say, “Actually, Jesus, it doesn’t work that way. Let me explain it to you. . .”

    Poor Jesus! If only Calvin had been around, he wouldn’t have made that rookie mistake!

    So please explain to me how Jesus was wrong, and it is really not those who take care of their neighbor in need who will go to eternal life, and it is not those who do not take care of their neighbor in need who will go to eternal punishment.

    Please explain to me how Jesus was wrong, wrong, wrong, and that is not the basis on which he will render judgment when all the nations gather before him.

    Clearly Jesus made a mistake when he said all that silly stuff!

    I am very interested to hear how you will instruct Jesus Christ in the proper way to do his job on Judgment Day.

  • chuck

    No Lee, i am quite capable of saying what i mean.What i said is absolutely true. Been quoting them for decades. but see my previous response. Until that is dealt with, i have no further interest in wasting time with you.

  • chuck

    Yeah duh. It is my church I belong to it. Christ is the head. I am part of the body. Part of his bride. I am married to Him. He is mine. Your other point is mindless blather.

  • chuck

    The fact that Jesus responded to the question about the greatest commandment by recapping the entire Ten Commandments lays the lie to your statement. He who loves me will obey my commandments. Plural. Not singular. Not hierarchal.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    This has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

    You seem to think that paying a ransom and paying the penalty are the same thing.

    They are not.

    Ransom is, as the word implies, paying a captor for the freedom of a captive.

    Paying the penalty is taking the punishment or paying a fine that a guilty person guilty of a crime deserves to take the punishment or pay the fine him- or herself.

    If you can’t see that these are two entirely different things, then we probably have no basis for a conversation.

    Ransom theory has been around since the early days of Christianity.

    Penal substitution theory has been around only since the time of the Protestant Reformation.

    Look it up. This is really basic stuff. You are confusing and confounding two entirely different theories of atonement.

  • chuck

    You bore me with your juvenile banality. I am happy for you that you have a simple mind. Again, you pick and chose passages and ignore the complete teaching of scripture. You do so to you own destruction. And as i said, until you accept the clear biblical meanings of words (see previous post on redemption), i have no time for you. Even Christ said not to cast pearls before swine.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So Jesus was actually wrong to say that loving God and loving the neighbor are the first and second greatest commandments, respectively?

    Yes, it is hierarchical, with those two commandments in the top two spats. He says it in words as plain as day right there in the Gospels: “This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:38). “And the second is like it” (Matthew 22:39).

    You’re apparently trying to wriggle in your Protestant “faith” thing into the top spot, or at least make it equal to love. But that’s not what Jesus says.

    And it’s not what Paul says either:

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

    I suppose Paul, too, wrong about this, and love is not greater than faith or hope?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’ll take this as you admitting that you cannot answer the question.

    How is Jesus Christ wrong in Matthew 25:31-48?

    How is Paul wrong in Romans 2:5-16?

    These are Scripture.

    These are clear biblical statements.

    In fact, they are the clearest and most definitive statements anywhere in the Bible about what will happen to individual people on Judgment Day.

    Please tell me how Jesus and Paul are wrong, and your Protestant theologians are right, about what will happen on Judgment Day.

    You’re not arguing against me. You’re arguing against the Bible. You’re arguing against Paul. You’re arguing against Jesus Christ.

    It is you, my friend, who are caught in apostasy and fallacy. It is you who are arguing against the plain teachings of the Bible.

    I do seriously hope you will consider this well, open your eyes, and pay attention to what our Teacher tells us in the Bible.

    Throw away your johnny-come-lately, human-invented PSA fallacy, and learn the truth as it is taught in the plain words of the Bible.

  • chuck

    we are done. Finished. Talk to someone else. Apparently you don’t think a word can mean anything other than the word. For example, “wet” cannot describe a moist surface, because wet doesn’t literally mean a moist surface. This is juvenile. Ransom Debt Payment. Whatever is owed!!!! No matter what the debt is, it is paid. To pick one possible meaning of a word and ignore all others is beyond obstinate. You are right. We have nothing to talk about. Take care.

  • chuck

    Lee, all of your arguments are mine applied to you. I’m just not going to waste valuable time watching you redefine everything to suit your argument. And i’ll take it, despite your previous post, that you can’t or won’t answer my question, at least not without mauling the english language. You see what you want. You wear the goggles just like the rest of us. Better realize it before it’s too late. Please get over dating everything and think that that proves it’s right. There were a good many heresies that developed along with orthodox doctrine. Are they right because they are first. Earliest doesn’t always win, just as late doesn’t always lose. This is not logical reasoning, but begging the question. Answer the rest of yours yourself. You certainly don’t listen to anyone else. Bye.

  • chuck

    Paul was not listing all the qualities of God’s nature. He was arguing that the more showy gifts were not necessarily to be preferred. And again, Christ recapped the entire ten commandments. The first five deal with God and the second five with man. Simple as that. And the second one is just like the first. No real difference, only a perspective. And again, for goodness sakes, love is not going to get you into heaven. The blood of Christ is. Sure love is important. The guys that were casting out demons and healing people and performing mighty works sound like a nice group of guys, doing all that good stuff for other people. Sounds like love to me. Yet they are stunned to realize they are not going to get into the kingdom. and Lee, that’s because salvation is not about works, but about faith in who Christ really is and what He really accomplished. Sincere intentions does not remit sins. Only the blood of Christ. And again, without the shedding of blood there is no remission. The is NO REDEMPTION. I’ve given you dozens of verses, passages, definitions, etc. yet you refuse to see it. Or perhaps you can’t. A blind man cannot see. He might make his way through life for awhile, but eventually, if he wanders off, that blindness will cost him dearly. You are a literalist when it suits you, then one who redefines when necessary. There is no consistency to your interpretations. It all means whatever you need it to mean. And get off the protestant kick. Is that your hole card for everything? They were here before you were, although the heresies you hold to do predate the reformation. Nothing new there. And now, out of kindness, i part ways with you. You decide who won. You determine everything else. I wish you well.

  • Martin

    Apologies Chuck, I assumed that when I said Jesus didn’t mention ECT once you were intelligent enough to know that He didn’t mean it as a never ending torture fiery torture chamber where unbelievers go. There is not one verse in scripture to support such a place. In AD 70 people went thrown into gehenna, they were conscious, I’m sure they did knash their teeth among others things as they were thrown in and it was ‘eternal’ it was from ‘age to age’ an event that changed the ages. So yes indeed Jesus and the other writers of the NT talked of AD 70 as ECT!

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Once again, we’re not just talking about words here. We’re talking about two entirely different theories of atonement.

    If you can’t or won’t tell the difference between Ransom Theory and Penal Substitutionary Atonement theory, then yes, useful conversation is at an end. It would be like discussing the color of a barn with someone who can’t or won’t see that red and blue are two different colors.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    This doesn’t answer the question either, so I’ll pass it by without further comment.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Thanks for giving at least some sense of just how and why you think Jesus and Paul are wrong in what they say about love for God and the neighbor being the greatest commandments, and about who will go to eternal life and who will go to eternal punishment.

    It appears, basically, that you believe that Protestant doctrine about salvation by faith without works defines and supersedes everything Jesus and Paul said. Which is about what I expected. I would add to Emma’s “PSA goggles” that you are also wearing “faith alone goggles,” through which you read everything in the Bible. These goggles prevent you from seeing and understanding what the Bible actually says.

    But the words of Jesus and Paul, and the words of the rest of the Bible, still stand. And I will still believe them rather than you and your Protestant theologians. You can’t just interpret away the plain words of the Lord himself, and of his apostles, about how we are judged on Judgment Day because you prefer to hold to doctrines such as justification by faith alone and penal substitution that are stated nowhere in the Bible, and are, in fact, flatly denied in the Bible’s own plain words.

    Yes, in the two Great Commandments Jesus was recapping the Ten Commandments: the first table about our duty toward God, and the second table about our duty toward the neighbor. And that is just one of the statements in the New Testament that make it clear that the Ten Commandments still apply to Christians, and that it is still necessary to keep them in order to be saved, despite Protestant doctrine claiming that it is faith alone that saves us—something that the Bible never says, but specifically denies:

    You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

    However, Jesus is doing something more than just recapping the Ten Commandments. He is saying that the foundation and basis for keeping the Ten Commandments is specifically love.

    The Ten Commandments themselves do mention loving God in the first table:

    but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:6, emphasis added)

    Jesus takes that mention of love for God in the first table, and says, using Deuteronomy 6:5 as his reference, that the firs table of the Ten Commandments is all about loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and might.

    He then applies the same principle to the second table of the Ten Commandments (which itself does not mention love), saying that the second table is all about loving our neighbor as ourselves. And in this he uses Leviticus 19:18 as his reference.

    So although love is certainly present in the Ten Commandments, and in the Old Testament generally, Jesus is saying, in effect, “Those commandments that are at the center of your religion? They’re not really about strict obedience to law, as you have thought. They’re actually about love for God and the neighbor. And that’s what the Scriptures and religion in general are all about. That is the center and core of God’s word and of God’s church.”

    This is the paradigm shift that took place from the Old Testament to the New. The religion of the Old Testament was based primarily on strict obedience to strict laws. The religion of the New Testament is based on following the spirit of the law out of love and yes faith—or better, faithfulness, which is the real meaning of “faith” in the Bible.

    This is the unifying message of the New Testament, defined clearly by Jesus in the two Great Commandments, and taken up by all of the other apostles: John, Paul, James, and the rest. Our salvation is not based on strict obedience to law. It is based on love for God and the neighbor, and faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his teachings and commandments.

    It is necessary, then, to read the entire New Testament in light of the basic principles Jesus laid down, especially the two Great Commandments. It is those that define and clarify what all the rest of the teachings of the New Testament mean. And if you fail to read Paul’s letters in that light—as Protestantism has massively failed to do—then you simply cannot understand Paul’s message.

    Paul was not saying that we are saved by faith without good works. He was saying that we are saved by faithfulness to Jesus Christ without needing to obey all of the strict ritual and ceremonial laws, such as circumcision—a common catch-all in Paul’s writings for the Jewish ritual law. Rather, Paul said, we are saved by the good works that we do through faith from love.

    You must read Romans 3 in the context of Romans 2, where Paul sets the stage for his teachings about being saved by faithfulness without the works of the Jewish ritual law. This is what he was referring to in a passage that is otherwise very confusing:

    Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:27–31)

    In other words, it’s not about overthrowing the law. It’s about putting the law on a new basis: the basis of faithfulness to God. And elsewhere, as I already pointed out, he says that love is the center and focus of faith, and not the other way around. He says this more plainly, though, later in the same epistle:

    Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:8–10)

    So Paul says the same thing Jesus does: that the Ten Commandments are based on love. Here he is making the same point that Jesus does: that the real meaning of the second table of the Ten Commandments is that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    So Paul, like Jesus, upholds the law of faith, which is the same as the law of love, which says that we are to do good works out of love for God and love for our neighbor, and that if we don’t do this, we cannot be saved.

    Jesus says this as plainly as it possibly could be saved in Matthew 25:31–48. And Paul says the same thing from a different angle in Romans 2:5–14. And the same message is given throughout the rest of the New Testament as well. This is not just a matter of one or two passages. It is the message of the entire New Testament. If you don’t see it, then you simply don’t understand the New Testament and its message.

    The flesh and blood of Christ are not physical, earthly flesh and blood. The flesh and blood of Christ are the love and truth of Christ. It is these that saves us, and not any physical flesh and blood, and certainly not God’s wrath being satisfied by seeing the physical shedding of his Son’s blood on the Cross—something the Bible never, ever says.

    The idea that it was the physical blood of Christ shed on the Cross that saves us is precisely the error that both Jesus and Paul warned against: focusing on the letter that kills instead of on the spirit that gives life.

    In the narrative of John 6, Jesus says this quite plainly after telling us that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood:

    It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63)

    And Paul says the same thing in slightly different words to those who will be leaders of Christ’s church:

    Our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:5–6)

    It is not the physical flesh and blood of Christ that saves and redeems us. It is the spiritual flesh and blood of Christ that saves and redeems us. And that spiritual flesh and blood is Christ’s love and Christ’s truth, or in different words also used in the New Testament, God’s grace and the faith, or faithfulness, that God gives us through which we can accept God’s grace—which is what saves us:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8)

    Not by faith, but through faith, by grace. “Grace” is one of the New Testament’s rich treasury of different words for love, in this case, God’s lovingkindness and favor toward us. That is what saves us. And it happens, not by faith alone, which the Bible never says, and not by a mere keeping of the Jewish ritual law but by faith, works, and love all working together:

    For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love. (Galatians 5:6)

    If you do not see and understand these things, then you have completely misunderstood everything that the New Testament teaches, including everything that Jesus and Paul teach.

    I once again urge you to take off your PSA goggles, and also your faith alone goggles, and read what the Bible actually says. You will then know the truth, and the truth will make you free.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    The Bible doesn’t use our philosophical language. But it does say about as plainly as can be said in its own way of speaking that love is God’s primary essence:

    Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . . God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. (1 John 4:7–8, 16, emphasis added)

    And yes, John also says that God is light:

    This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5, emphasis added)

    So yes, love and light are both part of the nature of God. But in the giving of the two Great Commandments, Jesus makes it clear that love is primary.

    The light that is God comes from the love that is God’s core essence. There is no light (or wisdom) of God that does shine forth from God’s love, and there is no love of God that does not shine forth as the light of divine wisdom and truth. And divine righteousness is God’s love and wisdom working together, never separated. The power of God, called in the Bible “the Holy Spirit” is God’s love and wisdom, or God’s grace and truth, flowing out from God and accomplishing all of God’s purposes both in heaven and on earth.

    This is the real divine and spiritual meaning of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” in the New Testament.

    The Father is the divine core of God, which is love. (See 1 John 4, 8).

    The Son is the visible expression of God, which is truth, or light (see John 1:1–18).

    And the Holy Spirit is the power of God’s love and truth flowing out into the universe and into human hearts and minds, and accomplishing God’s purposes there (see, for example, John 14:26).

    This is the actual Trinity in the one Person of God.

  • Lee

    Re: Penal Substitutionary Atonement, here is a link to a brief article that is part of a larger multi-part article I wrote refuting the Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone:

    The Faulty Foundations of Faith Alone – Part 5: Jesus Paid the Penalty For Our Sins?

    It provides a list of six passages in which the Bible specifically rejects the principle behind penal substitution.

  • Lee

    Hmm. Interesting. It allowed me to post this link, but not a link to Christianity StackExchange about the Trinity. Curiouser and curiouser!

  • Lee

    Well then, let’s see if it will accept a link to the version of that answer about the Trinity that I posted on my blog:

    What is the Biblical basis for disbelief in the doctrine of the Trinity?

  • Lee

    Will wonders never cease! 😀

  • Martin

    You continue to worship your Zeus like pagan god Chick who demands a blood sacrifice to appease His wrath against sin and then be able to forgive.

    I’ll be worshipping the Abba that Jesus revealed!

  • chuck

    and talking with you is like talking with someone who went down the rabbit hole with Alice. Truly yours is an alternate universe. You wanted ransom. You wanted payment. You wanted debt. I gave them to you. And again, you resort to redefining and dissection. Look, i get it. You belong to a pseudo-christian abberant (doctrinally) group. I would never assume you did or could understand the scriptures. If you’re so far off on the doctrine of God and Christ and the Holy Spirit, I’ve no doubt your error envelopes the Bible itself. I’ve played this game with many, and it never ceases to bore. You demand something. I give it to you. You ignore or redefine, than ask for more. It’s juvenile and dishonest, and i trust you are mature enough to know it. And what part of “I’m not answering ten posts a day did you not understand, Lee? This is a clear indicator of your obstinance. You’ve already decided you know all truth. Other thoughts are like blank pages to you. And thanks for agreeing with me. Our conversation is at an end.

  • chuck

    I’m sorry. The number you’re trying to reach is no longer is service.

  • chuck

    I’m sorry, the number you have reached is not longer in service. Please call I-AM-INA-CULT.

  • chuck

    Perhaps Emma is not nearly as much in error as you are. Good for here.

  • chuck

    Well, so getting names right is not your forte. Please go play with children your own age.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    None of which answers anything I said. Once again, I’ll take this as your inability to answer the questions asked. Insulting one’s opponent is a common refuge for those who cannot provide a real answer.

    You have failed to provide a single passage from the Bible that says any of the things you claim the Bible says.

    Your theology is non-biblical and false.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Good of you to admit that you’re in a cult.

  • chuck

    Lee, pleeeeaaaasssseeee. You repeat yourself endlessly. Love is certainly the best quality we can practice towards our fellow man and God. That is NOT the same thing as implying that God is at least 51% love. You waste so much time. Mine and yours.

  • chuck

    and you sir, to quote a song, are on the “highway to hell”. Any one who has read my posts, except the hard of reading like you, can see i have offered abundant information. You just pretend it’s not there. You would reject the words of Christ Himself if you thought He disagreed with you. Oh wait, you already have. Go away, petulant child

  • chuck

    That was actually your cell phone number, Lee. Poor baby. Want a cookie? And for those who think chinese water torture is the worse, think again. It’s trying to get Lee to acknowledge the obvious.

  • chuck

    again, Martin, your ignorance astounds. People were NOT burnt alive in the Valley of Tophet (gehinnom). That would be considered human sacrifice, a pagan idolatrous practice. Here’s an idea. Read a book before you post next time. Wow, does anyone other than Emma here have half a brain? While i disagree with her viewpoint, it is at least coherent and reveals some degree of respect for scripture. You and Lee just tripsy through la-la-land making up historical facts and with stiff-neck ignore clear statements of scripture, just because you think the wording is not exactly like you want it to be. Who wrote the bible, you guys? You or God? Oh no, now you will say, “Hey, Chick (Martin’s new name for me), God didn’t write it, men did? Such limited mental capacity. But thanks for reducing you posts to me from ten a day to four or five. Now if you could only reach zero.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    My denomination, the Swedenborgian Church of North America, is a member of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, as you can verify here. The National Council of Churches doesn’t admit cults into its membership. So it was clear that you weren’t talking about my church.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’m still waiting for you to show me even a single passage in the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    It shouldn’t be so hard. No need for a whole post. Just give the book, chapter, and verse in the Bible.

    And while you’re at it, please show me even a single passage from the Bible that says that we are justified or saved by faith alone.

    Until you do so, I will continue to state the truth: Your beliefs are non-biblical and false.

    All you have to do to prove me wrong is to provide one or two verses from the Bible that say these things. That would do it.

    But you won’t.

    Because you can’t.

    Because the Bible never says either of these things.

    Instead you’ll just keep insulting me. And anyone reading in will know why: because you don’t have a biblical leg to stand on.

  • chuck

    Based on the ultra-liberal, doctrine-less practices of most member churches, I am sure they would welcome Satan into membership if he applied. The most lukewarm church body in existence. You are a pseudo-christian cult, founded by Thomas in the 19th century, not far from the time the Jehovah’s witnesses were formed. Your doctrines are quite similiar, and Thomas’s association with the Campbellites and Millerites explains the extreme focus on the end times. Your denial of the Triune God and the deity of Christ remove you from any consideration of being part of the historic christian church. You constantly bash the Protestants, when the Reformation took place over 300 years before Thomas started your group. While many my applaud your focus on works obtained salvation (much like the Mormons, another cult from the 19th century), your degrading of the nature of Christ (denying His deity) also removes you from the historic church and leaves you with a satanic, shallow version of the true Lord. I read your links. I noticed your statement that the “brief” duration of Christ’s life removes any possibility that He could have died for and paid for the sins of so many. Wow, Dude, your butt is going to burn. I can’t wait, and i pray i have a seat, to see you stand before God the Son and tell Him he doesn’t qualify as an acceptable sacrifice (again, have you read Hebrews? Oh, i forgot. You think that by questioning the authorship of the book your off the hook). But you did admit it taught that Christ was an acceptable sacrifice, but you choose to ignore it. As you have dozens of points. And i am sure that you would focus on all the scriptures that teach the true humanity of Christ (which no real christian denies) and ignore or explain away the dozens of scriptures that reveal his deity. I’ve witnessed to JW’s for years, so i know exactly the scriptures you will use. And you will ignore Phil2:5-8, which clearly states Christ existed before His birth as a man, and from all eternity for that matter (Micah 5:2), and is called the Alpha and Omega (Revelations. are there two alphas and omegas). The JW’s believe there is a “big” God and a little ‘god’. Perhaps you do the same.
    You need to read Galatians (little argument over Pauls authorship) if you think works will save, as if YOUR BRIEF life would give you time to save yourself. No wonder you deny PSA. You don’t think Christ qualifies!!! Man, you are in so much danger.
    And stop harping on Protestants as if being one eliminates their christianity. There are hundreds of millions more of them than there are of you (what, 50,000 or so?) and they’ve been around far longer. Your inability to understand my i am in a cult joke clues me in to your difficulty processing complex thought, or your ability to live in denial, or perhaps both. Your heretical beliefs are old and have been answered a billion times. The only surprise is that people still fall for these lies, altho there is a dark power behind them. If you can read Romans and Galatians and still believe it’s YOU who finalizes your salvation, (oh, i forgot Ephesians 2), then sleep well. You better pray for eternal sleep.

  • chuck

    Listen, blind man. I gave you dozens of verses, definitions, etc, and you can’t ever read simple english.
    Eph 2:8 ” For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is NOT YOUR own doing’, it is the gift of God, not a result of works”. While God certainly wants us to DO good works, they have NOTHING to do with obtaining salvation. Clearly stated in this verse, tho I certainly anticipate some etymological gymnastic from you, or perhaps you’ll take residence once again in the state of denial.
    Romans 4:5 “And to the one who DOES NOT WORK but believes in him who justifies the UNGODLY, his faith is counted as righteousness.”
    Romans 5:1 ” Therefore, since we have been justified by faith (no works mentioned here), we have peace with God THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.”
    5:9- Since, therefore, we have now been JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD.
    4:14- For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be heirs, FAITH IS NULL AND THE PROMISE IS VOID.:3:23- for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified (i don’t think you can be justified if you are not saved) by his grace AS A GIFT, through the REDEMPTION (ransom, payment of debt, remember?) that is in Christ Jesus, whom GOD PUT FORWARD (see, the Father had something to do with the crucifixion), as a propitiation (a full payment, in lieu of) BY HIS BLOOD, TO BE RECEIVED BY FAITH,
    Galatians 3:2- Let me ask you this: Did you receive the Spirit ( i think you’d have to be saved to receive the Spirit who is not just a star wars kind of force). by works of the law, OR BY HEARING WITH FAITH. ARE YOU SO FOOLISH? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh.
    3:13- Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by BECOMING A CURSE FOR US….so that in Christ Jesus….we might receive the promised Spirit THROUGH FAITH.
    Your right, Lee, there isn’t a SINGLE verse in scripture that says we are save by faith and not works. There are dozens.
    Who’s telling the truth now. You? Who constantly gets run over by multiple scriptures disproving your viewpoint, but who blissfully acts as if they are not even there, or does the mental equivalent of a tumbleweed trying to avoid the clear intent and meaning of words.
    Now, lest you misrepresent me, i AM NOT saying that true faith is not evidenced by good works. As one of the scriptures above states, and James, a “faith” with no evidence of godly works is am empty faith, a sham. This is what James refutes, and also Jesus, when people claim that just by being a Jew, or belonging to a specific religion, they are saved. If there is no evidence of godly works, there’s doubt of a true faith. James and Jesus are refuting a FALSE faith, one not evidencing godly works (of which there are many, as there are many gifts given for just that purpose). As someone once posited, “if you were accused of being a christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” So i am all for a faith evidenced by godly works. But as the above scriptures indicate, I am NOT, IN ANY WAY, saved by those works. You might want to throw out James 2:24 to prove otherwise, but if you interpret that to mean we are saved by works (alone or in conjunction with anything) then i am afraid you have a contradiction in scripture, in which case i would stop using it as a guide for life. Or, taking James in complete context, you will see he is in agreement with Paul Both their views are compatible. No one is saved by works at all, only true faith. But a true faith will show evidence of godly works. See. It’s easy when you let the ENTIRE scripture speak.
    So, i am sure you will say, “but it doesn’t say FAITH ALONE!!” No it doesn’t. It says we are saved by faith, NOT BY WORKS. Now if we are saved by faith PLUS works, then Paul is in error in Ephesians and Galatians and Romans. You can’t truly cancel out dozens of verse with one verse that APPEARS to say something different. Either they are compatible or contradictory, and I don’t think you or I think the bible is contradictory. I agree with James, that faith apart (without) works is dead. Faith is not a free ride. True faith is not antinomian. Paul even gives an example in Corinthians of someone, saved i think the passage made clear, that is passed through the purging cleansing fire of Christ to seperate the worldly from the godly, and has little or nothing left. Yet, amazingly, Paul still accounts him as saved, but “by the skin of his teeth”, so to speak. No, works can’t save you. But they are redeemable for crowns, which we then get to throw at the feet of Christ in gratitude. Because even the godly works we do are only because of the faith we place in Jesus, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. As Paul would say, we will not be able to boast in heaven. Everything is a gift from God. No boasters allowed.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    All of this merely illustrates your ignorance about what my church believes. We are not JWs. We are not Mormons. Those churches do indeed have some strange beliefs.

    We believe in the full humanity and divinity of Christ. We have since the beginning. We believe that Jesus Christ is God.

    And yes, Christ was a sacrifice for our sins. But not the way you think of it. You still have not produced a single passage from the Bible saying that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. Why not? Because you can’t.

    Also who’s this “Thomas” who supposedly founded our church? I know the history of our church quite well, and I can’t think of any “Thomas” involved in its founding.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I asked you to show me a passage that says that faith alone saves or justifies us. You have not produced any such passage. Instead, you produced passages that say that we are saved by or through faith. Those are two completely different things.

    Faith alone is not faith. James teaches us this fact very plainly.

    If you’re ready to admit that we are not saved by faith alone, then the debate on that point can end right here. That is the point. Nowhere in the entire Bible does it say that we are saved by faith alone, which is what Protestants claim.

    So you did not respond to the challenge I gave. You responded to a different one.

    And I see that you still have not produced a single passage that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    Why not?

    Because you can’t.

    Because the Bible never says that.

    Because it is false.

    And yes, at your invitation I’ll quote James 2:24 once again.


    Because it is the only passage in the entire Bible that uses the term “faith alone.” And in that one passage, faith alone is specifically rejected as justifying a person. Here it is once more:

    You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

    You can spill all the ink or pixels you want trying to explain that away, and claim that James didn’t really mean what he said in words plain as day. I’ve read some real doozies of ratiocination from many Protestant authors trying to argue that the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says when it rejects justification by faith alone.

    But the simple fact of the matter is that in the one place in the entire Bible where faith alone is mentioned, it is specifically rejected as justifying, or saving, a person.

    That’s why Martin Luther tried unsuccessfully to remove James from the Bible, along with a few other books, such as the book of Revelation, that contradicted his newly invented doctrine of justification by faith alone. Luther was well aware of the fact that the Bible contradicted his doctrine. Why aren’t you aware of that fact?

    As for the passages you quoted, your understanding of them stems from precisely what I identified previously: you think of Paul as a Greek philosopher when in fact Paul was a Pharisaic Jew turned Christian.

    “Works,” and “the works of the Law” in Pharisaic Judaism had a specific meaning: being an observant Jew, who follows the many ritual and ceremonial laws prescribed in the Hebrew Bible—the first of which was being circumcised at eight days old, or as an adult if one was converted to Judaism. That’s why wherever “works” and “the works of the Law” show up in Paul’s writings, talk of “circumcision” regularly shows up within a few verses. For example, read on to Ephesians 2:11, and there it is: “circumcision” vs. “uncircumcision”—making it clear what Paul was referring to when he used the word “works” in Ephesians 2:8–9.

    You, and Protestants in general, have completely misunderstood the point that Paul was making, because you understand neither what he means by “faith” nor what he means by “works.” You’re reading those terms through “PSA goggles” and “faith alone goggles” donned 1,500 years later, not from the perspective of Paul himself, and the way he used those words nearly 2,000 years ago.

    About “works” and “the works of the Law,” once again, please read Acts 15, which recounts what has come to be known in Christian history as the “First Council of Jerusalem.” It provides the historical and theological background for everything Paul said about being saved by faith without the works of the Law.

    Short version: Paul was arguing strenuously, against the Jerusalem Christians, that it was not necessary for Gentiles to be circumcised and become observant Jews in order for them to be saved by Jesus Christ.

    Now, many centuries later, we take this for granted. Aside from Messianic Jews, who are halfway between Judaism and Christianity, no Christians today believe that Christians must observe the Jewish ritual law. That principle was established by Paul, Peter, and others in the first century of Christianity. It has long since become a part of the fabric of the Christianity that we inherited from them.

    But among those early Christians, this was a huge debate. The first Christian converts were all Jews. So naturally they were circumcised, and they followed many, if not all of the Jewish ritual laws. And they thought that newly baptized Gentile Christians should be circumcised and become observant Jews as well.

    Paul, Peter, and several other apostles who were evangelizing in Gentile areas argued that this was wrong, that Christ’s sacrifice did away with the need to observe Jewish ritual law, and that it was therefore unnecessary for Gentile converts to be circumcised and observe Jewish ritual law.

    That is what Paul is talking about when he says that we are saved by faith apart from the works of the Law.

    And about “faith,” you also misunderstand Paul’s use of that word because you think he was using it in a Greek philosophical sense when he was actually using it in a Hebrew sense. In the Hebrew usage, “faith” means, not some belief held to in the mind, as in Greek philosophy, but rather faithfulness to God and to God’s commandments. You can read all about it in this article:

    Faith Alone Is Not Faith

    When Paul says that we are saved by faith apart from the works of the Law, what he means is that we are saved by faithfulness to Christ and Christ’s teachings without the works of the Jewish ritual Law. And where he simply uses the shorthand term “works” as in Ephesians 2:8–9, he means the same thing, as is made clear a few verses later in Ephesians 2:11 and subsequent verses.

    This was something Pharisaic Jews boasted about, hence Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:9, “not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” For an example of such boasting at observing the finer points of the Jewish ritual law, see Jesus’ words about the prayers of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9–14.

    So here’s how things stand:

    1. You still have not shown me a single passage in the Bible that says that we are justified or saved by faith alone.

    2. Meanwhile, I have shown you a passage in the Bible that specifically says that we are not justified by faith alone.

    3. You still have not shown me a single passage in the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    4. Meanwhile, here are six passages in the Bible that specifically reject the principle behind penal substitution: that an innocent person can be condemned for, and pay for, the sins of a guilty person: Exodus 23:7; 34:6–7; Numbers 14:18; Deuteronomy 25:1; Proverbs 17:15; 24:24. Look them up and you will see that the Bible specifically rejects penal substitution, just as it specifically rejects justification by faith alone.

    5. You have quoted a whole slew of passages that you have wrenched completely out of their historical context and completely misunderstood because you don’t realize that Paul was a Jew and a Pharisee (see Philippians 3:4–5), and not a Greek philosopher.

    So your score so far in answering the questions I have asked is a big fat zero.

    And your score in understanding the passages that you have quoted is also a big fat zero.

    I’m still waiting for you to provide even a single verse from the Bible that says:

    1. We are saved or justified by faith alone.

    2. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.

    When are you going to either provide me with such passages or admit that you can’t, because those teachings are false and contrary to the plain teachings of the Bible?

    But really, I am no longer writing for you. By now it is clear that you have been so steeped for so many years in the falsities of Luther and Calvin that there is little hope for you to see the truth of what the Bible actually teaches.

    Rather, I am writing for anyone reading in, whose mind may still be open to the light of biblical truth, and who needs to be inoculated against the falsities of justification by faith alone and penal substitution.

  • chuck

    The you don’t even know the history of the Christadelphian church. How sad. Your group is just one of many offshoots. If you believe, not that Jesus is “divine” but that He is co-equal with the Father and the Spirit (noticed you didn’t mention Him), completely God and man, then you are Not Christadelphinian, more like an aberrant offshoot. And i didn’t say you were Mormon, or JW, but similiar to them in some of your doctrines. And son of the father of lies, i gave you plenty of verses. You are blinded by your father. Deceived and a liar.

  • chuck

    Here, for the dense. We are justified by faith, NOT BY WORKS. Do you read that, Lee. WE ARE IN NO WAY JUSTIFIED BY WORKS. NONE. Do you know why? Because, as Paul tells us in Romans and Galatians that if we are in any way justified by works, then God IS INDEBTED TO US. Grace is null and void. God merely pays us for our good works. We earned it. You think just like those that Jesus vilified for thinking their miracles, great works, casting out demons ENTITILED them to entrance into the kingdom. You will be as stunned as they were.
    And shut up with your endless “you haven’t given me a single blah blah blah.” You’re right. I gave you dozens. You don’t see them. Because you are willfully blind. You actually have the audacity to think anything you do could entitle you to salvation.
    Again, James is talking about a false faith. One with no evidence of the Spirits presence andworkings in the life of said individual. He does not say anywhere that we are SAVED BY WORKS, only that genuine faith evidences godly works.
    Thanks for the lesson on Jewish Law. What a revelation.(drip, drip). And again, what’s with the protestants. You’re like a witch or legalistic Pharisee thinking that by endless vain repetition you will alter reality. And how are you and your group any different. You obviously broke with your founding church, changed some doctrines, and now claim you have the truth. Been done hundreds of times throughout history. Same old same old.
    See, here’s the thing, blind man. Showing you verses is useless. You can’t see them. Even if you get a blurry view, you’re busy twisting them. You don’t want to converse any more? Dude, i am way ahead of you. I would rather not read your blasphemy and heresy. I tried to push you away once, but you keep coming back. Just go away and stay away. We’ll find out who is right before the Lord. I will plead His shed blood and righteousness, you can plead your works while explaining why His sacrifice was insufficient. Good luck with that.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Once again, you are merely displaying your ignorance.

    My church was founded in England in 1787, almost two decades before John Thomas was born. In the U.S. the original Swedenborgian church organization, of which I am a member, was organized in 1817, when Thomas was not yet a teenager.

    Obviously my church is not “just one of many offshoots” of the Christadelphian church because we existed decades before the Christadelphian movement started in the middle of the 19th century.

    Please learn your subject before you presume to speak about it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So far you’ve said you disagree with Jesus and Paul about how we are judged to eternal life or eternal punishment on Judgment Day. They say that we will be judged according to whether or not we did good deeds for others. You say that we will be judged only by faith.

    Now you are flatly contradicting James, who said:

    You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, italics added)

    But you say:


    Do you see the contradiction between your statement and the Bible’s statement?

  • Lee

    Heh, forgot once again that this site automatically italicizes quotes.

  • chuck

    and again, Thomas founded the Christadelphian church. The fact that you adopted and attached that name to your cult should at least credit the proper person.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    And as for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we believe that they are three “essential components” (Latin essentialia) of the one God. We do not believe the Son, or Jesus, is a separate being from the Father, as Christadelphians, Mormons, and JWs do. Rather, we believe that the Son is one with the Father as the Bible says. And that the Holy Spirit is God’s power flowing out, which is also God present throughout the universe and in human beings.

    So we believe that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are fully divine and fully one, because together they are the one God.

    You can read a layman’s explanation of our beliefs about the nature of God here:

    Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?

    Our beliefs about God have very little in common with that of the Christadelphians, Mormons, and JWs. Once again, please learn your subject before you presume to talk about it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Did you actually read what I said?

    My church was founded before Thomas was born. And we do not use the name “Christadelphian,” nor is it associated with our church in any way.

    My denomination is the Swedenborgian Church of North America. Not Christadelphian. Swedenborgian.

    Its official name is the General Convention of the New Jerusalem in the U.S.A. No “Christadelphian” in there, either.

    I don’t know where you got the idea that we have something to do with the Christadelphians. You’re just plain wrong about that.

    We have nothing to do with the Christadelphians. We existed before they did, and our beliefs were all articulated before John Thomas was even born. So there is no possible way that the Christadelphians could have had any influence whatsoever on my church and its beliefs.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Can you at least admit that you’re mistaken about the supposed connection between my church and the Christadelphians?

    If you can’t admit that, then it is clear that you have no regard whatsoever for the truth or the facts, but that you will stick to your mistaken notions no matter how clearly it is pointed out that you are just plain flat-out wrong.

  • chuck

    No Lee, Paul said it, boy, you are denser than granite. We will be judged by whether we accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And you didn’t answer my point. If we are saved by works, God owes us. Surely, with your unblbilcal view of God, you can believe this. (your heresy is called Modalism). And please, you will know it whenthe Lord comes. With a shout and the sound of the trump. No slow star wars effusion of the force. And as you like to say, you have no verses that say we are in any way saved by works. Now, bugger off.

  • chuck

    go away blind man

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Where does Paul say that we will be judged by whether we accepted the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

    Please quote the passage where Paul says that.

  • chuck

    Boy;, if you only took your own advice. Try reading the bible before you comment on it. Do you find me attractive? Is that why you are obseesed.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    And no, we are not modalists. Once again, please learn your subject before you presume to talk about it. You can learn the difference between our beliefs about God and modalists’ beliefs here:

    What is the difference between the Swedenborgian and Oneness Pentecostal doctrines of God?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Paul did indeed say that we will be judged by our works, and on Judgment Day those who do good works will receive honor and immortality, whereas those who do evil works will receive wrath and fury. Here it is:

    But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

    All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all. (Romans 2:5-14, emphasis added)

    This is exactly what you are disagreeing with and saying is wrong.

    Paul is very clear. Those who do good works will receive honor and immortality, meaning eternal life. Those who do evil works will receive wrath and fury, meaning eternal punishment.

    You are just plain wrong because you are contradicting the plain statements of the Bible.

  • chuck

    Unlike you,Lee , i can admit when i am wrong. I got your group mixed up while blogging with someone else on another site. My bad. You group showed up over two centuries after the reformation. And it’s still heretical. And you are still blind. My confusing your cult with another one doesn’t affect argument, just the specifics of your heresy.

  • chuck

    nanny nanny boo boo. Same words back at you. I admitted my error, which does not validate your heresy.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Jesus Christ himself could not have been any clearer that on Judgment Day we will be judged for eternal life or eternal punishment based on our deeds:

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31–46)

    This, also, is precisely what you are denying. You say we will not be judged according to our works, but according to our faith.

    Jesus Christ says that we will be judged according to our works, our deeds, what we have done. And so does Paul.

    Do you see the contradiction between what you say and what Jesus and Paul say will happen on the Day of Judgment?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for admitting your error. That does give me some hope that you are at least able to admit it when you make a mistake.

    And you are very much mistaken about the beliefs of my church, because you haven’t studied them and you don’t know them.

  • chuck

    It all just semantics, Lee. Call it what you will, modalism is the blending the three persons of the Godhead into one, or three essences from one source. You are modalists. Find comfort somewhere else.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    If you find this conversation upsetting, then you are welcome to stop talking to me at any time. I know it is hard to have your beliefs and their biblical basis so strongly challenged.

    If Emma asks me to cease and desist from this debate, I will do so without question. If we were on your blog and you asked me to stop commenting there, I would do so without question.

    But this is Emma’s blog, not yours. And until she says otherwise, I am just as free to comment here as you are. It is not your job or your place to decide who can and can’t engage in discussion and debate on someone else’s website.

  • chuck

    This is simple Lee. Those doing good works (and please try to integrate ALL of Pauls writings on this subject) are obviously those who seek after and belong to God. Those who do evil are not. I have never said that there is no reward for doing good, but that possibility only exists because of grace. God doesn’t OWE anyone anything. The rewards are His continued gifts to us. As Paul makes quite clear elsewhere in Romans (which you’ve already ignored), if works achieve salvation, then God is a debtor. You ignore it. Just like you do every time i show you five or ten verses and you desperately search to find one that seems to contradict it. Do you believe in contradictions in the bible? Then deal with it..I have shown that works DO NOT SAVE. you still, in EXACT words (your game), have not showed that they do.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    If you wish to remain ignorant both about modalism and my beliefs, then you are welcome to do so. I have already provided you with a link to an article that explains the difference. If you choose not to read it, and to remain ignorant and make ignorant claims, then that is not my problem.

    Modalism is not just a general “blending of three persons of the Godhead into one.” It is the specific belief that God presents himself to humans, and is seen by humans, in three different ways: as Father, as Son, and as Holy Spirit.

    My church specifically denies this belief.

    We believe that the Father is the unknowable core of God, whom “no person has seen at any time,” just as it says in John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12. We see the Father only through the Son, as it says in John 1:18. So the Father is not one of the ways God presents himself to humans as the modalists claim.

    In fact, your trinitarian theology is actually closer to modalism than my theology.

    You believe that God exists as three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And you conceptualize each one of them as a distinct, knowable person. And yet you say that they are “one in essence.”

    That, really, is simply a variation on the basic idea of modalism. It is God presenting himself in three distinct ways, which is the essence of modalist thinking. That is the precise concept of the original meaning of the Latin word persona, which means “a mask.” So each of the personae, or “persons,” of God is a different “mask” that God puts on.

    That’s modalism.

    So really, trinitarian churches subscribe to a version of modalism, whereas my church flatly rejects modalist thinking.

  • chuck

    none of this says we are saved by good works, only that we are judged accordingly for reward or punishment. Sawwwwwwy.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Okay, so you admit that you disagree with Paul and with Jesus when they say that we will be saved according to the works we do.

    And you see that as contradicting Paul’s statement about salvation through faith and not by works because you do not understand what Paul means by either “works” or “faith,” as I have already explained to you.

    There is no contradiction when it comes to the spiritual teachings of the Bible.

    But your beliefs, and your misunderstanding of the meaning of “faith” and “works” in Paul’s writings, causes you to make Paul not only contradict himself, but contradict Jesus Christ and the entire Bible.

  • chuck

    Ive taught world religions for over forty years. I do indeed know what you believe. The fact that i confused you another blogger is BECAUSE YOU SEND 20 stupid posts a day!!!! Between you and Martin it’s a wonder I don’t think i’m blogging with Lee Marvin.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Nice try.

    But Jesus says quite plainly that those who do good works of love and mercy to their neighbors in need will go to eternal life, while those who do not will go to eternal punishment.

    That’s simply what he says.

    And you keep on contradicting him.

    Jesus says in words as plain as day that we are saved by good works.

    Paul also says in words as plain as day in Romans 2:5-16 that we are saved by good works, and condemned by evil works.

    James says in words as plain as day that we are justified by our works and not faith alone.

    It would be nice for you if the Bible didn’t say these things.

    But it does.

    And you are wrong, because you are contradicting the teachings of Jesus, Paul, James, and the entire rest of the Bible.

    Meanwhile, you still have not shown me a single verse that says:

    1. We are justified or saved by faith alone.

    2. Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    If you know what I believe, then why do you keep getting it wrong?

    It would be much better for you if you simply admitted that you really don’t know what Swedenborg taught, and you really don’t know the beliefs of the Swedenborgian Church.

    Because the fact is that you don’t.

  • chuck

    I can and do have a right to ask you to stop bugging me. You just want to make vain and random statements to imaginary people, go ahead. But you certainly have no right to endless barrage me with posts. And you are right. I can ignore you. I can also bind you Satan, in the name of and through the power of the blood of Christ, which i so now do. May the blood of Christ confuse your thoughts and stop your mouth filled with vile heresies and blasphemies against the true God. May the Holy Spirit convict and convince you of your error and sinful arrogant attitude. Amen, in Jesus name. Bye

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Fortunately, you’re not the one who decides who’s right and wrong, who goes to heaven and who goes to hell.

    That’s Jesus Christ’s job, not yours.

    If you don’t want to talk to me, then don’t talk to me. It’s that simple.

  • chuck

    i think you’re right, although i do have a right to decide what’s right and wrong for you. And don’t have the time, inclination, or desire to talk to a non-reasoning wall. So good. we agree on at least one thing. But when i say i won’t talk to you, it also means i won’t talk about you, or your posts. Therefore you have no reason to repond to mine. I’d appreciated the same,fair, treatment. To do otherwise is to lie and practice deceit and hypocrisy, and become an internet stalker. You should agree, if you are an honest man, I will continue to pray for you. I’m not entirely heartless.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    No, you do not have a right to decide what’s right and wrong for me. You can decide that for yourself, but not for anyone else.

    And it’s not stalking to respond when you say things to me. Don’t be silly.

    Once again, if you don’t want to talk to me, then don’t talk to me. Very simple. If you don’t say anything to me, then I’ll have nothing to respond to.

    Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for you to point to even one passage in the Bible that says that:

    1. We are justified or saved by faith alone.

    2. Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    No Protestant has yet been able to point to a passage in the Bible that says either one of these things.

    I have, however, pointed you to multiple passages in the Bible saying that these beliefs are false.

    Your beliefs on these subjects are false and non-Christian because they are not taught in the Bible, they are specifically denied in the Bible, and they were invented by human beings contrary to the explicit teachings of the Bible.

  • chuck

    And Lee, i am waiting foryou to answer ANY of my questions or even acknowledge verses from the bible. You continue to lie, delusionally so. I have clearly showed that Jesus paid the debt, ransom, price, propitiation, and so on. That’s what redemption means.
    In one of your articles you state , if effect, that Jesus’ physical death was too brief to pay the price for eternal death. Is there a particular bible verse you have in mind to support that? Just one?
    And he would have to suffer eternally in hell to TRULY pay for our sins? Where is the bible verse that clearly states such a thing? Call me silly, but eternal hell is the penalty for sins, it is not the sins. As REDEEMER His death eliminated that penalty PERIOD, for anyone counted righteous (that would be those in Christ, and obviously, DUH, Christ Himself) Do you read your own material. Doe the Bjornborg church even approve of such silly, shallow, reasoning.
    I was doing some reading and come upon one of my favorites, 11 Cor. 5:21 “Four our sake he made him TO BE SIN who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” HMMMMM. Made him TO BE SIN. Interesting. So, as i know the above requested verses are right on the tip of your tongue, please spit them out for me. Remember, now, according to your standards, they must exactly say what you stated. Your standards, not mine.
    Are you paranoid. Frightened? Where did I say I wanted to decide what was right and wrong for you. Literally, what in hell are you talking about?
    For we hold that one is justified by faith APART from the works of the law-Rom.3:28
    For by the WORKS of the law no human being will be justified (you do have to be justified to be saved, right?)- Rom.3:20
    For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, BUT NOT BEFORE GOD (trying to save you time at the initial meet and greet).- Rom.4:2
    And to the one who DOES NOT WORK but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness- Rom.4:5
    “…we know that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith…..not by works of the law……because by works of the law no man shall be justified..Galatians 2:16
    And of course, Eph2.8
    You will, of course, repeat ad nauseum that scritpure does not say EXACTLY that we are justified by faith alone. True, although the intent is hard to miss. How many dozens of times in Pauls writings does he make it clear that no one is justified by WORKS? IN ANY WAY? No if you think one verse from James should override dozens elsewhere in the new testament, i’m afraid all of your beliefs are on shaky (sinking?) ground. Scripture doesn’t contradict itself. And it certainly NEVER says we are saved by works anywhere. James does declare, in contrasting a false or dead faith with a genuine one, that the godly works done for the Lord are proof of our being made righteous (not because of the works themselves but because of WHO they are done for and empowered by). To me this is only an apparent tension, one i can easily live with within the context of all scripture. WORKS CANNOT SAVE. This is clearly stated over and over again. Works can be proof of an individuals being made righteous (and then only by grace, because Isaiah tells us that our righteous deeds are like filthy rags before the Lord. It is God alone who can make our deeds righteous, not us.)
    I understand your obsession with protestants, and apparent cuddling with Catholics and Orthodox. The Reformation brought grace to light after centuries of deceitful hiddeness by Catholicism. You believe your works will save you. Grace teaches otherwise. Thus you dump on the reformers.
    To recap, scripture nowhere says we are saved by works. It clearly states we are NOT. The phrase “faith alone” not being found helps you not in the least. Faith does save. It’s clearly stated. Works do NOT save. It’s clearly stated. Twiddle that all you want, you still won’t end up with “works can save”. Sorry. Find the one verse. And give me verses for my above beginning two questions. And don’t blabber on repeating the same false statements as before. As you would say, find me one verse. If you can’t, then you have no biblical support for your statements in your article or your doctrine of works-righteousness. Heresies all. I have been so very patient with you. I’m hoping the light will break through. I have prayed against Satan for you. It’s up to God now. And if you can’t offer verses to support your claims, then don’t even bother to respond. Let’s just call it quits. It serves no purpose to continue. You can even think you won if it means so much to you. I really don’t care. I have just tried to show you the light and in the process remove all excuses you might have had before the Lord. You won’t be able to point fingers at the tennis players.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for admitting that the Bible does not actually say, in its own words, that we are justified by faith alone. That, at least, is progress.

    And it then becomes a matter of interpretation. And as I’ve already explained, I believe your interpretation of all of the verses you have quoted here is wrong.

    Why does Paul say “the works of the Law” in most places, and not “good works?”

    Because Paul, a former Pharisee, is using a term that had a specific meaning within the Jewish thought of the day: observing the ritual and ceremonial laws laid down especially in Leviticus, and in the other books of Moses as well. This is what Paul meant when he said that we are justified by faith “without the works of the Law.”

    But I’ve already explained this in detail in a previous comment, so I won’t repeat that detailed explanation here.

    You also know that I believe 2 Corinthians 5:21 should be translated, “He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” However, even your preferred translation says nothing at all about Jesus paying the penalty for our sin. Only that he “became sin”—whatever that is supposed to mean.

    About Romans 4, please read the whole chapter. Paul’s point is that Abraham was justified by his faithfulness to God even before he was circumcised. So it was not the Jewish ritual law of “circumcision” and the rest of the “works of the Law” that justified Abraham. Rather, it was Abraham’s faithfulness to God in believing and obeying God’s word that saved him. So Paul’s point in Romans 4 is the same as it is everywhere else when he talks about being saved by faith without the works of the Law: that it is belief in and faithfulness to God that saves us, not observing the Jewish ritual law.

    I could go on with the other verses you quote, but it would just be repeating the same thing. Your interpretation is faulty because you are not paying attention to the full context, and you are removing Paul’s words from the religious and historical context in which he wrote them.

    And of course there is no verse that says that Jesus’ relatively brief death on the cross was not enough to pay the penalty for our sin, which is eternal punishment in hell. The very idea that Jesus’ death paid the penalty for our sins is found nowhere in the Bible, and it never even occurred to any of the writers of the Bible. So how could they possibly engage in arguments about whether Jesus’ relatively brief death was sufficient to pay the penalty of eternal death that humanity had become subject to due to its sin?

    Keep in mind that you still haven’t shown me a single verse in the Bible that says that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin.

    And once again, as I’ve already explained to you, paying a ransom is an entirely different thing than paying the penalty.

    People who are held hostage or captive can be ransomed. The key example of this was the Israelites enslaved in Egypt. They were not enslaved because they were sinners. They were enslaved because a new Pharaoh rose up who did not recognize them as the Pharaoh that reigned in the time of Joseph had, and this new Pharaoh made them into slaves. God then “ransomed” them from slavery by freeing them under the leadership of Moses.

    This is an entirely different thing than paying the penalty for someone who has sinned and incurred a penalty for that sin.

    So yes, you’ve mentioned passages that mention Christ ransoming us. But that is completely irrelevant to my question:

    Where in the Bible does it say that Jesus paid the penalty for our sin?

    The answer is:


    The Bible simply doesn’t teach that Christ paid the penalty or the price for our sins.

    That’s why you can’t show me a passage that says that.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Now about being saved by works, yes, the Bible does say that in at least as clear language as it says that we are saved by faith. Do I have to quote James 2:24 yet again?

    You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, emphasis added)

    So the Bible says both that we are justified, or saved, by works and that we are justified, or saved, by faith. It is exactly as James says: we are saved by faith and works working together, not by either one of them alone.

    I have already quoted Paul’s words in Romans 2:5-16 saying that we will be judged for eternal life or eternal wrath based on our actions, whether good or evil.

    And I have already quoted Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-48 saying that we will be judged for eternal life or eternal punishment based on whether we do, or don’t, do good deeds for our neighbors when they are in need.

    Now I ask you, does “saved” have any meaning, if it doesn’t mean gaining eternal life? Can we be “saved” but go to eternal punishment?

    So if you’re attempting to make a distinction between being “saved” on the one hand, and what Paul and Jesus talk about in those two passages on the other hand, then it is a meaningless distinction. If we are judged for eternal life based on our actions, that means that we are saved based on our actions, and not by faith alone—just as James says so clearly that it cannot be mistaken.

    I can quote more passages for you if you like. But if you ignore and deny what Jesus, Paul, and James say in these passages, then I expect that you will ignore and deny what is said in every other passage I quote for you.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You ask:

    Where did I say I wanted to decide what was right and wrong for you. Literally, what in hell are you talking about?

    You said it in an earlier comment here:

    i think you’re right, although i do have a right to decide what’s right and wrong for you.

    Perhaps that’s not what you meant to say?

  • chuck

    Let me help you Lee. No one i know who adheres to PSA believes that Christ went to all andsuffered eternal punishment. That’s ludicrous. Eternal punishment in hell is the penalty for unbelievers. Christ did not die for those who reject Him. He predestined and foreknow all who would come to him, because the Father knew those whom He would give to His Son. (all of this clearly in scripture). Those who believed and were foreknown are not and never were going to hell, thus there was no need to go there for them. Those who reject the truth about God and His Son will experience and pay their own penalty. PSA is the belief(at least in it’s uncorrupted form) that the Substitutionary death of Christ propititates (satisfies) God’s requirement for justice and Atones for sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Believers will never experience the second death, ECT. Some ill-informed think Jesus descended into hell and preached the gospel unbelievers. Actually, the greek clearly states he went into a “prison” and made a proclamation (not preached in the greek) to “spirits” of those disobedient (Genesis 6). He was not in hell. Never has been. Never will be. Can’t be. God cannot be seperated from himself.
    So you seem confused. Christians do not suffer the penalty. It is never imposed. It was never going to be from God’s eternal perspective (please don’t wander off into free-will). We can do that next year. Here’s an example. You commit a crime. The judge reaches a verdict. One thousand dollars or 30 days in jail. Obviously, if you pay the fine, you don’t go to jail If someone makes payment for you, you don’t go to jail. However, if you refuse to pay (the sad truth, you can’t), or refuse the offer of redemption. You go to jail. The one who is willing to pay your fine doesn’t have to go to jail in either circumstance.
    This is what protestants believe. (at least orthodox ones. I can’t account for every little splinter group). And any who believe Christ suffered in hell on the cross are grossly mistaken. He did not become “separate” from His father, but felt the loneliness of “abandonment” as the effects of sin were being paid. God can’t look approvingly on sin. It does not mean the fellowship of the Father and Son was ended or destroyed. Just effected. And having had perfect and full communion with His father all of his human life, I think we could agree he would notice the slightest change. Change. Not separation. Whatever He felt, he definitely noticed it and knew something was different, if only shortly. ( I won’t pretend to go into the majesty and deep mystery of the incarnation).
    Does this help you any? My (and every other christian i know) PSA does not require Jesus to set foot in hell. Or ever spend a second there. He didn’t experience my penalty, He prevented it from ever occuring. By making a satisfactory (propitiation) payment (again, this is exactly what redemption means). In other words, in the o.t. and the time of Jesus, if you used the word redemption, the hearer would understand it as payment. Even ransom. I gave you the words and definitions.
    So quit confusing the word Penal with Christ being in hell. His substitutionary atonement eliminated the possibility of being in hell for all who believe. Those who don’t will indeed experience it. There was no need to go to hell for them, because they were never going accept the gift. Would have been a waste, don’t you think. (please don’t say He had to go to hell to make the offer genuine. That’s nonsense. In my example above, would the redeemer have to go to Jail for 30 days before he made the offer? Only with Alice in Wonderland.
    Now i know i have touched on the sovereignty of God versus the “imaginary” free-will of man (and it is truly imaginary. You can see that if you follow where it leads). I have no intention of spending months playing word games.
    And no, Paul was not limiting his argument just to the law. This would have been non-sensical to any gentile audience. There are just too many verses in too many books written to different audiences for you not to get his drift. No one is saved by works (and he didn’t say alone. I’m sure he could have if he thought it necessary. The same with faith) NOT BY WORKS. You don’t believe this because you believe your works play a part, perhaps the most important part, in your achieving (note, you don’t achieve a gift) salvation. How you can read the works of Paul and walk away thinking “wow, now that guy was all about works” leaves me baffled. As i have said before, if you are right, the God is indebted to you (Galatians). Now show me a verse anywhere in the bible that even implies that God is ever, or will ever be, indebted to us in any way. Thanks for playing.

  • chuck

    Nope, it doesnt say in James we are saved by works. It says we are justified. Now you’ve got salvation all messed up. Justification is a part of the process of salvation. We are saved. We are sanctified. We are justified. We are glorified.
    And again, it does not say that works save us. Works are just a part of the justification process. True faith is evidenced by righteous behavior. If there is no sign of righteous behavior, there is no genuine faith. Still waiting for the two verses.

  • chuck

    well, if that’s what i typed (and i don’t want to go back through 100 posts), then i certainly made a boo-boo. Quite the typo. My apologies. I certainly don’t believe that and obviously didn’t intend to and wasn’t aware of. Now that we’ve got our free wills back in line……..

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    If you follow the link I provided (“here”), it will take you right to the comment where you said that. But I’m glad that’s not what you meant to type, and apology accepted.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I presume you’re aware that Martin Luther’s invented doctrine is justification by faith alone.

    It’s all well and good to compartmentalize the various elements of salvation and make fine academic distinctions between them. But it really is just a bunch of ratiocination to justify a doctrine that is stated nowhere in Scripture.

    Which two verses are you waiting for?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Ah, now it’s clear why you attend a Presbyterian church. You’re a Calvinist.

    But Calvinism is only one segment of Protestantism. So what you describe here is not what all Protestants believe, but only what the Calvinist branch of Protestantism believes.

    (I have found it to be quite common for Protestants to think that what they believe is what all Christians believe. On that they are very much mistaken.)

    You are also mashing up various theories of atonement as if they were all the same. They’re not. For example, Catholicism adheres to a satisfaction theory of atonement based on Anselm and Aquinas, but specifically rejects penal substitution.

    Once again, I would recommend that you study the difference between the various types and variations of atonement theory, such as:

    1. Ransom theory

    2. Christus Victor, which is the reigning theory within Orthodox Christianity

    3. Anselmian Satisfaction theory

    4. Aquinas’s further development of Anselmian Satisfaction theory, which is the reigning theory within Catholicism

    5. Penal Substitution theory as developed within Protestantism

    You say you have taught world religions for over forty years, but you seem not to know and understand some of the most basic distinctions between the atonement theories among the major branches of Christianity itself. As long as you keep mashing these theories together, you’ll never even understand your own church’s theory of atonement and salvation, let alone any other church’s.

  • Martin

    I will Chuck because Jesus said we had to be child like to enter His kingdom, and He actually said the kingdom is hidden from the wise and learned, perhaps that’s why your having such a hard time seeing it. Yes it’s very childish (not child like) to focus on a typo I don’t suppose you’ve ever done one in you’re life!

  • chuck

    Okay Lee, let’s deal with you “game” first. It’s called EXACTLY. This is where people try to communicate with each other but refuse to accept the validity of any statement made unless it is “exactly” what the hearer wants to hear. The reason i call this a game is because NO ONE, not even you, actually lives and exchanges information this way. Life and reality are not game shows called WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Married? Have kids? If not pretend you do. If your little child was hungry (we’ll assume they are old enough to talk and communicate), would you refuse to offer them food unless they said, for example, “I am very hungry and desire food”. Now they would have to say it exactly like this. Identical. Saying “my stomach feels empty”, or “i’m starving”, or “I feel famished”, or even saying “I am very hungry and need food”. would not be sufficient. They changed “desire” to “need”. Would you really refuse to accept the truth of their being hungry because they didn’t say EXACTLY what you wanted to hear, thereby causing you to purposely put a different meaning to their statements? Perhaps you would. I would hate to be your child. Or your wife. Or your friend for that matter. Nobody lives this way. Words are symbols that communicate concepts. Many words may be needed to communicate a simple concept. One word may communicate a complicated concept. The only person who would require everything to be exact would be (aside from disturbed) arrogant (they simply want everything to be the way they want it to be) or close-minded (they require that everything be conformed to their particular paradigm). This is the game you play (of course, fear could be involved. You might fear someone is right so you pretend they are not until they conform to your demands. Thus you feel victorious.)
    Your obsession is really sad, and does not reveal a healthy mind. Let me explain. You say the scripture does not say we are saved by faith alone. You cannot but admit that there are passages that say we are not saved by works. Thus you pretend that because the phrase “faith alone” is not there, that this means that “Justification by righteous works” plus “not saved by works” equals “saved by faith and works”(also not found anywhere is scripture). This is not coherent or logical. An objective person, looking at the biblical evidence, would have to accept one of two things: no one is saved by works, or there is a contradiction in scripture. Accepting the second renders scripture uninspired and errant. If there is one, there is no logical reason to reject the possibility or other errors. So why trust scripture at all. At best it has some truth, but who’s to say what is true and what isn’t?. Your syllogism here contains error. While scripture NOWHERE says we are saved by works, you believe we are, at least in part. While scripture IN NUMEROUS places says we are NOT saved by works, you refuse to believe this. Your conclusion is that we are saved by both, which is NOWHERE stated in scripture. The only way you can assuage the doubts that the illogical and incorrect may cause, is to play the “exactly” game. Ironically, scripture NOWHERE SAYS WHAT YOU CLAIM, and clearly argues against at least part of what you believe. This is why i believe you are disingenuous, and deceived. The fact that righteous works are evident in genuine faith IN NO WAY established salvation involving works. It merely states that saving faith will have works of righteousness, NOT that works of righteousness CAUSE saving faith. And Paul makes quite clear in Ephesians that even the saving faith one has is a GIFT OF GRACE, and does not originate within the individual. Thus no one can boast. And no one can claim that they did ANYTHING to earn or seal this salvation.
    So, do yourself a favor and stop playing this game. I’ll be positive about it and assume that you can. If you really can’t, or are unable to recognize that your conclusions do not follow your reasoning, then you need far more help than i can offer. Only God can soften the heart and enlighten the mind. I pray he does both for you.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Nice speech, but you seem to be running on a script.

    This is not a matter of “exactly.” It’s a matter of the Bible not saying we are saved by faith alone in any way, shape, or form. That was Luther’s line.

    And it’s a matter of the Bible not saying Christ paid the penalty for our sins in any way, shape, or form, but flatly rejecting the principle on which it is based.

    If you choose to ignore the overwhelming message of the Bible that those who do right will be saved, while those who do wrong will be damned, in favor of Luther’s misinterpretation of a very few passages in Paul, then there’s not much I can do about that.

    The reality is that it’s just the opposite of what you say. All through the Bible we are commanded to repent from our sins and do good or else we will die, whether physically or spiritually. Old Testament. New Testament. It’s all the same. Moses, the Prophets, Jesus, Paul, James, John, they all say the same thing.

    But you choose to ignore all of that, and focus on Luther’s and Calvin’s ahistorical misinterpretation of a few lines in Paul in which he says that we are saved by faith apart from the works of the Law, meaning the Jewish ritual law, as is made very clear in Acts 15.

    If you prefer to listen to Luther and Calvin and their misinerpretation of a few verses in Paul, then there’s nothing I can do about that.

    The fact remains that the Bible everywhere teaches us that we must do good works in order to be saved, and that if we don’t, we will be damned.

    The only “exactly” here is that you are exactly wrong about what the Bible teaches. You ignore almost everything in the entire Bible in favor of a wrong understanding of perhaps half a dozen verses in the letters of Paul.

  • chuck

    Again, Lee, the Presbyterian church is not MY church. I merely attend it because the words protestant and evangelical no longer mean what they meant a few decades ago. And again, not that you care to “listen”, I am quite aware of the various theories of atonement. So what “exactly” is your point? That there are different ones? Who said there weren’t? That Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, Calvinists, Arminians, and so on believe various and different things? Who said they didn’t? Your points don’t actually address any real issues. They are just, at best, tautologies.
    As an example of your blindness, you can sit right there on your keyboard and accuse others of thinking they have the truth, or some truths, to the exclusion of others, when you and your church do the exact same thing. Is this not hypocrisy? And again, what “exactly” is your point? Are you a relativist? Is everything true? Of course not. What “exactly” is the point of believing in something as “true” unless it counters something you believe is false? Otherwise, accept everything, including my “truths”. You won’t of course, because your church, like every other religion on the face of the earth, is to some degree “exclusive” in their thinking. The truth of the matter is, we are all exclusive in our thinking, to a far greater extent than many want to admit. I would posit that if we are not, we would not even survive, except by great luck, more than briefly in this life. So pointing exclusivity out while pretending you don’t practice it yourself is, again, disingenuous, and hypocritical at it’s core.
    Finally, because i believe in the revelation of scripture over church doctrine, I feel no compulsion to believe anything other than what i believe scripture says. I believe in predestination not because I am a Calvinist, but because scripture repeatedly refers to it. I believe in election, not because i am a Calvinist, but because scripture refers to it repeatedly. I am nothing more than someone who believes in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as sufficient for my salvation. The name on the building i may worship in does not require that i accept any doctrine other than those found in scripture. If it did, I would not worship there. The pastor in the Presbyterian church my wife and i attend is quite aware of our doctrinal differences with them, and does not require adherence to attend. The fact that I agree with them on the most important bible doctrines (nature of God, Christ, salvation) and that they emphasize them (in contrast to many luke-warm, doctrinally watered down mainline and evangelical churches) is why i feel comfortable there. And if the day comes that they wander from these imperatives, then I and my wife will wander away.
    What i explained to you is just a part of my concepts and beliefs about ECT. Just a smidgen. And to correct you (perhaps you need to read more) in your apparent belief that all PSA ( I haven’t talked to any) think Christ HAD TO experience the equivalent of ECT for everyone (believer and unbelievers) to obtain salvation for all who believe. As simple as that. Perhaps you have found a few. I don’t know. I do know they would not represent “exactly” ALL believers in PSA.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I mention different atonement theories because you keep mashing together ransom, Anselmian satisfaction, and penal substitution as if they’re basically the same, when in fact they are quite different.

    And yes, of course my church has specific doctrines that we believe in, and we think that the doctrines of other churches are wrong to the extent that they disagree with ours. Otherwise why would we believe those doctrines and not some other doctrines?

    The difference is that we know and understand that salvation is based, not on correct belief, but on love for God, love for the neighbor, and the living of a good life based on one’s beliefs, just as Jesus, Paul, and everyone else in the Bible teaches. And if the beliefs are a bit off, or even a lot off, but the person lives according to his or her conscience with the intent to love God and the neighbor as Jesus commanded, then incorrect belief does not lead to damnation.

    Short version: Even if you think I’m going to hell because I believe the wrong thing, I think you’re going to heaven despite your wrong beliefs, provided that you actually live a good life of love for God and the neighbor as Jesus and the entire rest of the Bible clearly and repeatedly teach.

    As for the rest, I read and understand the Bible very differently than you do. It is possible to see and confirm all sorts of false doctrines based on the text of the Bible, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of Protestant sects, all saying and believing that their beliefs are uniquely based on the Bible, despite the fact that those sects disagree with each other, and many of their beliefs flatly contradict those of other sects—and all of them will claim that they “just believe what the Bible teaches.”

    So I understand that you believe that your doctrines are simply what the Bible says. But I think you are deceiving yourself. I think that in fact your doctrines are based on a whole parade of human theologians starting back in the early centuries of Catholicism and going through Luther and especially Calvin, and how each one of these human theologians in turn read and understood the Bible and taught their followers to read and understand the Bible in the same way.

    I insist upon the basics of Christian belief being stated in the plain words of Scripture because otherwise there is no sure guide to Christian belief. If the Bible “sort of” says something, or can be interpreted to say something that is claimed to be fundamental to Christian belief, then I have serious problems with that.

    That’s why I do not accept the Trinity of Persons, justification by faith alone, penal subsitution, and many other doctrines considered fundamental to Christian belief in Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christianity.

    Secondary and corollary beliefs? No problem if they’re not clearly articulated in the Bible. The Bible is not a Summa Theologica.

    But beliefs that are seen as essential to Christian belief, and especially essential for our eternal salvation? Those, in my view, must be stated plainly in the Bible’s own words, without the need for human theologians to interpret them.

    Your beliefs fail that test. Mine do not. That’s why I hold to my beliefs and not yours.

  • chuck

    Again, my argument obtains. You in no way refuted it. Not a single iota of it. You merely repeat your mantra as if doing so will protect you from undesirable thoughts. And again, you positions and repeated arguments are vacuous of substance. You use Calvin and Luther as if they were evil talismanic words that disqualify from consideration anything that you haven’t already, a priori, decided is true. Not in one place in the bible is it said we are saved by grace AND works. Your blathering about doing good instead of evil doesn’t even pertain to our argument. What person claiming to believe in the bible would ever argue against doing good works? Your statement is an argument against a viewpoint that doesn’t exist. And repeating tautologies DOES NOT vindicate your argument.
    Arguments from the old testament must be carefully made. Man was under the Law of God, and i don’t mean just the Ten Commandments or 613 laws the Jews observed. The whole Law of God, encompassing both the moral and actual conduct of humanity. Talking about ot passages condemning unrighteous works has to take into account that grace as we talk about it today was not in effect, at least not in reference to the death of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit experienced in the church. Those patriarchs of faith had their works “accounted” (note that word) to them as righteousness because, as Paul makes clear, Christ redeems not only those in the church, but all who have ever, even before His death on the cross, exercised faith and trust in the living God. The ot looked forward to the crucifixion, now we after Christ have looked back to it. There aren’t various methods of being saved. Just one. By exercising faith in and believing God, the ot faithful were (in God’s omniscient foreknowledge) accounted as exercising the same faith that we in the nt church exercise. Scripture clearly teaches that “none is righteous, no, NOT ONE, no one understands, no one seeks for God……NO ONE DOES GOOD, NOT EVEN ONE..” Romans 3. As Isaiah clearly states, “ALL OUR RIGHTEOUS DEEDS ARE LIKE PUS-FILLED RAGS.” If you actually think, Lee, that you are impressing God with your works, you are woefully deceived. And to continue playing EXACTLY, where, exactly, does scripture say we obtain salvation by our works”? I’ll save you the time. Nowhere. And in light of clear and abundant scriptural testimony that WE ARE NOT SAVED BY WORKS, the burden is on you, in any honest and logical discourse, to show proof that that statement (quote from Ephesians) is incorrect. To disprove “we are not saved by works” you must at least show “we are saved by works”, even to merely obtain a draw in a logical argument, All of these dozens of posts, and you have not given one biblical quote to prove your points. And remember Lee, ’cause you started the game, you must do so EXACTLY. If you can’t, go talk about something else with someone else, unless you want me to embarrass you by ignoring you, Impress me here, Lee. Just one verse that says it EXACTLY. A verse about salvation. Not about the white throne judgement, or about living a righteous life (remember, the bible says NO ONE DOES. EXACTLY), but about obtaining salvation by works. Just one Lee. Now feel free to jump back in, recycle irrelevant points, repeat endlessly tautologies about which there is no disagreement. Or roll up your sleeves and do some work. Or admit you can’t. Even I can admit and error, Lee. Why can’t you? Could it be that an evil protestant is more honest than you? Heaven forbid.

  • chuck

    No Mortin, i haven’t.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    By way of preface, I observe two things about this comment of yours as well as some of your others:

    1. You seem to think that “salvation” is some theoretical and theological concept that has to be achieved in a technical way, through a specific formula of faith.

    But salvation is not some abstract, technical concept. It is, very simply, gaining life instead of death. In a physical sense, it involves physically living instead of dying. And in the more important spiritual sense, it involves spiritually living instead of spiritually dying, or in more biblical terms, it involves gaining eternal life rather than suffering the second death.

    2. You seem to be setting things up so that you can ignore everything the Old Testament says, as if the Old Testament says something very different than the New Testament.

    However, the basic message of the Old Testament is the same as the New Testament, even though it is dressed up in various ritualistic practices of circumcision, animal sacrifice, and so on that are no longer necessary from New Testament times onward.

    And another thing: Obviously we don’t do good works in order to buy our way into heaven. It doesn’t work that way. Protestants are all stuck on the whole “merit” issue, which is completely beside the point when it comes to good works.

    Rather, we do good works for three basic reasons:

    1. Because God commands us to do them—i.e., out of obedience to God

    2. Because it is the right thing to do, according to God’s teachings—i.e., out of understanding of the teachings and the truth of God

    3. Because we love God and the neighbor, and we want to do good things for them and give them happiness out of love.

    None of these have anything whatsoever to do with meriting or buying our way into heaven. So the whole Protestant argument about how works don’t save us because we can’t merit heaven by works completely misses the point of why it is necessary to do good works to be saved.

    Further, it is very true that we by ourselves are wicked and sinful, and that none of the good works we do from ourselves, or based on our own effort and merit, are anything but filthy rags. That’s why we must do good works, not from ourselves, but from the Lord, who tells us:

    I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

    The good works we do that save us are not our good works, but the Lord’s good works done in and through us. So even the saving good works that we do are the Lord’s grace and mercy saving us, because it is the Lord, not us, doing them, and we do them from the Lord’s power, not our own.

    Now once again, “salvation” means gaining life, and especially eternal life. And the Bible is very clear about what we must do in order to gain eternal life: We must repent from our sins, be faithful to God, and live by God’s commandments, which means doing good works.

    I will now quote just a few of hundreds of passages that could be quoted from both Testaments in which we are taught these things.

    We could start with the very first narrative story in the Bible: that of Adam and Eve. God tells Adam that he must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Later Eve, then Adam, eat from it anyway. And part of their punishment is that they will not be allowed to eat from the tree of life and live forever. So the first sin leads to death rather than life.

    But we’ll start our actual quotations in the next chapter and story, about Cain and Abel. Before Cain sins by killing his brother, the Lord says to him:

    Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:6–7)

    So already in Genesis 4 God is telling us that we must do well if we wish to be accepted (by God), and that if we don’t, we are in danger of sin—which we must master.

    But we find that most of humanity took the path of sin, and therefore suffered death in the Great Flood, as told in Genesis 6–8. And it was precisely the wickedness of
    humankind that led to their death:

    The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5–7)

    But it was the righteousness of Noah that led to his life being saved, along with the lives of his family:

    Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God. (Genesis 6:9)

    So once again, it is the wickedness of people that led to their deaths, and the righteousness of Noah and his family that led to their lives being saved.

    We could keep piling up more and more stories of wicked people, who do evil things, going to their deaths, and righteous people, who walk with God and follow God’s commandments, being saved and given life. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah vs. the saving of Lot and his daughters. The salvation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt when they were faithful to what God commanded them to do on the Passover compared to the deaths of the firstborn of the Egyptians, who ignored and flouted God’s commandments. And on and on. In every case, those who obey God and do the good things God commands them to do are saved, whereas those who disobey God and do wicked things are put to death.

    I would have to quote almost the entire Bible to include every single instance and example. So let’s skip more rapidly forward and just quote some of the clearest statements of the Bible’s overwhelming teaching that in order to be saved we must repent from our sins, and be faithful to God by obeying God’s commandments to do good works.

    Deuteronomy 28–30 is an extended version of this as God renews his covenant with the Israelites before they enter the Holy Land to conquer it. These chapters recount the blessings of life, prosperity, and fruitfulness that will result from obeying God’s commandments vs. the ruination, captivity, and death that will result from disobeying God’s commandments. And it ends with these well-known words:

    See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.

    But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

    I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. (Deuteronomy 30:15–20)

    The message is clear and unmistakable. Those who obey God’s commandments and do what is right will live, while those who disobey God’s commandments and do what is evil will be destroyed.

    This is only one of many clear teachings of the same truth throughout the narrative sections of the Old Testament. So we’ll zoom ahead and look at just two from the Prophets.

    In the very first chapter of Isaiah we read:

    When you stretch out your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
    even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your doings
    from before my eyes;
    cease to do evil,
    learn to do good;
    seek justice,
    rescue the oppressed,
    defend the orphan,
    plead for the widow.

    Come now, let us argue it out,
    says the Lord:
    though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be like snow;
    though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
    If you are willing and obedient,
    you shall eat the good of the land;
    but if you refuse and rebel,
    you shall be devoured by the sword;
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
    (Isaiah 1:15–20)

    The message once again is clear: we must cease to do evil and learn to do good. If we do, we will gain life and prosperity. If we do not, we will be destroyed.

    Moving on to Ezekiel, the entirety of Chapter 18 is a powerful and eloquent statement of the same principle: that those who repent from their sins and do good will live, while those who turn to evil and sin will die. I’d like to quote the entire chapter, but this much will be enough to make the point:

    But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?

    But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die. (Ezekiel 18:21–24)

    Again, the message is unmistakable: Those who repent and do good will live, while those who turn away from righteousness and do wicked things will die.

    This is the message of the entire Old Testament.

    And the same message continues right into and through the New Testament, where life and death are elevated in their meaning to eternal life and eternal death.

    And in the New Testament we find that the very first thing preached by John the Baptist in order to prepare the way for the Lord was repentance from sin, and the necessity of bearing fruit (doing good works) in order to live and not die:

    In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” . . .

    But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

    “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:1–2, 7–12)

    And immediately after Jesus’ baptism and temptation in the desert, at the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus himself preached the same message:

    From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17)

    And if we follow the story, we see that Jesus’ disciples preached the same message, at his command.

    In the Gospel of Luke Jesus’ final words to his disciples, after his resurrection, are:

    Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:46–49, emphasis added)

    And his final words to his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew are:

    All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18–20, emphasis added)

    So at the beginning and end of Jesus’ ministry he commanded repentance from sin, and the necessity of obeying his commandments, if we wish to see life.

    I have already quoted for you Jesus’ teaching about what will happen on the Day of Judgment, and on what basis we will be judged for eternal life or eternal punishment. So I won’t quote the whole thing again, but will only quote the concluding verses:

    Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:47–48, emphasis added)

    Now, if you want to make some artificial distinction between “salvation” and “eternal life” you’re welcome to engage in that sort of sophistry. But the reality is that eternal life is salvation. And Jesus here says that the righteous—who were those who did good works for their brothers and sisters in need—will go to eternal life, while the wicked who did not do good works for their fellow human beings will go to eternal punishment.

    What meaning could “salvation” possibly have if it doesn’t involve gaining eternal life? It would be a mere word, with no meaning and force. And Jesus says here in words as plain as day that those who do good works will receive eternal life, while those who do not do good works will not receive eternal life.

    I just don’t see how the Lord could have said it any more clearly than that. Those who do good works will be saved. Those who do not will be damned. It is right there in the Lord’s own plain, simple, easy-to-understand words. No “interpretation” necessary.

    And I have already quoted for you Romans 2:5–16, in which Paul says the same thing in different words. So I’ll just quote a few verses here:

    But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:5–11, emphasis added)

    How could Paul be any clearer that those who do good works will be saved and receive eternal life, while those who do evil will not see life, but instead will experience wrath and fury?

    This is how Paul concludes his opening statement in the first of his letters as they are ordered in the New Testament. And he says these things immediately before he makes his statements about being saved by faith apart from the works of the Law.

    So you are very wrong if you think that Paul is saying we are saved by faith without good works. He has just told you, O foolish man, that this is false, and that we will be judged for eternal life or eternal fury based on our works.

    And once more, does “salvation” have any meaning or relevance at all if it doesn’t refer to being given eternal life? What would it mean to be “saved” (by faith or anything else) but not to receive eternal life? It would mean nothing at all.

    And both Paul and Jesus make it crystal clear that we will be judged for eternal life or eternal death based on whether or not we do good works. It’s right there in the plain words of the Bible.

    And just one more, from the final book of the Bible:

    And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, the book of life. And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:12, emphasis added)

    Not according to their faith but according to their works.

    There are several more statements to the same effect in the final two chapters of Revelation: that those who are good and honorable will enter the gates of the city, but those who are evil and wicked will be outside the city.

    “Salvation” is not some theoretical, abstract thing. We don’t gain this theoretical thing “by faith” and then gain eternal life separately on some other basis. Salvation is inheriting eternal life. And as these passages show, the entire Bible from beginning to end teaches that those who repent from their evil deeds and do good deeds instead, according to God’s commandments, due to their faithfulness to God, will be given life, while those who do not repent, but do evil deeds and act wickedly, will see only death.

    This is the overwhelming message of the entire Bible. I have quoted only a few of hundreds of passages that could be quoted, all saying the same thing. And I have shown that Paul himself, whom you wrongly say teaches salvation by faith alone, is very clear that we will be judged for eternal life or eternal death according to our works, whether good or evil.

    There is not just a single passage saying this. There are dozens, hundreds of passages saying this, in practically every book of the Bible.

    Yes, my friend, the message of the Bible is clear and unmistakable. It is delivered to us over and over again in words as plain as day, and as clear as crystal. If we wish to be saved, we must repent from our evil deeds, be faithful to God, and obey God’s commandments to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves by doing good deeds of love and kindness for our fellow human beings.

    There is no mistaking this message, for those who read the Bible with minds unclouded by human doctrines of justification by faith alone and penal substitution that were invented by human beings 1,500 years after the Bible was written, and are stated nowhere in the Bible.

    My friend, the message of the Bible is clear. And I hope and pray that one day God will uncloud your mind from the darkness of the false doctrines you have been taught, so that you can read and understand what the Bible teaches us in its own plain words, from beginning to end.

  • chuck

    Boy, you do love to read your words, don’t you? Who are you responding to. Obviously not me. This is a desperate move often used by people who don’t want to deal with the acceptance of a truth they find uncomfortable. First, you make an issue out of something no one is making an issue of. Then you type long responses to refute an argument no one is making. The third thing is the unmitigated arrogance of assuming, or presuming, someone is having trouble comprehending something about which no one is talking. Fourth, you arguments continue to be illogical and incoherent. For example, you say early on “obviously we don’t do good works to “buy” our way into heaven”. Who said this? Not I. Yours is the focus on works. Then later you state “we will be judged for eternal life or eternal death based on whether or not we do good works.”. Do you not see the contradiction here? These are your own words Do you think that inserting the word “buy” in your first statement allows you to avoid this? It does not. And who even said anything about “buying” our way into heaven.
    Your statement about the old and new testaments is also irrelevant, and much ado about nothing. I have referenced the ot many times in my posts. I accept it’s inspiration and inerrancy. Again, this is a “false flag” attempt. Distract and avoid. My statement was simple, and is taken literally from scripture in the book of Hebrews. The new covenant is a better covenant than the old one. Paul says this all throughout the book of Hebrews, over and over again. That was my point, simple and clear.
    My points on judgement are clear. Those who are in Christ are judged and rewarded for the works of Christ that they do. As you yourself point out, this would not even be possible but for the gift of new birth through faith in Christ. Those not in Christ will be judged for eternal punishment (there is no punishment if one is not experiencing it) according to their works, good and bad. In no way will their works lead to eternal life. Determining rewards at the judgement is not the same thing as receiving Christ as your Savior. The second may precede the first by years or centuries. Only works done through the empowering of the Holy Spirit received at salvation will be rewarded. No one going to hell receives reward. Works will only determine the degree of punishment.
    In all of this, you have never once even attempted to answer the two questions i asked you a few posts ago. You also never offered a response to my post about your “exactly” game, other than to call it a speech. You want to read a speech? Read your own post. It was actually an argument offered to show how you reach improper conclusions based on untrue or incorrect propositions. Anyone who takes even a simple course of logic can recognize your errors. Simple common sense will do the same.
    Here’s the bottom line, and quit lying and dancing around to avoid it. You no doubt believe that works are necessary for salvation. Period. Sticking words like “buy” into another incorrect proposition does not rescue you. I have asked for one verse that says we are “saved by works”. Not “reward for works”. SAVED BY WORKS. You offer NONE. I have quoted verses and passages that clearly state that we are NOT SAVED BY WORKS. These verses refute what you claim to believe. WE ARE NOT, IN ANY WAY, SAVED BY OUR WORKS, BUT BY OUR FAITH IN THE WORK OF CHRIST, THAT FAITH ITSELF BEING A GIFT. You try to claim that you believe this, in some sort of way, yet you continue to claim that we are , in some way, at least partially, saved by works.
    Perhaps this is because of your non-biblical beliefs about the person of Jesus Christ. If you believe he was just a man, or was a man simply indwelt with some sort of power from God, then obviously you see his life and death as insufficient redemption for our salvation (your words, not mine). Thus something must be added. And you add works to achieve this. Thus, whether we are “buying” or “earning” our salvation, works MUST BE ADDED. This has already been thoroughly refuted.
    You keep harping on “saved by faith ALONE”. Well, then i will keep quoting Ephesians 2:8. We are NOT SAVED BY WORKS at all. NOT WORKS. No works. Perhaps a better view of the sanctification of saints would help you. I’ll leave you to it.
    And again, the protestant, reformer thing. Try to keep in mind that they were here centuries before your cult. And the concept of salvation by faith has been in the church since the beginning thereof. And in scripture before that. “Faith alone” is not the issue here, Lee. No one argues that faith isn’t necessary. The historic church doctrine has never precluded works from the life of a genuine christian. It just doesn’t believe they are saved by them. Only set apart FOR THEM, from before the foundation of the earth.
    Final summary, nowhere, not one place, can you point to a verse that says we are saved by our works. Rewarded or punished? Sure. Lots of times. Saved by them? Not once. And that’s what YOU need to establish your point as true. If something besides or in addition to faith is necessary for salvation, scripture makes it clear that whatever that may be (your perspective, not mine), IT IS NOT WORKS. Simple and clear. Live with it, or die without it.

  • chuck

    I find it quite humble of you Lee to believe that centuries and centuries of belief by hundreds of millions or billions of christians is suddenly wrong just because your Johnny come lately group says they are. This is, however, typical of all pseudo-christian cults. Whether JW’s, Mormons, the Way, etc., they all claim a new and better revelation. This is not what the reformers did. In fact, at the beginning they merely wanted to stop church customs and practices not supported in Scripture. There was no initial intent to break away from the Catholic church. Persecution and murder expedited that.
    And a faith not living is no faith. That’s a simple and clear biblical description. Any concept added to it is unnecessary. It must be considered heretical.
    Your statement about why you believe what you believe. Is this not exactly what i pointed out? Are you reading my post or are you busy refuting them after presuming what i said. Of course we believe what we believe for the reasons we believe them. Another tautology. I would expect as much. When you think about it, this means your beliefs and mine cannot accurately be judged true or untrue unless there is a superior, objective source to reference. Thus we use the bible. But who decides which interpretation is correct? If we say we believe the bible is inspired and inerrant, then no clear teaching we accept should contradict scripture.
    Thus i believe we are saved by faith. This is what the bible clearly says. And I don’t believe we are saved by works. This is also clearly stated in the bible. To repeat, if there is something in addition to faith in Christ necessary for salvation, the one thing painfully obvious is that IT IS NOT WORKS. And that is your problem to deal with.
    If you can’t formulate a coherent and logical conclusion, backed up with coherent and logical propositions, backed up with clear teaching of scripture, why should i trust you groups doctrine. Much of what you believe is heretical. The church has overwhelming believed so throughout it’s history. As in science, no new paradigm should be accepted as fact unless it disproves and “overwhelms” a previous one. And your groups views are not new, nor have they overwhelmed anything. They are just a rehash of heresies long ago condemned by historic christianity.
    And if you don’t think that what you BELIEVE concerning biblical doctrine has nothing to do with salvation, may i suggest you read Peter, Jude, the epistles of John, Galatians, oh heck, just read the whole bible. Whether we have the correct date for Christ’s second coming (oh, i forgot, He’s already here for your group. In “some” way), or know for sure if we should consume alcohol, smoke, worship on saturday or sunday, etc, we can still have a genuine faith. Scripture doesn’t specifically command us about these.
    What we believe about God, or His Son, or salvation, has EVERYTHING to do with our salvation. Scripture DOES command us about these. And warns us about a different gospel and why we should avoid it or them. And that’s why i don’t believe what you believe.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Here it is:

    What good is it, my brothers, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

    But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead. (James 2:14–26, emphasis added)

    You can’t get much plainer than that.

    That’s why Luther tried to remove the book of James from the Bible. He understood, as you apparently do not, that James flatly contradicted his newly invented doctrine of justification by faith alone.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    It is your belief, not mine, that is johnny-come-lately.

    My belief about atonement and salvation is the same as that of the earliest Christians, and of the entire body of Christians for the first 1,000 years after Christ, who believed that Christ saved them by defeating the Devil and breaking the Devil’s power over them.

    That original Christian belief has been progressively rejected by the Western church.

    First Catholicism rejected it when when it adopted the satisfaction theory of atonement invented by Anselm and Aquinas 1,000 to 1,200 years after Christ.

    Then Protestantism rejected it even harder when it adopted the penal substitution theory of atonement invented by the Protestant Reformers 1,500 years after Christ, based on that johnny-come-lately Catholic satisfaction view of atonement..

    So it is exactly the opposite of what you say.

    Your beliefs about atonement and salvation are a later human innovation.

    My beliefs about atonement and salvation are the original Christian beliefs taught in the Bible by Jesus and the Apostles, and held to by the main body of Christianity for the first 1,000 years after Christ.

  • chuck

    Geez Lee, try to keep up. I covered this several posts before. Good for you for not just printing one verse. As the context (and this is important, Lee) of the passage make clear, James is pointing out that a genuine faith will be evidenced by righteous deeds (and keep in mind that they are not righteous because we are [already covered this], but, as with the patriarchs, they are ACCOUNTED as righteousness. If they WERE righteousness in and of themselves, there would be not need to account them as such. As James makes clear in the very first verse you quote, he is addressing those who think that just a faith that requires no change, requires no evidence of the Spirit’s working in our lives, a faith that still embraces sin and ungodly behavior, is NOT a real faith. So keep in mind, he is addressing those who are not believers, or are certainly not living like it. There is still no EXACT (your rules) statement here that we achieve salvation through our works, only that works are the evidence of a true faith. So, you’ve still provided no verse.
    And try to keep in mind, that Rahab, the patriarchs, etc. did not have the death of Christ on the Cross to believe in. Their belief was simply that God was the only true God. And they TRUSTED in Him. The evidence of their trust was their willingness to obey the call of God. They had no indwelling Holy Spirit (who would COME UPON them for periods of time). The Holy Spirit was convicting and convincing of sin as He always does, but He was not revealing to anyone that the crucifixion of the Son of God had occurred and was the final atonement for the sins of those who believe (although prophecies, which even the prophets did not understand fully, were pointing to just such an event). To require this would be anachronistic. They simply trusted (which is what faith is, Greek word pistis) in God. The proof of this was their obedience. What they DID.
    Either way, if you believe that we are saved by works (which this passage does NOT EXACTLY (again your rules) say, then you must deal with a scriptural contradiction. If this is true, then scripture cannot be trusted to be infallible, inspired, inerrant, take your pick. So you have an imperfect bible. This is YOUR DILEMMA. Of course, you can’t even bring yourself to acknowledge that the bible, in numerous places, says we are not saved by works (Ephesians Galatians, Romans, etc.). You can’t, or won’t, even admit it. It’s like your world will collapse around you if you do. But just ignoring these verses and continuing with your belief that works do save now places you in disagreement with and unbelief regarding the bible.
    Scripture tells us that God must be worshipped in SPIRIT and TRUTH. Knowing something is involved. Knowing the truth. And i believe that requires believing that truth is revealed in scripture and must be believed. Works reveal faith. They reveal that we BELIEVE something to be true. Are you saying that “good deeds” without true belief will save anyone? You demote faith to some second tier ranking and put works above faith. Scripture NEVER does this. It merely tells us that works can be evidence of faith. What good work did the thief on the cross do? NOTHING. He was a bit restricted at the time. He simple believed that Christ was who He claimed to be. And that simple belief was adequate for salvation. Now if you want to claim belief is a “work”, well then, you got some “splainin’ to do” Lucy. I don’t know anyone who thinks that is true (except perhaps some Arminians). And as i said before, Paul tells us that even faith is a gift from God, lest we boast. So you say we are at least in part saved by works. Scripture says otherwise, quite often. You’ve only proven (and who was disagreeing) that works can be, and i emphasize “can be”, evidence of true faith. They can also be evidence that even morally depraved and spiritually blind people can do something we might believe is good (Romans tell us otherwise). Nothing we do can impress God. As people who “were dead in our sin and trespasses”, we have to have even our very faith gifted to us by God. (for your information, dead people don’t decide to become alive. They must be reborn, gifted eternal life by God). Thanks for sharing.

  • chuck

    Lee, you are so full of crap. Get down off of your self-righteous soap box. How clever (NOT) of you. You define the scriptures into heresy, and reject the teaching of the historic church. Sorry, your beliefs are not in scripture. God is triune, Christ is God, salvation is by grace. This, aside from an occasional heretic, is what the early church fathers believed. Yes, it took time to fully develop these doctrines ( there couldn’t be church “councils” for the first three hundred years, but the core of these doctrines are found in the earliest fathers.
    So you just keep on with the self delusion.. and deception. Here’s a test for you Lee. Do, or do not the scriptures say, EXACTLY, that we are NOT saved by works? If you can’t admit that, even if you disagree (an uncomfortable place to be), you are truly bound by the evil one. When someone can’t even admit, in writing, what scripture says in numerous places, you are bound and blinded by someone far stronger than you. Only God can set you free.
    As for your fairy tales and delusions, perhaps you missed the “no solicitors” sign. I’m not buying your drivel.

  • chuck

    I forgot. Get off the “Anselm and Aquinas and penal and substitution theories” and blah blah blah. This is just blowing smoke. Or as we say here in the USA, your just “urinating” into the wind”. The blow back is on you, no one else.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,


    “I am aware that the Bible says that faith without works cannot save (James 2:14), and that the Bible says that we are justified by our works and not by faith alone (James 2:21–25). However, since this conflicts with what’s been inculcated into me from Luther and Calvin for over forty years now, and with my resulting faulty and ahistorical misunderstanding of Paul, I will instead explain away these plain and simple statements in the Bible, and try to make James say something he doesn’t say.”

    For one thing, neither James nor anyone else in the Bible says that good works flow from faith, are a result of faith, are the fruits of faith, or any such thing. That is yet another Protestant dogma that the Bible doesn’t teach. Rather, the Bible says that good works flow from the Lord:

    Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5)

    So yes, neither our faith nor our works are our own. Neither one of them comes from us. Both are the Lord’s in us, and come from the Lord. And without both faith and works from the Lord working in and through us, we cannot be saved.

    I have quoted you a dozen passages from the Old Testament and the New showing that we will be judged for life or death, for heaven or hell, based on our works. I could quote you a dozen more. And then another dozen. If you choose not to listen to the Bible, but to stick your fingers in your ears and keep yelling, “Faith! Faith! Faith! Faith! Faith! Faith! Faith alone!” then that is your choice.

    But that’s not what the Bible says.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    There are a few places in Paul’s letters where he says that we are justified by faith without the works of the Law. For the meaning of that, please read Acts 15. And there are a few places in Paul’s letters where he uses short-hand and doesn’t include “of the Law,” but then goes on to make it clear what he’s talking about by speaking of “circumcision” and “uncircumcision,” which is shorthand for the Jewish ritual law.

    Nowhere outside of Paul does it say anything remotely close to our being saved by faith without works. It everywhere says that we are saved by our works together with our faith.

    But you choose to stick with your misunderstanding of Paul’s words about being saved by faith apart from the works of the Law, and you even choose to ignore Paul’s own words elsewhere in his letters that at the time of judgment we will be judged according to our works.

    Paul himself spends far more time instructing his readers and listeners on how to have good works than he does telling them about faith. Read the rest of what he says in his letters, and you will see. If faith were the most important thing, why does he spend so much more time talking about the love we must have for others, the sins we must repent from, and the good works we must do for others? Why does he say that the greatest is love, not faith?

    You, my friend, have focused only on a very few verses in Paul that you have misunderstood, while ignoring everything else Paul says, not to mention everything else the entire Bible says. Your faith is founded on perhaps half a dozen verses in Paul that you have misunderstood because you have not paid attention to Acts 15, or to the rest of the Bible.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I have found that it is very common for Protestants, especially, not to be aware of the historical roots of their beliefs.

    I have found very few Protestants who are aware of which human beings developed the doctrines they hold to. Some of them are not even aware that Martin Luther was the one who originated the doctrine of justification of faith alone. And practically none are aware that the Protestant doctrine of penal substitution was developed on the foundation laid by Anselm and Aquinas with their invention of the satisfaction theory of atonement.

    If you choose to be among the Protestants who are ignorant of the history of the development of your own doctrines and beliefs, that’s your choice. You’ve made it abundantly clear than you are not going to let me or anyone else pull your head out of the sand.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    About the thief on the cross, please see:

    Are We Saved in an Instant? How was the Thief on the Cross Saved?

    That story is a perfect example of repentance, faith, and good works all working together to bring salvation to someone who was otherwise destined for hell.

    In the story, the thief recognized that what he did was wrong and that he was being justly punished for it. In other words, he repented of his evil deeds.

    And in the story is that thief witnessed to the other thief. In other words, having repented, he proceeded to do a good work, even though he had very little time left.

    So that story says exactly the opposite of what you are claiming.

    The story of the thief on the cross points out clearly that those who wish to be saved must repent of their sins and do good works as well as having faith in the Lord—which the thief also demonstrated by asking the Lord to remember him when he comes into his kingdom.

    So that story says exactly what I’ve been saying all along: that if we wish to be saved, we must repent from our sins, believe in the Lord, and do good works.

    In other words, it says the very same thing that the entire rest of the Bible, including Paul, says.

  • chuck

    And as always Lee, you refuse to read anything in context. Scripture for you seems to be mostly for proof-texting and little else.
    James 2:24 does not say we are saved by works. It says we are justified by them. You continue to ignore the numerous passages and verses that clearly, unequivocally, state that we ARE NOT SAVED BY WORKS. In fact, you are incapable of even acknowledging them. What great fear you live with, wondering if you are ever “good enough” to earn heaven. How terribly sad that your fear is so great that you can’t even write “not by works” in your posts, even though you would only be quoting scripture. James 2:24 in your ENTIRE arsenal. ALL THAT YOU HAVE. Wow, imagine founding a critical doctrine such as salvation by works on ONE verse, and that isolated and interpreted while neglecting the context of the letter.
    You keep repeating the mantra about the old testament. All you have done there is restate the obvious. We are judged for reward or punishment based on what we do, which are works. These verses do not say we are saved by works, only that they are used as a criteria for reward or punishment. You have proved nothing. You did not address the thief on the cross. You seldom address anything i post. You ignore what disproves your belief and continue to focus on one verse out of THE ENTIRE SCRIPTURE, pretending you don’t realize that you have created a contradiction between scripture and itself. You ignore this, as you do anything that doesn’t fit your paradigm. I challenge you again. Admit, in writing, that there are verses and passages that say we are not saved by works. You would only be acknowledging what scripture says. Are you in such bondage that you can’t even do that?

  • chuck

    Here’s a few simple rules of exegesis, Lee. When you interpret a verse, you FIRST do it within the context of the letter. What a biblical author is writing in one of his books may have little to do with what he writes about in another. This would be like interpreting Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” by his Narnia fiction books. You now assume (and i challenge you to find one qualified biblical scholar to affirm you theory) that everywhere Paul mentions works, he means the Jewish Law. This is simplistic nonsense. And besides, it would be irrelevant. Works are works, Lee. And we are never saved by them. They only validate a genuine faith. Try to do a little work next time. In fact, try studying the bible without the dictates of your aberrant pseudo-christian group. Have an independent thought now and then. And take a course, not from your cult, on biblical hermeneutics. It would be helpful. Your statement about Paul spending more time talking about works than faith is about as biblically ignorant as one could be. What stupid balderdash. The very thing that makes Paul a controversial figure is his focus on faith. Not his mention of works. Your statements reveal a vast lack of biblical knowledge. This is the hallmark of a cult. Focus on a few proof-texts and ignore or dismiss the overwhelming volume of passages that refute their beliefs. How you can say that EVERYWHERE it says we are saved by faith and works is so ludicrous it’s beyond belief. NOWHERE does it say any such thing. Not one verse. Again, lee, and this is YOUR STUPID rule (but i figure if you make it up, you should at least follow it) show me EXACTLY where it says we are saved by works. Not justified. Sanctified. Judged. SAVED. You can’t do it. And you still can’t acknowledge what is said in scripture. NOT SAVED BY WORKS.
    “Outside of Paul”? Outside of Paul? That’s about 13 books, Lee. Almost one half of the new testament. And over one half of the epistles. So what? We are to ignore half the new testament? Really? And even then that’s not good enough. You presume to reinterpret all of his epistles to suit your doctrine, something no respected scholar has ever done. You’re in a cult Lee. Live with it?

  • chuck

    And e the typical cultist, everyone who disagrees with you (which in your case, Lee, is virtually the entire church, then and now, and the scriptures) is evil. Deceived.
    I understand that you are locked within a group where free thought is not encourage. You must tow the line. To justify this illogical mentality, everyone else must be the enemy. This is standard cult thinking. So it’s an endless litany of protestants, catholic, Luther, Anselm, etc. Because you receive your marching orders from your cult, you have difficulty comprehending or believing anyone can exercise the freedom to think for themselves. I can establish everything i believe from scripture. If no church had ever existed (including any and all denominations, etc.), I can still find what i believe clearly portrayed in the bible.
    So let me get this straight, Lee. The church that Jesus founded, the one He said the gates of Hell could not prevail against, this church immediately slipped into darkness until (it’s a miracle!!) your group comes along 17 centuries later to show us the truth. What an absent god he must be. And uncaring. Doesn’t even bother to protect that very Truth we are to worship Him in. Just lets his followers wallow in darkness (and damnation) until He could find that ONE group that would follow His light. Do you realize how cultic your groups thinking is? And by the way, Lee, there are dozens and dozens of other pseudo-christian cults that are competing for the same prize you lay claim to. You’re far from unique. Just one of a large group. The only person, group, denomination that has a right to claim they follow the truth are those that follow the clear teachings of scripture. That process will always be fraught with danger and error, humans being the imperfect creatures that they are.
    You are certainly within your rights to believe what you want to belief, but you have no right to claim that they are christian, because they are not. You would be better off to claim nothing than to claim to represent Christ and the scriptures. Your punishment will be all the worse for it. As Jesus would say ” You would be better off if you had never known”. Now you do. Only God can enlighten a mind with the truth and soften a hard neck or bend a stiff neck. I certainly can’t. So sometime in the future, when you don’t feel your membership in your group might be at stake, try to think back on our exchange. And think for yourself. You’ve already admitted to having been indoctrinated before. Are you being so again?

  • chuck

    Chant after me, Lee. Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna.
    So now we are saved by what. A WORK? Just one. Alllllrrriiiiigggghhhhttttt? I’ve done way more than one. Boy, am i gonna be rewarded.
    I am sure that the thief was cognizant of his less than exemplary life style. Something about being impaled on the cross encourages such reflective thought. The most startling thing about this account is the fact that one of the thieves continued in his arrogance and stubborn pride. I mean, what did he have to lose? Give it a shot. Believe in something other than yourself. But again, this is why the cross is so offensive. Someone being crucified is the Messiah? What nonsense.
    So, do you think the other thief thought it over, and all on his own came to the conclusion that Jesus must be the Messiah? On what grounds? There was nothing in this event that indicated any such thing. That’s why faith, as Paul,( the guy you ignore or embrace, depending on how you are currently interpreting his writings) said, is given as a gift. By grace. There was no inner light that indicated that Jesus was the Messiah. It was knowledge that was given by Spirit, as a gift of grace. Nothing to the credit of the thief. This is why he repented, because of the Spirit who convicts and convinces of sin ( i wouldn’t think he would need much convincing, be that as it may). He next rebukes the other thief. Nothing unusual here for one who’s been shown his desperate need. He states the obvious. Jesus was widely known for his works, love, and compassion (and on occasion, His fierce anger). The thief would have already known this. So he asks to be remembered when Jesus enters His kingdom. This is called FAITH (a word i don’t think you’ve accurately defined). And faith is a gift. So a gift isn’t a work. And it isn’t earned. It’s a gift. So everything that happened on that day was a gift from God, not a work deserving reward. Of course, all works-righteousness adherents, despite public protestations to the contrary, inwardly and secretly believe they are doing something that makes them deserving of salvation. You can’t get around it. Because you believe your works save you (have you noticed how very little time you have devoted to FAITH?). Only the arrogance of human pride, helped along by the deceiving one, could lead one to believe God is in any way INDEBTED to him or her for their works. You pretend not to believe this, but your words belie your claims. And this is the event i will be interested and saddened by when the judgement occurs. People (just like those Jesus shocked by saying “i never knew you”) expecting, perhaps demanding, entrance into the kingdom because of their impressive works. I, and those like me, having nothing to offer the Father except His Son, His holiness and righteousness. I will be embarrassed when I am given any rewards, because I know that I am not worthy. I know that if i enter the kingdom, it will be entirely by the mercy of a gracious (NOT grateful) God.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So tell me, what is the difference between being saved and going to eternal life?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Once again, I suggest that you actually read the letters of Paul in their entirety. Count how many verses focus on faith. And count how many verses focus on right living. You will see for yourself, if you do this, that Paul spends far more time talking about right living than he does talking about faith.

    So it is, in fact, exactly the opposite of what you say. You are the one relying on a few proof passages taken entirely out of context of the entirety of Paul’s letters.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I never said that “everywhere Paul mentions works, he means the Jewish Law.”

    In fact, Paul uses the word “works” in at least three different meanings, two of which are closely related:

    1. The works of the Law, meaning the Jewish ritual law.

    2. Works done for boasting, meaning works we do in order to “deserve” salvation.

    3. Good works: acts of love and kindness done for our neighbor from a good heart, in obedience to God’s commandments.

    The first two meanings of “works” in Paul’s letters are closely related because for Paul, a former Pharisee, the primary works done “for boasting,” or to deserve blessing and salvation, were the scrupulous observance of the Jewish ritual law.

    The third meaning is what Paul is primarily talking about in Romans 2, where he says that God “will repay according to each one’s deeds” (Romans 2:6)

    The first and second meanings are what he is talking about in Romans 3, Ephesians 2, and so on. This is made very clear by the context, where he talks about “circumcision” and “uncircumcision,” making his meaning clear.

    If you don’t understand these varying meanings of “works” in Paul, then you simply can’t understand Paul’s letters.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    This is actually rather funny.

    It is, in fact your group of so-called Christians who say, “We’re right, and everyone else is evil and is going to hell.” And you’ve been telling me all along that I’m going to hell because I believe the wrong thing.

    Meanwhile, I’ve said I believe everyone who lives a good life according to the beliefs of their own church or religion is going to heaven. Even you, regardless of your false, non-biblical doctrines, as long as you actually live by what Jesus taught, are going to heaven, I believe.

    I don’t think you’re evil. I just think you’re misinformed.

    So in fact, it is your group that is exclusive and cultish, that believes it has a corner on the market of salvation, and that operates out of fear of damnation if anyone deviates from the “correct” beliefs according to your particular sect.

    Meanwhile, my group believes in a God of love who is present to save in all religions, even those that are in serious doctrinal error. And God accomplishes that salvation of people of all religions through Jesus Christ, as Paul tells us in Romans 2:13–16:

    It is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when, according to my gospel, God, through Jesus Christ, will judge the secret thoughts of all.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Who ever said anything about the thief deserving salvation?

    Nothing we believe (faith) or do (works) causes us to deserve salvation, because none of it is ours. It all comes from the Lord as a free gift.

    If we try to take credit for anything we believe or do (faith or works), then we rendered them useless for salvation because we have robbed the Lord and claimed what is the Lord’s as our own.

    We don’t deserve salvation because of our good works. Jesus dealt with that faulty idea in this brief parable:

    Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, “Come along now and sit down to eat”? Won’t he rather say, “Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink”? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” (Luke 17:7-10)

    We gain no merit, nor do we deserve heaven, because of the good works we do.

    But if we don’t do good works, we have rejected the Lord’s commandments, the primary of which are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. And we can’t be saved if we reject the Lord’s commandments and refuse to live by them.

    Jesus told another parable about what happens to wicked servants who do not do their duty:

    Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose the servant says to himself, “My master is taking a long time in coming,” and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. (Luke 12:42–46)

    As I have already said, doing good works has nothing to do with deserving, or in traditional religious language, “meriting” salvation. If we do good works to deserve salvation, then we are doing works “for boasting,” and those works will not save us.

    Rather, good works that contribute to our salvation (because they are not ours, but the Lord’s in us) are done for three basic reasons:

    1. Out of obedience to the Lord’s commandments.

    2. Out of understanding that the Lord’s way is the right way.

    2. Out of love for the Lord and love for our neighbor.

    None of these reasons have anything to do with “deserving” salvation.

    I don’t believe that I deserve salvation for any of the good works I do. When I have done what the Master commands me to do, I still say that I am an unworthy servant, because I have only done my duty.

    However, if I do not do my duty, I cannot be saved, but will be cut to pieces and assigned a place with the unbelievers.

  • chuck

    No Lee, not playing your childish game anymore. Acknowledge that Paul says in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by faith, not works (this is what it says EXACTLY), or we have nothing further to discuss. You can talk to yourself or print your posts and read them for self-comfort and self-hypnosis.

  • chuck

    Admit it.

  • chuck

    Admit it.

  • chuck

    Admit it.

  • chuck

    Admit it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    No, the exact words of Ephesians are that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by our own doing, but as a gift of God.

    Ephesians 2:8 doesn’t even say we are saved by faith. It says we are saved by grace.

    Now, are you ready to admit that James says in James 2:24 that we are justified by works, and not by faith alone? That actually is what it says exactly.

  • chuck

    You are a liar.
    EPH-2:8- For by grace you have been saved THROUGH FAITH. And this is NOT YOUR OWN DOING, it is the gift of God, NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS…” You are either one of the blindest or dumbest people I have ever debated. Admit it. Admit it. Admit it. You truly are either blinded by the evil one or serve him, or both. You better pray for grace, Lee. You so desperately need it, distorter of scripture. And a liar. Admit it. Or don’t post to me directly any more. Just type your brainwashed, cultic taught viewpoint for others to read. I am not interested. Admit it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You said:

    Paul says in Ephesians 2:8 that we are saved by faith, not works (this is what it says EXACTLY),

    But the exact words of Ephesians 2:8 are:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—

    You’re just plain wrong. Ephesians 2:8 does not say that we are saved by faith. It says that we are saved by grace, through faith.

    I’m not distorting Scripture. You are.

    I am quoting the exact words of Scripture.

    Why are you changing what the Scripture says, and then claiming that those are its exact words?

    And why do you consider it “cultic” and “brainwashed” to say exactly what the Scripture says, in the exact words of Scripture? Is it actually a heresy in your church to state what Scripture says in its own words? Is it actually required in your church to change the words of Scripture into something they don’t say? And then to claim that your changed version is “what it says EXACTLY”?

    It’s amazing to me that every single thing you accuse me of is precisely what you’re doing yourself.

  • chuck

    Nice try, Mr. Delusional. Don’t think i’ve ever seen anyone go through such mental and verbal gymnastics in order to avoid what scripture says. So not interested in such nonsense. It says “through faith” and “not of works”. Simple. So very not interested in playing games with you any more. Go away.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for admitting at least some of what it actually says.

    It does not say “by faith” as you claimed. It says “by grace.”

    And you’re welcome to go away any time you like. Nobody’s forcing you to continue the conversation. But as long as you keep making false statements, I’m going to keep correcting them.

  • chuck

    It says by grace, THROUGH FAITH. So what now, you want to eliminate faith from conideration at all and just go with works? Well, thank you for being honest. It’s where your always coming from so at least you now admit it. And this still doesn’t eliminate that the same passage states specifically “not by works”. You still can’t deal with that, or even acknowledge it.
    And ye of little knowledge, EVERYTHING WE RECEIVE FROM GOD IS GRACE. EVERYTHING. EVEN THE GOOD WORKS YOU SO WORSHIP. Is it a surprise then that the word for grace is a derivative of the word for GIFT? Everything from God is a gift. The works you do that you think are saving you (not by works), even if i assumed you are a true christian, which i do not, would be a gift from God, for only He can ACCOUNT them as righteous.
    Your silly childish games, while they may give you orgasmic emotional highs, are nothing more than that. Games. You ignore scripture when convenient. You eliminate scripture when convenient. You interpret it to conform to your a priori beliefs when you want. You ignore historical christian doctrine when you want.(which is why i call you a cultist). You rewrite history when it suits you. Nothing about your posts is about truth. It is about what your cult believes. But remember, Lee, God is not mocked. You will receive your just do. Don’t think that by hiding behind the internet you aren’t culpable for your teaching. God will judge. As i said before, there will be nothing more hilarious, and sad, then watching you and others like you stand before Christ at the judgement and try to convince Him (who you demean and blaspheme) that He owes you something for all your “righteous” works. What an absolute joke. What a heretical claim against the Godhead (whom you also demean and blaspheme). Satan has really got you in his grip. You aren’t alone, for sure. But you’re as deep as I’ve ever seen. And blind. And absolutely, completely, fearful.
    Now, I shouldn’t be surprised that someone who so disrespects the Godhead, Christ, and the bible would be where you are. It’s what makes you all the more culpable in your sin. It’s one thing not to know the truth. It’s another to have it in front of you, and to twist and distort it. Paul makes clear, as does Christ, how much more severe the judgement is for you. Just like the scribes and Pharisees. The blind leading the blind.
    At the end of the day, you still haven’t admitted, or even acknowledged what Ephesians states (the grace argument being just one in a long line of stupid desperate measures) Even if you were right, and you aren’t (you act as if Ephesians is all i’ve referenced), you still have “not by works”. You don’t gain anything. You’re still stuck. Paralyzed. Unable to move an inch. It is right there in front of you. I’m sure you can consult your Bjornborgian mentors to receive another, even more stupid, desperate argument. The blind leading the blind.
    And please, I’m not asking you to stop posting, just stop wasting your time with me. The arguments you have offered are all non-scriptural and fallacious. Why would I be convinced of your “biblical” arguments when they don’t even acknowledge what scripture says? Asking a little much, don’t you think. I’ve been quite patient with you, Lee. Let you throw out all your red-herrings. Even answered most of them. Watched you deny and distort scripture. Blaspheme the Godhead. Claim work-righteousness. I’ve been very patient. And far kinder than you deserve. You resemble a pugnacious child. Or more like a drug-addict, who claims they have it all under control, while everyone watches their life fall apart. Just outright denial of reality. So please, keep posting. To rephrase you, as long as you keep posting your bull-crap, I’ll keep telling everyone that it stinks.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    There are many falsehoods in your statements here, but also a glimmer of truth.

    I have already dealt with most of the falsehoods in my previous responses to you, so I’ll just list them more briefly here:

    1. I do not want to “want to eliminate faith from consideration at all and just go with works.” I have already stated that repentance, faith, good works, and especially love are all part of salvation, and are all required for salvation.

    2. I have already dealt with the meaning of “works” in Ephesians 2:8. Paul makes it clear three verses later in Ephesians 2:11, where he mentions “circumcision” and “uncircumcision,” that he is talking about the ritual works of the Jewish Law, just as he is when he speaks of being justified by faith without the works of the Law in Romans 3:28 and in a few other places. And one verse later, in Ephesians 2:9, he says that we are created for “good works,” showing by contrast that the “works” he speaks of in verse 8 are not “good works” but “the works of the Law.” It is you who refuses to see the obvious meaning of Ephesians 2, because you are focusing only on one or two verses, and reading them entirely out of context. Please take off your faith alone goggles and read the whole chapter, not just two verses of it, and you will see.

    3. I do not ignore historical Christian doctrine, though I do believe that some of the doctrines that were invented later in Christian history, such as those of the Protestant Reformation 1,500 years after Christ, are wrong. In fact, I hold to the historical Christian doctrine of Christus Victor, which states that Christ saved us by defeating the Devil, whereas you reject historical Christian doctrine by claiming that Christ saves us from the penalty of our sin—something the Bible never says, and specifically rejects, as I have explained more fully in previous comments to you.

    4. Not exactly a falsehood, but when you state that it will be “hilarious” when those who disagree with your dogmas are supposedly judged for hell by Christ, your attitude is in complete opposition to the loving nature of God, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (see Ezekiel 18:23, 32).

    5. I have provided you with many passages from Scripture, and quoted their exact words, to support the statements I have made. You, on the other hand, have regularly stated that particular verses of Scripture, such as Ephesians 2:8 say things that they simply do not say, and have ignored or attempted to explain away the plain words of every Scripture passage I have quoted for you that does not conform to the faith alone and penal substitution dogmas you hold to, which were invented by Luther and Calvin. I do not believe you will be judged so harshly for this because you seem sincere in your beliefs. But you are “teaching human precepts as doctrines,” and “making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on” (see Matthew 15:7–10; Mark 7:6–8, 13).

    The rest of the falsehoods in your comment are mostly just personal invective and insult against me, so I will pass over them without further comment, except to say that when I mentioned to my wife our debate here, and mentioned how disrespectful and insulting you are, her immediate reaction was that you are stooping to insult and emotion because you are threatened by the Scriptural truths I am presenting to you, and have no real defense against them. She seems to think I am getting through to you, and that upon later consideration you might actually see the truth that I am attempting to convey to you. On that, she is more optimistic than I am. However, I do hope she is right, and that in time you will indeed come to see the truth as it is taught in the Bible.

    And this brings me to the glimmer of truth in your comment. You say:



    If I could impress upon your mind just this one truth, and plant it as a seed in your mind, then perhaps this extended debate will actually have had some good effect upon you, and not only upon others who are persistent or foolish enough to actually read all of these comments.

    The truth that you have stated there is the undoing of all of the Protestant arguments against good works being essential to salvation.

    The Protestant argument is that good works must be “meritorious,” or done to deserve salvation. You have made this same argument a number of times in this comment stream.

    But as I have pointed out to you several times already, the good works that we do that contribute to our salvation are not ours, nor can we take any credit for them, nor do we deserve salvation or eternal life because of them.

    Rather, the good works that contribute to our salvation are given to us to do, by God’s grace:

    For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
    (Ephesians 2:10)

    Yes, everything that contributes to our salvation—faith, good works, repentance, love—is a pure gift of God’s grace. Without God’s grace (meaning God’s lovingkindness and favor), we would have no faith, we would have no good works, we would be unable to repent, and we would have no love for God or the neighbor.

    So it is exactly as Ephesians 2:8 says:

    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

    All of it is the gift of God. The faith. The good works that we are created by God to do. The repentance from sin that Jesus commands us to do. The love for God and the neighbor that Jesus says are the most important commandments in Scripture. It is all a free gift to us from God’s grace, lovingkindness, and favor showered down upon us.

    I hope and pray that this powerful truth will establish itself deeply in your mind, and cleanse your mind of all of the non-biblical falsehoods about faith alone that have been ingrained upon your mind for so many years.

    If this conversation has that one long-term effect on you, then it will not have been in vain even for you. Perhaps my wife is right, and you will, in time, be able to see the truth, and the truth will set you free.

  • chuck

    Hello Lee, as usual, many falsehoods. To tackle a couple. I never mentioned anyone being judged for hell. I merely said the judgement. You read into it and then corrected yourself. This is typical.
    You seem blissfully unaware that by adding works, you negate the gift. I have explained this more than once. Your refusal to even address this confirms your inability to acknowledge the contradictions in your theology.
    Your interpretation of Ephesians 2 is the only one of its kind i have seen. Not to say others haven’t come up with it, just never saw it in any book or commentary on Ephesians that i have read, and that’s alot. This means either you are really on to something (forgive me if i’m doubtful) or you and your group are so off base you are almost non-existent. I go with the later. Your interpretation is simplistic and without foundation. The mention of Jewish Law could mean no more that Paul is including his Jewish readers (believers) along with his Gentile, which scholarship is virtually (i say this to be humble) unanimous on.
    Funny, your wife’s explanation for my “meanness” is exactly the same as my explanation for your willful pretended blindness. Funny how meaning can get so subjective, isn’t it?
    My statement about the judgement being hilarious was also accompanied by the word “sad”. Does that seem to contradict itself to you? Perhaps that may be because you see everything as either/or. Sometimes it may be both. It will be terribly sad and futile to offer works as part of your deserving salvation. It will also be a hilarious argument to put forth. Hilarious as in a variant meaning, silly or comical. No one said the judgement is hilarious. The argument of works righteousness is.
    Again, was the story about your wife just to gain sympathy or geared towards audience appeal, as in “look how nice i am and how mean he is”. How childish.
    And returning to your effusive writing about everything being a gift. Sounds almost orthodox except i know you better than that. As i stated above, if something is earned, it is not a gift. You believe works play an intricate part in achieving salvation. Those works, even if you pretend to believe they are a gift, vindicate or finalize your salvation. They may be presented to God as “your part in obtaining salvation”. This is clearly works-righteousness. Which nullifies the gift.
    I have dealt with cultist and pagan religion for over the last four decades. Trust me, the last thing they do is make me nervous or overwhelm with their “biblical” truth, or their unchristian beliefs. What does bother me is those who stubbornly persist in resisting the truth, while pretending they don’t see it. While this is certainly possible, I choose to believe that other people are as smart as i am. So if i (and hundreds of millions of people) can see an obvious truth, i would rather believe that those who don’t are stubborn rather than stupid, which as i stated before i differentiate from ignorance, altho one could be both stubborn and stupid.
    For example, i have constantly asked you to acknowledge three simple words, clearly stated in scripture. Based on what i can only identify as stubborness and fear, you have refused to do so (and no, simply typing both verses without addressing the words i highlighted is juvenile obstinance). I didn’t ask you to type them, but to affirm them. You can’t (which i don’t literally accept) or you won’t (my preference). This again, is just childish.
    Finally, i extol your wife’s virtues. Anyone who deals with your kind of reasoning get’s my vote. Of course, i’m sure she would say it’s been a blessing. Spouses can be like that.
    Certainly if it were to turn out you had some sort of learning disability, it would be embarrassing for me. I don’t, however, remotely believe this is the case.
    I enjoy a spirited debate as much as anyone else, but when they become fruitless, it’s time to move on. You can’t acknowledge what’s in the bible. Therefore there is no reason to acknowledge your arguments. I wish you the best, i really do. I wouldn’t have spent so much time and effort if i didn’t. There was certainly no motivation for me to do so. I did it out of a reasonable obligation. I think I’ve been reasonable. Wish the best for you and your wife. Goodbye.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Let’s cut to the chase:

    If I die tonight, do you believe I will go to heaven or to hell?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    And about Ephesians, it appears that you have been reading only Protestant commentaries, because your view of Ephesians is held to only within Protestantism. And of course, if all you ever read is Protestant commentaries, they are all going to agree with you, and will only plunge you deeper into the fallacy that you’re holding to.

    I’ve read some Protestant commentaries on those verses too, and they all say basically the same thing. But Catholic and Orthodox commentaries interpret them quite differently.

    And don’t just read two verses. Read the entire chapter. Keep reading after verses 8–9. It’s all about how Gentiles, who were formerly alienated from the community of Israel, are now brought together with Jews under Christ, since Christ has abolished the (Jewish) Law and its commandments, so that everyone is now on an equal footing, both Jew and Gentile.

    This is an overarching theme in Paul’s writing: that being Jewish makes no difference, nor does being non-Jewish make a difference, because all are under the new covenant in Jesus Christ, and no one is any longer required to observe the Jewish ritual law.

    Once again, please read Acts 15. It’s all explained there.

    Your understanding of Ephesians 2:8–9 requires taking those two verses completely out of context both in the book of Ephesians itself and in the historical and religious setting in which Paul wrote it.

    However, for you to see what Ephesians actually says, you will have to remove your faith-alone and penal substitution goggles first. If you don’t, you simply won’t understand anything Paul, or the rest of the Bible, says.

    I suspect you will be incapable of removing those goggles. By now I they seem to have been welded directly to the bone structure of your head. Still, I hope my wife’s more optimistic view wins out in the end, and that you are eventually able to move beyond your current fallacies and see the truth.

    She, incidentally, grew up being taught similar things to what you believe—and similar to what Emma (the host of this blog) grew up believing. But my wife grew out of those simplistic and faulty beliefs early on, when she was in her 20s.

    It may be too late for you, since you’re a bit older, and your thinking is fairly well crystallized by now. But there is always hope.

  • chuck

    What a stupid question, Lee. Are you asking me to judge you? Then i would be disobeying my Lord, My God, My Savior. What a silly thing to ask. Why should i even have an opinion. That is so not my territory. As the saying goes, “that’s a little above my pay grade”. Do i think your theology is way screwed up? Oh, indeed. I have no desire for you to go to hell (sorry to disappoint you). I just know, from scripture, that sincerity has nothing to do with it. And seeing as how God desires us to worship Him in Spirit AND in Truth (what do you think that even means), and Paul constantly writes warning us about false gospels, yes, I do think what we believe plays a significant or critical role in our salvation. As for you? I’ll leave that in the hands of one far more knowledgeable than myself.

  • chuck

    Oh Lee, you are being so mean!!! Should I go and cry to my wife like you do? Let me give you one of Pauls favorite devices, the apologetic encomium. I have researched christian theology and apologetics for over four decades. I have read well over 2,000 books on said subjects. I have read thousands of articles in research journal. I have taught thousands of people. I have had the privilege and pleasure of leading dozens of people out of cults and the occult. I have debated Jws, Mormons, Way international, Occult, and New Age disciples many dozens of times. Based on these qualifications, i think i am equipped to speak as I do.
    Your constant smashing of Protestants shows you have little ammunition to provide other arguments. I also am familiar with Catholic and Orthodox views, at large and on specific doctrines. How vain for you to appeal to them when they would agree with few if any of your groups doctrines.
    And also, you are full of crap if you think either one of them would agree with your viewpoint of Ephesians. Or that of Paul’s other epistles. I see you try to prey on perceived ignorance of those you debate, hoping that you can scare someone off by false claims. I am quite aware of what Catholics believe. I married one. Again, it is irrelevant what they believe. I am interested in what the bible says.
    Early in our discourse you claimed the bible doesn’t say we have been ransomed or had debt or penalty paid by Christ. I demolished and overwhelmed that false claim. You immediately went silent on it and never brought it up again, without ever acknowledging the bludgeoning you received.
    I’ve also shown that Paul says we are not saved BY WORKS. Clearly. And you still can’t even type the words. Sticking “of the law” in is just your usual twisting of scripture (Peter acknowledged that Paul wrote some difficult things which “the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction”. As is refusing to acknowledge scriptural teachings because you can’t find the magic words you desire (as in faith “alone”).
    You asked me earlier about your salvation (again, a stupid question, and nothing but a simple minded “trap” to make yourself look good). I will confess this: If you plan to stand in front of Jesus Christ and tell Him He didn’t live long enough to accomplish our redemption, and thus claim He didn’t do enough (as you did in the article you linked), I certainly think it will be a very steep hill you will have to climb to gain entrance. Of course, God is merciful. I’ll be fine whatever His decision (as if He will check to see if i am).

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’m glad to hear that you don’t think you can decide whether or not I’m going to hell. A number of your Evangelical brethren have had no such compunctions. They have told me flat out that I’m going to hell because I believe the wrong thing.

    Now, since you really don’t know what is going to happen when I stand in front of the heavenly throne of judgment, perhaps you should stop talking about it as if you think it’s highly unlikely that I will make the grade.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    In the course of conversation with my wife, I mentioned that I am debating a Calvinist who is quite rude and insulting—since that’s one of the primary characteristics of your comments. Really, it’s just an interesting fact about you.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    In all those books you’ve read by Catholics and Orthodox, can you refer me to a place where one of them says that Ephesians 2:8–9 says that we are saved or justified by faith alone, as you claim?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You say:

    Early in our discourse you claimed the bible doesn’t say we have been ransomed or had debt or penalty paid by Christ. I demolished and overwhelmed that false claim. You immediately went silent on it and never brought it up again, without ever acknowledging the bludgeoning you received.

    And now you’ve become a legend in your own mind!

    In fact, I never said that the Bible doesn’t say we’ve been ransomed. You will not be able to point to any comment where I said that.

    I did say that the Bible doesn’t say we’ve had a debt penalty paid by Christ.

    And I did indeed respond to your statements on this subject, pointing out that you are mashing together two entirely different theories of atonement: Ransom Theory and Penal Substitution. I then suggested that you read up on the various theories of atonement and learn the differences among them.

    Since you apparently entirely missed my responses to your misunderstandings of atonement theory, or just didn’t bother to read them, you can find one of my responses here.

    Your reply to it was basically to deny that there is any difference between a ransom payment and a debt payment.

    Which is obviously false.

    If someone demands that I pay them a ransom or they will kill a loved one that they are holding hostage, I do not owe them a debt.

    And if I borrow something from someone and tell them I’ll pay them for it if I damage it or lose it, I do not owe them a ransom if I do indeed damage or lose the borrowed item.

    Ransom Theory and Penal Substitution are two entirely different theories. The fact that you are mashing them together as if they are one and the same thing shows that you don’t understand either one.

    Ransom theory has been around since the early days of Christianity. Penal substitution has been around only for the last five centuries, since the Protestant Reformation.

    Once again, I would suggest that you study up on the various atonement theories that have existed in Christianity, and the differences between them.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    For another of my responses to your mashing together of Penal Substitution and Ransom Theory, please see my comment here

    In that comment I list the major theories of atonement held to over Christian history, and in the various branches of Christianity, and recommend that you study them and their differences.

    It is hard for me to believe that you have done the extensive reading in comparative Christian doctrine that you claim to have done if you don’t even know the differences among the major theories of atonement in Christianity. This is very basic stuff.

    Do you even realize that Protestantism has a different theory of atonement and salvation than Catholicism does? And that the Catholic Church has officially rejected justification by faith alone and penal substitution as held to within Protestantism?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You say:

    I’ve also shown that Paul says we are not saved BY WORKS. Clearly. And you still can’t even type the words. Sticking “of the law” in is just your usual twisting of scripture

    Have you actually read the Bible? I mean, read it from beginning to end, and not just a few verses from Paul’s letters? I don’t see how you could possibly have read the Bible if you claim that “sticking of ‘the law’ in” is a “twisting of scripture.”

    “The law” is a major theme in Scripture, spanning the Old and New Testaments. Paul himself speaks of “the law” on numerous occasions. His entire message draws on his former life as a Jew and a Pharisee steeped in the Law of Moses. And as I have said to you several times before, if you don’t understand Paul’s various terms for “the law,” including “the law of Moses,” “the works of the law” and its shorthand versions “the law,” “works,” and “circumcision,” then you simply can’t understand what Paul is talking about in his letters.

    In his letters, Paul is drawing on a long and extensive scriptural history of “the law of Moses.” Here are just a few of the passages showing that history, and its reflection in the New Testament, including in the letters of Paul (emphasis added in all cases):

    Take this book of the law and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God; let it remain there as a witness against you. (Deuteronomy 31:26)

    Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, “an altar of unhewn stones, on which no iron tool has been used”; and they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed offerings of well-being. (Joshua 8:30–31)

    Therefore be very steadfast to observe and do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right nor to the left. (Joshua 23:6)

    I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn. (1 Kings 2:2–3)

    Moreover Josiah put away the mediums, wizards, teraphim, idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah had found in the house of the Lord. Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him. (2 Kings 23:24–25)

    Jehoiada assigned the care of the house of the Lord to the levitical priests whom David had organized to be in charge of the house of the Lord, to offer burnt offerings to the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the order of David. (2 Chronicles 23:18)

    They took their accustomed posts according to the law of Moses the man of God; the priests dashed the blood that they received from the hands of the Levites. (2 Chronicles 30:16)

    Then Jeshua son of Jozadak, with his fellow priests, and Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel with his kin set out to build the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings on it, as prescribed in the law of Moses the man of God. (Ezra 3:2)

    This Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that the Lord the God of Israel had given. (Ezra 7:6)

    All the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. (Nehemiah 8:1–3)

    The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
    the decrees of the Lord are sure,
    making wise the simple;
    the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
    the commandment of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eyes;
    the fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever;
    the ordinances of the Lord are true
    and righteous altogether.
    More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
    sweeter also than honey,
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
    (Psalm 19:7–10)

    All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. So the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against you. He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers, by bringing upon us a calamity so great that what has been done against Jerusalem has never before been done under the whole heaven. Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us. We did not entreat the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and reflecting on his fidelity. So the Lord kept watch over this calamity until he brought it upon us. Indeed, the Lord our God is right in all that he has done; for we have disobeyed his voice. (Daniel 9:11–14)

    After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:21–24)

    Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? (John 7:22–23)

    Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38–39)

    But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5)

    After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets. (Acts 28:23)

    Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For no human being will be justified in his sight by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:19–20)

    For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. (Romans 3:28)

    For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? (1 Corinthians 9:9)

    We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. (Galatians 2:15–16)

    You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?

    Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.” For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.

    For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law; for “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” But the law does not rest on faith; on the contrary, “Whoever does the works of the law will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:1–14)

    For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

    So then, remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. (Ephesians 2:8–16)

    Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy “on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Hebrews 10:28)

    And if that is not enough for you, I’ll quote you a few dozen more, until you are convinced that “the law” is not something I invented, but is a continual theme of the Scriptures themselves.

    In light of the extensive theme of “the law” throughout the Scriptures, and its usage in the Gospels, the Acts, and the Epistles, it is astounding to me that you could say that my speaking of “the law” and “the works of the law” is a “twisting of scripture.”

    It is you who has ignored and twisted scripture by ignoring the extensive scriptural usage and meaning of “the law” in its various forms, and the way in which Paul draws on that history and meaning of “the law” in the teachings he gives in his letters.

    Your entire theology is based on a few verses in Paul’s letters taken completely out of context, and read in complete ignorance of what Paul is talking about when he speaks of “the law,” “works,” “the works of the law,” “circumcision and so on.

  • chuck

    I didn’t proclaim your eternal destiny. Don’t presume that means you can tell me what and what not to say, you pompous ass.

  • chuck

    And you are a works-righteous blasphemer. Just a sad quality about you.

  • chuck

    Lee, you are so incredibly stupid. Always the word games. Don’t you have some legos you can play with?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’ll take that as an admission that you either haven’t actually read any commentaries on Ephesians by Catholic and Orthodox authors, or that you can’t show me any places where they actually agree with your interpretation (because they don’t).

  • chuck

    Speaking of a legend in his own mind! You presume to redefine centuries of biblical understanding and definitions. How arrogant. You think something is true simply because you say it is. And paying the penaly (redeeming) is the same thing as ransoming. At least in the real world. And again, you are busy redefining words or giving incorrect analogies. We don’t “borrow” our sins. May i suggest that you just read A book. Not one printed by your cult. Something that may require you to think outside of your aberrant pseudo-christian group. In my answers i tend to give more info than required so as to avoid endless posts (such as your six today). And Lee, for your information, i’ve been no more rude or condescending than you have. And certainly less arrogant. Now please, grow up, get a life, and go bother your wife.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Are you actually claiming that Ransom Theory and Penal Substitution are the same thing?

  • chuck

    Yes Lee. I’m not debating them, I am debating you. I call your theory of atonement heretical, so my approach is to work from the bible. Different theories of atonement are not ALWAYS totally different. They do not necessarily disagree ON ALL points. And for the hundredth time, I DON’T CARE WHAT THE CATHOLICS OR ORTHODOX SAY.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’ll take this as another admission that you haven’t actually read Catholic or Orthodox commentaries. And it likely means that you don’t even have a good understanding fo what they believe, and how it is different from what your Protestant and Calvinist beliefs.

    Which likely also means that you know very little about the history of Christian doctrine in general, and the history of your own doctrine in particular.

    Once again, are you claiming that Ransom Theory and Penal Substitution are the same thing?

  • chuck

    Lee, let me simplify for the hard of reading. How many laws are there? How many laws does God have for mankind? One. ONE. While the Jews were given direct revelation, God doesn’t have two sets of standards by which he will judge mankind according to His law. While one’s ability to comprehend or his or her’s direct exposure to God’s word may alleviate or exacerbate the degree of judgement, there’s just one standard for God’s holiness and His requirements. Endless copying for textbook quotes (please put your cult books away) referencing the law does not make Pauls primary focus the law. He references the law in his writings to juxtapose it with GRACE. Paul posits law versus grace. And that grace saves through faith, and NOT BY WORKS. Works of any kind. Period. Your works will NOT save you.

  • chuck

    Lee, while the Catholics would claim that we are saved by grace through faith, they do indeed believe that works, the sacraments, etc. also play a role in our salvation. As do the Orthodox. And why the hell do I care? Why do you? They would decry your cult as heretical doctrinally. Why do you think they help you? Are you getting more and more desperate?

  • chuck

    No Lee. Are you that dense? I’m stating that they are not ENTIRELY different. Again, why do you care? Another red herring?

  • chuck

    Get thee behind me Satan. And yes, I mean that literally. I don’t care what the catholics and orthodox believe, Lee. Listen, if you are that confident in your ability to earn salvation, then by all means, go with that. If you think Jesus owes you something for your efforts, by all means, tell Him that in your prayers tonight. If you can’t recognize that your inability to acknowledge three words in the bible is an indicator of spiritual bondage, I’ll pray that you can. If you need consoling, hug your wife. If you can’t recognize your arrogance, then God will surely humble you. Let’s hope it’s in this life.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    The only book I consulted or quoted from in my comment above is the Bible. I find it very interesting that you call the Bible “your cult book.”

    Meanwhile, I’ll take this as an admission that you don’t understand what “the works of the law,” “the law” “works” and “circumcision” mean in Paul’s writings, because you are ignoring their entire Scriptural background.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You’ve been claiming that all the commentaries you have read say the same thing about Ephesians 2:8–9.

    Now you seem to be admitting that Catholics and Orthodox Christians disagree with your interpretation.

    That, at least, is some progress.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Thank you for at least tacitly admitting that they are different.

    But the fact of the matter is that they are entirely different. They represent two conflicting theories of atonement.

    One says that Jesus saved us by ransoming us from the Devil (or in some versions from the wrath of God).

    The other one says that Jesus saved us by paying the penalty for our sins.

    Can you not see that these are two entirely different theories of atonement and salvation?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    And you persist in repeating falsehoods about my beliefs.

    1. I do not believe that I can earn salvation, as I have told you numerous times.

    2. I do not believe that Jesus owes me anything for my efforts, as I have told you many times.

    3. I have acknowledged every word from the Bible that you have quoted, and have told you what those words mean based on the Bible itself. If you choose to ignore the Bible and its message, that is not my problem, but yours.

  • chuck

    Lee, you seem to be too busy assuming that my intent not to follow every red-herring you throw out is an admission of anything. I just don’t care. You ignore what you’ve refused to address and where you’ve been wrong. I really don’t care. You’re happy in your delusion? Why should I burst your bubble? You think my unwillingness to post endlessly just to give some meaning to your life is a sign of something, other than my boredom? Think what you like. I don’t care.

  • chuck

    No lee, i didnt. How terribly blind you are. I stated that their doctrines on salvation would differ from mine. I made no reference to what they say in their commentaries. Poor, desperate, baby

  • chuck

    No Lee, I don’t. That’s because i care what the bible says, and not some group of people. I see both in scripture, as do many scholars. You’re limitations are not mine.

  • chuck

    No Lee, you do believe these things. You believe that your works play a role in your achieving salvation. If you work for something, someone OWES you something. The fact that you deny faith alone means you add something to it. And no, you have not acknowledged every word, at least not without adding or subtracting something from them. When i overwhelmed your denial of ransom, or payment, you went silent on it. Never acknowledged any of it. Just moved on to another red herring. You have NEVER acknowledged NOT BY WORKS, not without adding to God’s word (a real no-no). But by all means, continue in your deception. This is what deceived people do.
    A side note: being approved by God is not simply a matter of doing something. It’s also believing something (a tome of scriptures). If you don’t believe correctly in who God is, and/or who Christ is, then your in for trouble. Scripture demands that you take them at their word. And you don’t.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Your “unwillingness to post endlessly”? I haven’t seen any evidence of that so far. You keep right on posting, even after you say “We are done. Finished.” “We have nothing to talk about,” “Goodbye,” and so on. (And yes, those are direct quotes from previous comments by you.)

    You’re welcome to stop talking to me any time you like. But as long as you continue to talk to me and make false statements and false claims, I’ll feel free to continue to call out your falsehoods for what they are.

  • chuck

    Your right, Lee. My compassion knows no end. But i will stop here.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You said:

    Your interpretation of Ephesians 2 is the only one of its kind i have seen. Not to say others haven’t come up with it, just never saw it in any book or commentary on Ephesians that i have read, and that’s alot.


    I also am familiar with Catholic and Orthodox views, at large and on specific doctrines.

    I perhaps put 2 & 2 together and got 5 instead of 4. I’ll give you that.

    But one major thread of your argument seems to be that all of the major branches of Christianity disagree with me and that your views are in line with the main branches of Christianity, while mine are not.

    On the doctrine of the Trinity of Persons, you are right about that.

    But you are wrong about that when it comes to our respective understandings of atonement, salvation, and the interpretation of Ephesians 2.

    In fact, my understanding of Ephesians 2 is closer to the Catholic understanding of it, and especially to the Orthodox understanding of it, than yours is.

    Both Catholics and Orthodox understand Ephesians 2 as not excluding good works as a necessity for salvation. And that is also how I understand it. Meanwhile, you believe that Ephesians 2 does exclude good works as a necessity for salvation. So your understanding of Ephesians 2 is farther outside the historical mainstream of Christianity than mine is.

    And my understanding of salvation and atonement is much closer to the Orthodox understanding of it than yours is. The Orthodox still hold to the original Christus Victor view of atonement and salvation that Catholicism abandoned in favor of Satisfaction Theory 1,000 years after the Bible was written. My view of atonement and salvation is a variation on Christus Victor. So your understanding of atonement may be closer than the Catholic Satisfaction view than mine is, but it is definitely not closer than mine to the Orthodox Christus Victor view.

    In short, it’s simply not true that your beliefs about atonement and salvation and your interpretation of Ephesians 2 is in accordance with the historical mainstream of Christian belief, while mine is not. In fact, the opposite is true. Your understanding of these things departs much more radically from historical Catholic and Orthodox beliefs than mine does.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Okay, then please quote for me a passage from the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    I don’t care what “scholars see” in the Bible. I care what the Bible itself says.

    So please, Chuck, point me to a place in the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    As I’ve already pointed out to you with links to my comments, I did not “go silent” on ransom theory or payment, but specifically addressed those theories, and suggested that you study up on the different theories of atonement.

    However, if you want to keep repeating the obvious falsehood that I did not respond to you, then by all means, be my guest. Pile up those falsehoods to your heart’s content.

    I also responded specifically to your claim that believing that works are necessary for salvation means believing that God, or Christ, owes us something. That is another falsehood. See, for example my comment here.

    Good works that contribute to our salvation have nothing to do with earning or deserving salvation, nor do they cause God to owe us anything.

    They couldn’t possibly God to owe us something because the good works themselves are not ours, but are God’s, and are from God in us. As Jesus taught (and I have already quoted this passage for you twice):

    Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:4–5)

    However, if you want to keep repeating the obvious falsehood that requiring good works for salvation means that we are earning salvation, or that we deserve salvation, or that God owes us salvation, then by all means, be my guest. Keep piling up those falsehoods to your heart’s content.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I will be very surprised if you stop here.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You say:

    not without adding to God’s word (a real no-no)

    So I presume you are ready to admit that adding “alone” to “faith” is “a real no-no,” since the Bible itself never adds “alone” to “faith” except to specifically reject faith alone:

    You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, emphasis added)

    Are you ready to admit that believing and teaching faith alone is “a real no-no” because you are adding words to the Word of God?

    Are you ready to admit that you are, in fact, flatly contradicting the one passage in the Bible that actually talks about faith alone?

    Or maybe you are finally going to quote me a verse in the Bible that says that we are saved by faith alone?

    But I know you can’t do that. If you could, you already would have.

    The reason you can’t quote me a single passage from the Bible that says we are saved or justified by faith alone is that your belief in salvation by faith alone is false. It was invented by Martin Luther. This is a known historical fact.

    Just as the reason you can’t quote me a single passage from the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins is that your belief in penal substitution is also false.

    Your beliefs are not stated in the Bible, nor are they based on the Bible. They are based on the theories of human theologians such as Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, and John Calvin.

  • chuck

    You are so sad, Lee. Honestly, pathetically sad. This is the only one of your last four posts i’ve read. You don’t even need me, Lee. You just like pretending you are intelligent, when you are a pawn of a aberrant pseudo-christian cult. Keep typing, madman. No one else is here at this site. You might as well continue talking to yourself. If you do it long enough, you might actually convince yourself you’re right. Like i said before, deceived people don’t believe they are deceived. They just repeat the same lies over and over again. i’ll pray for you, sparky. Even if you are a petulant punk. I hope you grow up some day.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’ll take your silly insults as an admission that you have no actual response to what I said.

    You know very well that you are adding to the Bible when you add the word “alone” to “faith”—which the Bible never does except to reject it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    “Works-righteous blasphemer”? Another one of your human-invented ideas found nowhere in the Bible.

    I have quoted you many passages in the Bible that we will be judged for life or death, including eternal life or death, based on our good works or lack thereof. You have blithely ignored all those passages, resorting to insults against me because you cannot answer my presentation of the plain teachings of the Bible.

    You are calling the entire Bible and everyone in it a blasphemer.

    In particular, in Matthew 25:31–46 Jesus says very plainly that we will go to eternal life or to eternal punishment based on whether we have or have not done good works for our neighbor in need.

    Is Jesus Christ a “works-righteous blasphemer”?

    For a Christian to accuse Christ of blasphemy is a very serious blasphemy.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I wonder if it is even possible for you to speak to me without engaging in personal attacks and insults. You have treated others here the same way.

    Do you think your constant barrage of invective against anyone who disagrees with you actually helps your cause?

    Insults and personal attacks against those who don’t agree with you is a telltale sign of an inability to actually answer their points in a logical and convincing way.

    And you have abysmally failed to answer my points in anything like a convincing way. Mostly you just ignore what I say, ignore all of the passages from the Bible that I quote, and attack me personally instead.

    One day I hope you’ll wake up and realize how badly wrong you are, and how badly you have behaved in defending your the false doctrines taught to you by your Protestant and Calvinist theologians and teachers.

  • chuck

    What a sad delusional world you live in. I have NEVER added alone to the word faith. That’s been you all along, the same person, by the way, who added “of the law” to the word “works” a verse later. How inconsistent and hypocritical.

  • chuck

    None of the verses or passages you have ever referenced said anything about salvation.
    they all refer to reward or punishment. Never salvation. Another lie.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So then do you deny that we are saved by faith alone?

  • chuck

    Only someone delusional could claim i have not answered your questions. This explains why you don’t think so. And, my self righteous friend (works righteousness people often get this way), you have been no less insulting than I. Our words may differ, but your thinking you haven’t been is just another delusion. Deceived people are like that.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So I ask you once again:

    What is the difference between salvation and eternal life?

    Is it possible to have eternal life, but not to be saved?

    Is it possible to be saved, but not to have eternal life?

    Could you be saved but go to eternal punishment?

    Or not be saved but go to eternal life?

    What, exactly, is the difference between salvation and eternal life?

  • chuck

    I’ve been quite clear on salvation. If there is something other than faith that saves us, then to quote Paul and the word of God, it is NOT WORKS.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    No objective person could possibly read our exchange and think that I have been as insulting as you have. I have attacked your beliefs, with only a few occasional comments about you personally. You have attacked me personally in almost every comment, often not even responding to the points that I made.

    And you still haven’t answered most of my questions.

    For example, I asked you to show me a passage where the Bible says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins. You still haven’t done so.

    Ditto for any passage that says we are saved by faith alone. Are you ready to say that we are not saved by faith alone?

    And now I’m waiting for your answer on the difference between salvation and eternal life.

    I could list lots more of my questions that you haven’t answered, but those three are enough for now.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    My question was:

    Do you deny that we are saved by faith alone?

  • chuck

    Salvation, though it may depend on one’s specific theological bent, incorporates many aspects. Simple put, it is the moment, from our perspective in time and space, that one is welcomed into the bride of Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit.
    Eternal life is just that. What we will experience for eternity, even though we may have to experience a temporal death before then.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So can you be saved but not go to eternal life?

    Can you go to eternal life but not be saved?

  • chuck

    Pay close attention, Lee.
    Every passage that refers to Christ as our Redeemer is saying He paid the debt or penalty of our sins. I gave you extensive words and definitions to illustrate this.
    Every passage that refers to Christ and our redemption is saying the same thing.
    Are you ready to admit that however we are saved, it is “not by works”.
    I’ve answered every question you have asked, except for the banal repetitions.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    “Every passage” is not an answer.

    Please give me a specific passage where the Bible says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    I have looked very hard for a passage, and have never been able to find one.

    Neither has any Protestant I’ve asked for the past twenty years.

  • chuck

    And my statement was, we are not saved by works. This is what the bible says.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So you are not going to answer my question?

    And are you going to admit that you’re not answering my question?

  • chuck

    Are your questions intended to be tautological?
    Do you not know the answers?

  • chuck

    You are truly mentally dull. Yes Lee, that’s intended as an insult. You don’t strike me as stupid (though you ask stupid questions and make stupid statements). Therefore, your apparent dullness is purposeful. Which is childish and evidences fear.

  • chuck

    Are you not going to answer mine?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So you’re not going to answer these questions either?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I note that you have still not pointed to a single passage in the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    Why not?

    Are you willing to admit that you’re avoiding the question and resorting to insults instead because you can’t actually point to such a passage?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    What question do you want me to answer? I’ll be happy to do so.

    Meanwhile, please answer this question:

    Do you deny that we are saved by faith alone?

  • chuck

    Hi Lee.
    So your not going to answer my questions either?

  • chuck

    I affirm we are saved by faith. I affirm we are saved “not by works”.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Stop avoiding my questions.

    And if you want me to answer a question, just ask it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Do you affirm that we are saved by faith alone?

    Do you deny that we are saved by faith alone?

  • chuck

    I affirm you are delusional if you believe that.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So where are the passages that say we that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins?

    You still haven’t quoted a single one.

  • chuck

    Stop avoiding my questions. Any question (other than nonsensical ones) you have asked i have answered. Many times over.

  • chuck

    I’ve answered this before. I affirm we are saved by faith. I affirm we are not saved by works.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    So the way you avoid answering a question is to shout, “That’s a stupid question!”

    But you still haven’t answered my questions.

    You just keep avoiding them.

    Because you have no good answers for them.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I think you are well aware that if you actually answered my questions, it would show that your beliefs make no sense.

    That’s why you’re avoiding them.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    And meanwhile, once again, if you want to ask me a question, please go ahead and ask. I will be happy to answer.

  • chuck

    Everywhere that the word redemption or Redeemer is found in reference to salvation. I have already answered this.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I note that you did not answer either of the questions I asked.

  • chuck

    Only someone insane would talk to a wall.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I didn’t ask whether the Bible says that Christ redeemed us or saved us.

    I asked where the Bible says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    You have still not shown me a single passage where the Bible says that.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Why don’t you just admit that the Bible never says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

    It would be much easier.

  • chuck

    Hi Lee.
    I think you are well aware that if you answered my questions it would show your beliefs to be wrong.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You really can’t answer my questions.

  • chuck

    I have asked you many many questions you have not answered. Why don’t you deal with those first?

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You haven’t actually asked me any questions that I can find that I haven’t already answered.

    But if there’s one you think I haven’t answered:

    Then please ask it.

    I can’t answer questions if you don’t ask me any.

  • chuck

    I’ve answered every question. I notice you have not answered mine.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    What questions do you want answered?

    Please ask them again.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Now I’m beginning to think you’re just a troll.

    You keep refusing both to answer my questions and to ask me any questions.

  • chuck

    They are the same thing. Your inability to grasp that is not my problem.

  • chuck

    I’ve already answered that question

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I will take this as an admission that you can’t actually point to a single passage in the Bible that says that Christ paid the penalty for our sins.

  • chuck

    Hi Lee.
    You really can’t answer my questions.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Not if you don’t ask any.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I will take this as an admission that you can’t answer the question.

  • chuck

    There’s dozens you haven’t answered. the fact that you purposely ignored them is not my problem

  • chuck

    Read the posts.

  • chuck

    I’ve done both. Your decision not to makes me think you are a troll

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Repeat them, and I will answer them.

    Or admit that I’ve answered your questions and you just don’t want to admit it.

  • chuck

    You can take it and put it anywhere you like. I’ve done both a hundred times.

  • chuck

    Read my posts.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’ll take this as an admission that I have already answered all of your questions, and you just don’t want to admit it.

  • chuck

    I take this as an admission that you can’t answer mine

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I assert that I have already answered every one of your questions. If that is not correct, then you can ask the questions again.

  • chuck

    Read my posts. If you didn’t or wouldn’t answer them the first, second, and hundredth time, I have no reason to think you will do so now.

  • chuck

    Hi Lee
    I’ll take this as an admission that you haven’t answered my questions and don’t want to admit it.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    Meanwhile, here are some of my questions that you still haven’t answered:

    In what specific Bible verses does it say that Christ paid the penalty for our sins?

    Do you affirm that we are saved by faith alone?

    Do you deny that we are saved by faith alone?

    Is it possible to be saved and not go to eternal life?

    Is it possible not to be saved and to go to eternal life?

    These are just a few of my questions that you have not yet answered.

  • chuck

    I assert that you have not. Read my posts.

  • chuck

    I’ve answered all of those and more.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    There now are now nearly 300 comments on this post, most of them either yours or mine. I am not going to re-read them all to try to figure out which questions of yours you think I haven’t answered.

    If you can’t be bothered to actually ask me any questions that you think I haven’t answered, then I can’t be bothered to answer them yet again.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    No, you haven’t.

    Because you can’t.

  • chuck

    The hundreds of posts are your fault. You didn’t answer them with your first chance(s), why should i think you’ll answer them now.

  • chuck

    Hi Lee
    No you haven’t
    Because you can’t

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    You’re scared to ask them again because you know I’ll actually answer them.

  • chuck

    I wasn’t scared the first time, why should i be now.

  • Lee

    Hi Chuck,

    I’ve finished what I was doing, so I’m going to head out for some exercise.

    I’ll check when I get back and see if you’ve actually asked me any questions.

    And I’ll check to see if you have actually answered any of my questions.

  • chuck

    i’ll head out now and do some work. I’ll check back later to see if you’ve answered any of my questions.

  • LeAnn

    Chuck you are lost in the wilderness of your arguments.

  • chuck

    Wow, now that’s a rebuttal you rarely run into (joke). Nothing more than a pretentious metaphysical statement backed up by nothing more than emotion. Thanks for your contribution. I’ll have to give it some serious thought……….there, done.

  • The answer to that one is easy. God did not send such a worldwide flood. God may have thought about doing it, but if he did, He decided not to do it. Speaking as both a devout Christian and as a professional scientist, the scientific evidence against the past occurrence of such a worldwide flood is overwhelming—and all of that nonsense in “Answers in Genesis” is fantasy manufactured by Christian fundamentalists in a desperate effort—and it is raw desperation—to support the unsupportable.

    The story of Noah and the Ark is a parable, inspired by God in scripture, to illustrate some key spiritual points that God wants to teach us. Jesus tells parables like this in the New Testament, but Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals (in my USA) absolutely forbid God to tell parables in the Old Testament, even though such parables are clearly one of the Holy Trinity’s favorite and most beloved teaching methods. Clearly, God knew these fundies would one day object to him using parables in the Old Testament, but God went ahead and did it anyway because that is what God does No man controls God, and that is a good thing.

    I suppose the central spiritual message in the parable of Noah and the Ark is that sin is not just a thing people commit. Rather, as Emma Higgs has pointed out elsewhere on her blog, sin is at its very root in human beings about the overall “human condition.” Sin is not just in our hearts alone—it is also in our genetics at the very core of every cell that makes us who we are as an evolved species in the tree of life on Earth. In his own power, man and woman cannot help but sin. In the Noah and the Ark parable, God decides to kill nearly every living thing on Earth in a great flood because mankind is so sinful. However, not wishing all species to die out so his creation could continue, God picks out one righteous man (Noah), the members of his family, and two of each animal species to be saved. This is the experimental Holy solution to the sin problem—one righteous man (or a few) to start all over again. What happens after 40 days and 40 nights of rain has ended? Yep, Right out of the gate, Noah and his family are committing one outrageous sin after another. So, one of the key teaching points of God’s Noah and the Ark parable is that sin cannot be addressed and dealt with in this way because sin is not just something mankind does. It is part of the human condition in both heart and genetics. Even the God-defined most righteous man left on Earth in the parable is totally defenseless against sin because of his own innate human condition.

    God knew that human beings would one day discover that there was no such worldwide flood and that the story is just a parable—and He knew that those in his church who could see would realize that in refusing to actually create such a massive tragedy—God truly is the restrained and loving being that he is—that God is like Jesus.

    Emma Higgs. After viewing several of your blog posts and being so lucky to find you blog, I am forced to conclude that only one path is possible—a proposal of marriage. However, I suspect that my dear wife of 38 years would object strenuously. Therefore, I shall refrain and love you for the rest of my days from afar in a more Platonic sort of way. However, if I were single and 18 and you were single and 18, I would be singing opera beneath your bedroom window. God Bless You. Cheers!!!

  • Anthropologists have discovered that all around the world religious beliefs (be they primitive or complex) are the slowest to change. Religious traditions and other kinds of traditions die hard because they are cultural storage boxes. Having a cultural storage box is handy because it means people can say: “We settled all that.” That way the culture no longer has to spend energy on it or rethink what was put into the box. People are expected to simply believe the tradition because some elder in the culture of each succeeding generation says to a child: “Here—believe this without question.”

    The only problem with a tradition in a storage box is that culture changes through time and so do the environmental and social circumstances to which human beings must adapt to survive. Culture is man’s unique way of adapting to change This change is as certain as death and taxes. A tradition stored in a box hundreds or thousands of years ago may lose its adaptive relevance in light of a changed natural and social environment and a vast increase in scientific knowledge and other kinds of knowledge. Speaking as an anthropologist, I think it is good to occasionally unwrap old cultural storage boxes and test what is inside to see if it is still relevant or if it was in error when it was boxed away. I think this unboxing and repeat look at the Penal Substitutionary Theory of the Atonement was a good thing to do. John Calvin has been weighed on the scales, and his theory has been found “seriously wanting.”

    I do not know how you folks in Merry Olde England feel about the matter. But here is how a Christian fundamentalist in the United States would put it to you as he preaches on a street corner:

    “No!!! You must believe in Penal Substitution. It does not matter that you just believe that some sort of atonement occurs if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You must believe it is Penal Substitution for it to actually work for you. If you do not believe that and that alone, then you cannot possibly be saved. It is impossible.”

    I have also been similarly accosted with:

    “You must believe that the Bible is inerrant. If even one tiny, microscopic thing is ever discovered to be untrue or internally contradictory in the simply and literally read Bible, factually or otherwise, then the entire Bible must be thrown in the trash can. Similarly, if you believe that even one tiny, microscopic part of the Bible is not true, then to disbelieve one tiny part of the Bible is to disbelieve the whole Bible. Therefore you cannot possibly be saved.”

    These people are nuts—which is why they are fading into obscurity.

  • I like how you think (and write)! I sometimes publish guest posts… email me if you have anything you think might be of particular interest 🙂

  • Thank you. I love the way you think and write. Are you a college English, journalism, or communications major? Why do I ask? Well, I am not. However, I strongly suspect that I missed my calling to do that as a career many decades ago. Writing comes as easily and naturally to me as breathing. I find myself doing it in my spare time just for fun—for hours at a time—and the time passes so quickly when I am doing it.

    Unfortunately, here in des Etats-Unis, I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s when Americans were frightened of Soviet Technology. At the behest of the U.S. government, kids were overly encouraged to become scientists to help beat back the red hordes who were coming our way. If a kid had extraordinary talent as a musician, the teacher would say: “Sammy, I believe that was the most wonder rendition of that Chopin piece I have ever heard. Have you thought about majoring in nuclear engineering?” Well, it was more subtle than that actually, but the pressure was still there.

    I headed towards geology, anthropology, and archaeology when I should have headed towards some aspect of communications. Along the way, I awakened to my writing inclination, and my employers quickly found that I could clean up the horrible writing of the other staff members, which put me in pretty big demand in my assorted workplaces. As a result, I became a part-time, and sometimes full-time, technical editor.

  • Fascinating! I’m a musician actually, like you I only write for fun.

  • chuck

    Wow Dover. That was breathtaking. In one fell swoop you’ve dealt with everything (literal biblical truth) and everyone (fundies) that you find objectionable. And all of this is done by……well, by your own personal prejudices. Besides the many unfounded claims (fundies don’t allow old testament parables) without any substantiation other than your own claim (and my, how we should, with great glee, embrace subjectivism). Science has NOT disproven a world wide flood. It CAN’T. You’re dealing with historic science, which can only observe present processes (operational or observational science) and, based on subjective prejudices, guess at what may have happened thousands of years ago.
    So YOU think God MAY have thought about a worldwide flood, but didn’t do it. Dude, do you know how arrogant you sound. YOU, of all people, know what God considered and what decisions He made. How? How? Do you have some special insight no one else has? Were any exegetical or hermeneutical skills exercised? Or did you just chose what you found pleasing.
    Does you wife know you are proposing to other women on line? I won’t tell her.
    Your posting is a perfect example of banal drivel disguised with the ‘I am a devout Christian” tag that is supposed to get us to let our guards down and accept carte blanche whatever you say. I for one don’t buy it.
    Perhaps a wiser course for you is to stop imagining make believe enemies (paranoia) and to attempt to accept God’s word (you claim it is inspired while dismantling it’s inspiration. See the problem?). Next time you offer an answer, put something more substantive than your opinions. Try to offer some proof. And live up to your own claims.

  • chuck

    More personal subjective stories, made up claims, and a subtle (not really) attempt to get us to reinterpret scripture along a line you find more suitable. I’ve never heard any fellow believer (including those who adhere to penal substitution) make any claims similiar to what you claim. just more second hand made up stories. With no substantiation. I know what you’re doing. I intend to challenge you on it. And not with my words alone, but with HIS.

  • chuck

    Sorry, but we all have a tendency to pick and choose. It’s human nature. And all the ranting or attacks on Calvin don’t accomplish anything towards arriving at the truth. Only a complete work, in debate form, covering all relevant scriptures from “both sides” will have any chance of giving us a complete purview and assisting us in hopefully arriving at the truth of the issue.

  • Chuck. The only thing breathtaking I see is your ignorance and your attempt to play the role of a flippant jackass. I have a policy of not engaging with people like you. Thanks for playing.

  • Emma. Why do you allow people with this mean-spirited, sarcastic, egotistical, know-it-all attitude to post on your blog? This person is fundamentally mean-spirited and hateful in their approach to interacting with other people. I am really surprised that you allow Chuck to behave this way on your blog. I will not be sticking around for abuse by this two-bit bully. See ya.

  • Fine Chuck. I am leaving this blog until you are no longer here or you are banned because of your disgusting behavior. Come on over to my blog and challenge me with everything you have: Here is the safe link:


  • chuck

    Wow, Dover. That very much resembles a response from a flippant jack-ass. I doubt seriously, though, that your stated reason for “not playing” is simply because you are above it all. That’s called delusion. Perhaps fear is a better reason. You’ll never tell, will you?

  • chuck

    Now Dover, is it a correct understanding that you consider a rebuttal consisting of several points of challenge (and you answered not a one) as being mean-spirited? This sounds awful shallow. Bullying? Is that because you had no logical answers to my challenges? It’s a sign of this sick world and generation that one isn’t supposed to be challenged about their beliefs because that is mean and intolerant. Did you read all the pejorative adjectives you used in your response? Of course not. If you did, then you would see your own hypocrisy. Perhaps you’ve never been challenged before. Welcome to the real world. Why shouldn’t Emma allow me to post here? She allows unbiblical posts and heretical viewpoints. Why not historic christian orthodoxy? This topic has been debated for centuries. Why are you exempt from criticism and challenge? It’s obvious you don’t want to or can’t defend your propositions. Do you just post expecting everyone to give you bobble-head responses and slap you on the back? Consider my response as a toss of a life-jacket. Though, if you don’t know your are drowning (theologically), then your response (pushing away the life jacket) is understandable. Your inability to engage with counter-arguments SHOULD reveal to you the weakness in your beliefs. I can only show them to you. I can’t make you SEE them. Last of all, your post reeked of whining. The “I’ll take my toys and go home” response may get you some undeserved sympathy, but no real intellectual respect.

  • chuck

    Why, if you can’t answer me HERE, should i bother to go over THERE? So you can censor what i say? Truth is truth wherever you find it. If you can’t tell it at Emma’s site, why in the world should i expect you to answer it on your own. I personally could care less where you post. If you can’t handle the heat………. And please, take your angst out on me. Don’t try to denigrate Emma because she allows different viewpoints. Cheapshots.

  • This is my final response to you Chuck. You are nothing more than a conceited bully who defines anyone with Christian beliefs different from yours as an enemy of God and thus a person deserving to be attacked and ridiculed. You go after both ideas and people at the same time—and your purpose is to maim and destroy both. People like you run people away from Jesus Christ rather than draw them to him.

    Finally, I will tell you why I do not engage with people like you. I never took a single high school or college class in debating. Unlike you, I am not a philosophy student schooled in the fine arts of theology, logic, and fallacy identification. Thus, I do not have the skills to debate a person like you or defend myself from a person like you.

    But most of all, I am a mental health patient who has suffered from clinical depression since birth because of a genetic defect with regard to brain chemistry that runs in our family from one generation to the next. In grade school, I was bullied by other children, which is how I know a two-bit bully when I see one operating—and that is what you are Chuck. People like you are a grave risk to my mental health and have the capability to throw me into deep clinical depression for weeks or months at a time—in which condition I become nonfunctional and effectively disabled.

    Finally, you are an intellectual bully who specializes in carving up souls and spitting them out. This is why I want nothing to do with you, and when you get to heaven, please do not be surprised if Jesus spits you out too. Enough said.

  • chuck

    Wow Dover, talk about “bully-talk” and judgemental language. You don’t see it in yourself, do you?
    As to your mental state, it’s not my responsibility. It sounds like you can’t bear disagreement. So maybe your best course of action is to not blog at all, because in the real world, you will meet those who disagree with you, and not always in a fashion you desire. If this disturbs you or throws you for an emotional loop, I heavily advise you not to blog. For your own safety and well being. By all means, do not respond again. For your health.

  • tlund5

    Thank you for this essay. It extends C.S. Lewis’ vision of the crucifixion beyond ‘deep magic’ and fantasy into the spiritual reality the Triune God has created and illuminates the Father and the Son in the loving light they deserve.

  • Theodore A. Jones

    Yep. You certainly have missed the fact that makes the difference. “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” Rom. 2:13 NIV What’s that law Paul is referencing and how is the only way it can be obeyed?

  • Roy Hobs

    Amen………………well said.
    Question — Do you know of Malcolm Lavender’s works? Sincerely, Roy

  • Roy Hobs

    One of the most convincing arguments for me is simply — The Sacrificial Lamb was NOT punished, or beaten or mistreated prior to it’s death. The Sacrificial Lamb was simply an “Offering”. Just as Christ was. The Atonement is NOT what was done to Him; but what He did for us.
    The Sacrificial Lamb was not punished. Therefore Christ was not punished. The Lamb was an offering; just as Christ was an offering.

  • phillip mutchell

    Marvellous. Might I suggest though that the problem is that readers tend to level scripture when they read it and that this has happened with Jesus. The scriptures clearly have David’s son by Bathsheba being punished for David’s crime, in effect bearing the penalty due to Israel for its representative’s crime. (Think how the Muslim world hold normal Americans/Britains responsible for the ‘war against terror’ because their taxes enable it.) So Israel under the terms of its covenant with Jehovah was liable to punishment and Jesus was both their substitute and means of escape from the very real wrath which visited them in the form of the Roman legions in AD 70; this from a biblical perspective wrapped up God’s covenant with Israel the power of the holy people being shattered and the New Covenant was fully established and confirmed by the removal of the Jewish temple – Jesus Christ now the only mediator between God and Humanity. The new has no threats attached it is not do this and live it is believe and in believing have life in his (Jesus) name for truly all the promise of God are Yes in Christ Jesus – and for those who know power of sin and their own failure the sweetest of these is that unlike the Old Covenant in the New the people are promised that when we confess our sins He our God and Father is faithful and JUST to forgive us our sins. Those that insist on Hell it seems to me ignore that God’s justice is so clearly tied to his faithfulness in forgiving – his perfect son upon the cross crying out Father forgive them. Although one should expect the Calvinist to embrace anti-life doctrines as it is the religion of Capitalism whereby injustice is never Man’s doing but God’s will and one should endlessly prioritise one’s own needs beginning with salvation and all the profits -:)
    Some of your points have me thinking you would really enjoy Christianity and Creation, James P Mackey’s rather brilliant work (unless your have that anti-Catholic bile which typifies so many American Christians) Peace and Bliss be yours.

  • phillip mutchell

    Have you not read that they scourged him.

  • Roy Hobs

    True…………..but if the guillotine was the execution tool of the time; his death would have been less painful. The Atonement is not what was done to Him; it is what He did for us.
    Must Read — “He Offered Himself; or Priestly Sacrificial Atonement” by Malcolm Lavender.

  • phillip mutchell

    The Guillotine wasn’t invented until the 17th century or later, so that’s a non-starter. The simple fact is Israel was guilty of ‘the blood of all the prophets’ and so was due a kicking, Jesus took that kicking and any Jew who believed would get the hell out of Dodge when the ‘wrath of God’ came calling in AD 70 but following this the New Covenant was fully confirmed and shed of its Jewish particularism it became truly a covenant for all nations. To quote Tyndale ‘the new testament is those everlasting promise of God made us in Christ Jesus the Lord throughout all scripture.’ the promise is life in God or eternal death. The spiritual is for the spiritual the carnal for the carnal upon both God showers his blessings, but especially in Britain so God save our gracious Queen. Peace and Bliss.

  • Roy Hobs

    No….the “Jew” was guilty of “the blood of all the prophets”. “Jew” and “Israelite” are not always synonymous.


    If you believe that Christ was PUNISHED in replace of you………………….have at it man. Sin away. All the way to heaven is heaven baby. Enjoy yourself.
    Read — “He Offered Himself; or Priestly Sacrificial Atonement” by Malcolm Lavender

  • Mel Hughes

    Thank you Emma Higgs – from a very young age I was raised a Baptist in the UK (not, therefore, Southern Baptist) & from my early teens through my mid-twenties, was influenced by a wonderful pastor who coincidentally also was a professor at a Bible College in London. That pastor introduced our Bible Class to the notion of Yehōshu’a being a sacrificial Offering versus substitutionary atonement, introducing some aspects of Anabaptist theology into our studies. Unfortunately, the diaconate of our church – when they finally cottoned to the fact it wasn’t mainstream Baptist theology – were not impressed, demanded he change his tune, and voted him out of his pastoral duties when he wouldn’t. That was 5 decades ago &, since then, I am more convinced of the approach you espouse in your post. With reference to Yehōshu’a quoting: “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani (Aramaic)?” (ie: the 1st stanza of what we now know as Psalm 22), He was being the perfect rabbi He had prepared His talmidim to follow. Per the practice in His time, a rabbi would quote the 1st line of a particular Scripture and expect his talmidim to complete the Scripture. By quoting this Scripture stanza (now known as Psalm 22), Yehoshu’a is pointing to the many references in this Psalm to His death on the Cross but, most importantly, to the latter verses, where vv 22-31 are a hymn of victory. These words, therefore, were spoken entirely for our benefit, that we might know Yehōshu’a was delivered over through the will of YHWH (Matthew 20:28), willingly accepted this mission for our sake (Matthew 26:42), & had complete & unbreakable faith in the deliverance awaiting Him. These words were spoken so we might believe in Him & might emulate His faith & confidence in YHWH’s deliverance, even in the most terrible of circumstances. For if YHWH allowed His own Son to be delivered as a sacrificial lamb so we might live, how would He not then give us everything (Romans 8:32)?
    BTW: thank you Roy Hobbs, even though Phillip Mutchell appears to have misunderstood the thrust of your point. Thank you for pointing out how there is no record of a historical / Biblical sacrificial lamb being “punished, or beaten, or mistreated prior to its death..” That is a very important distinction identifying how the sacrificial component was emulating earlier sacrifices (ie: of Adonai) whereas the scouring, beating, crown of thorns, mistreatment, etc was the authorities who sought to have Him crucified (ie: of man). Blessings

  • Jonathon Durno

    I would urge readers to look into atonement theory of the orthodox and catholic churches.

    The intercession of the saints may not be correct, however these two churches have been around 1500 years longer than Protestant sects.

    As Christians we tend to demonize anyone from a different denomination, however anyone of us from any denomination who loves Christ more than anything else is part of His body, one body, whether it be partly catholic and partly orthodox and partly any of the other 23000 protestant denominations.

  • Jonathon Durno

    The process of sanctification and regeneration by the Holy Spirit is the grace of God channelled through faith, making us a people zealous of good works and bearing fruit as a testament to it.