Below is the Laymen’s Cup Response to douloicristou.com Salvation FAQs. After our discussion the guys wrote a FAQ on their view of Salvation. We felt the need to respond to it.
FAQ 1. What does it mean to be saved?
First, we believe you have missed the point of being saved. It is not about our final destination. The word saved, in Greek and English, means to be rescued. But rescued from what? Eph 2:3 says we were “by nature children of wrath.” We were dead in our sins (vs1), and were destined to receive the wrath of God. We were enemies with God (Rom 5:10) with no way to respond (Rom 3:10-12). Since we were in this state, which is death, we could not respond to God at all, and we, rightly deserved hell. Salvation is that “God, being rich in his mercy, because of his great love, with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace we have been saved.” (Eph 2:4-5) That is salvation. Matthew 1:21 says Jesus will save his people from their sins, which led them to suffer the wrath of God. In essence we were and are being saved from God himself, by God himself.
The “propitiation” mentioned in Romans 3, Hebrews 2, and 1 John 2 & 4 is about Jesus stopping the force of the wrath of God in an appeasing fashion. Romans 3 specifically talks about the law bringing knowledge of sin. Therefore, slamming a sinner up against the demands of the law and demonstrating how he/she falls short of it is necessary before teaching them about grace and faith. Furthermore, this fits with the tone of Hebrews 10:31, which says “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Jesus’ incarnation, sinless life, atoning death and resurrection is the only reason we now can draw near to God, because through him God has shown his mercy toward us.
FAQ 2. When is someone saved?
A sinner is saved when he/she is born again (made alive with Christ) by the spirit of God and washing of regeneration (Ezekiel 36, John 3, Ephesians 1&2, Romans 9, Titus 3:5). Since humans are by nature enemies with God, they do not and cannot be in a state of complete neutrality toward God or sin. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. The NT is riddled with this analogy. In John 3 and John 6, Jesus uses terms of total inability to describe sinners in this state. He says the Holy Spirit is like the wind and blows where it wishes in John 3, as if the residual effect of its wishes are uncontrollable and unpredictable. He even goes so far in John 6:44 and 6:65 to say “no one can come” unless they are drawn by the Father. The Greek term used for “drawn” there (helko) is used in other NT passages in John 21, Acts 16, Acts 21, and James 2 for the idea of dragging by force. Faith is a part of the effectual call of God for the person He saves, as is justification, sanctification, and glorification (Romans 8).
FAQ 3. What if someone believes and then sins?
We are pretty much in agreement on this FAQ. Romans 7 & 1 John 1:9 characterizes the life of a true believer, in that they constantly battle sin, struggle with temptation, and confess their sin, all in an effort to mortify their flesh for sake of the gospel. Because Christ through the Holy Spirit lives in them, they can’t continue in unrepentant sin any more than a fish can live out of water. Their life is now Christ, his word and the “things that accompany salvation”.
FAQ 4. Can a person lose or reject their salvation?
We believe you have overlooked the sealing of the Spirit here. On one hand, you affirned that God gives his spirit and protection to those who are being saved so they will hold fast to their confession until the end. Then on the other hand, you said one can abandon their salvation by their own volition. This is inconsistent. So, are you asserting that one can abandon the Holy Spirit by his human volition, as if dropping Him off on the side of the road? Was the Apostle Paul bearing false testimony when he said in 2 Corinthians 1:22 that God put his seal on us when he gave us his Holy Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee? When Romans 8 describes the unbreakable chain of redemption, it’s clear that all those who are called are also justified and glorified. Therefore the call there cannot be a universal gospel call. Rather, it’s an effectual call. We really do believe nothing can separate us from the love of God, including our own human wills. Additionally, you speak of commands to persevere. Those commands are given to the elect (wheat amongst tares). The elect are the only ones who heed those commands and warnings, since they are the sheep who hear the master’s voice (John 10:27) and they are the doers of the word (Romans 2:13 & James 1:22). This is very clear. Jesus was describing the saved in those passages, not prescribing how to be saved. A true believer cannot lose his/her salvation, because Christ is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and Christ always finishes what He starts (Phillipians 1:6). We also believe that once a person has been made alive in Christ, they cannot walk away from their faith. They endure to the end (Matthew 10 & 24, Mark 13). Again, description, not prescription.
Hebrews 6 is talking about a group of church people, and like any church, some in that group are not saved.
FAQ 5. What about 1 John 2:19?
We view this in the same light as we do
Hebrews 6 and John 15. The church body has wheat and tares.
FAQ 6. Not sure we understand the premise of this FAQ and what you are going for here
FAQs 7, 14, 18.
Does douloicristou display Arminian tendencies?
Arminianism is certainly not new, but has become more popular in the Western Hemisphere, due to the Americanization of the West that has occurred over time. We spoke briefly about the idea of fairness before, in which our mortal ideal of what ought to be done is imposed on God, as if humans have some right to put His character on trial or something. We are not saying you are doing that, but that sort of attitude is a pliable mold which Arminian thought settles nicely into. You have spoken several times about the high or low view of God. In your opinion, your view is the higher view of God. We believe we must allow God, and his word to shape our view of him. So the highest view of God, is the God of the Bible, which is revealed through the authors. So therefore, the highest view of God is the God revealed through authorial intent. It is clear that we were born with a sin nature, and God through his sovereignty, made us alive in Him. One can easily perceive the explicit evidence of God’s sovereignty in salvation in Acts 13:48, John 6:44 & 65, Luke 24:31 & 45, Acts 16:14,
Philippians 1:29, Philippians 2:13, 2 Timothy 2:25, Ezekiel 36:25-27, John 3:1-10, and other places sprinkled throughout both OT and NT.
FAQs 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15.
Are the Laymen Jesus freaks?
Well, you got us!!!! There are so many passages we could use as particular defenses concerning the incarnation, deity, atonement, propitiation, and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ in this section it would be exhausting. So, we will just leave you with a few we believe to be vital in light of marrying the idea of faith presented in both the OT and NT.
First, Luke 24:27 tells of Jesus’ encounter with two men on the road to Emmaus saying, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
Secondly, in Hebrews 11, after going through the Hall of Faith of OT saints, it says this in verses 39-40:
“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.”
Lastly, the geneology account in Matthew 1 has a great many of those same individuals listed in
Hebrews 11. This means that those were people set apart, sovereignly chosen by God to have purposeful faith in Him, in order to carry out his ultimate purpose for His glory in Jesus Christ. Everything in the OT was shadows or types of Christ. Therefore, we obviously strongly contend that saving faith in the true God has to include the correct content (notitia) which includes specific knowledge of Jesus Christ, his person, life, death, and resurrection, and all that means in his accomplished work as savior and Lord. It also includes mental assent (assensus) to that content. It further includes obedient trust (fiducia) in the entirety of the content, in effect, trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
FAQs 16, 17, 19.
Are douloicristou lone wolves?
Let’s start with an example. You used a verse like Romans 4:24 to say we are saved by faith. Although it is true we are saved by a specific faith, we believe you have taken that verse out of context and conformed it to your own thinking instead of allowing the Bible to shape your thinking. Paul was using the faith of Abraham here. The reader would have understood this. But why did Abraham have faith? Did God choose Abraham, or did Abraham on his free accord choose God. Of course God chose Abraham. Did Abraham go up to the mountain to sacrifice Isaac on his own? No, God told him to do it. Then God showed that he will provide a sacrifice not only for Isaac, but for all of his offspring. You must apply the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). We should find out what the author meant, not what it means to us.
We passionately affirm the doctrine of the perpescuity (clarity) of scripture. However, that doctrine does not rule out interpretation, explanation, and exposition of the bible by qualified teachers.
1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 speak of the Lord appointing teachers to equip the saints. James 3:1 says not many should become teachers because they will be judged with greater strictness. We are not saying you guys are not teachers. We are simply saying that God has appointed a community of believers in the local church body and established teachers and leaders to hold the body accountable on matters of doctrine and Christian living. We also realize that the opposite is true, that we are all to be Bereans like in Acts 17, and hold our leaders accountable to essential doctrinal matters as well by knowing the scriptures. But it is wise to seek godly counsel on weighty matters such as primary doctrine. We would not classify Calvinism vs Arminianism as an essential doctrinal issue, but establishing or affirming content for saving faith has eternal significance.
Lastly, concerning the seminary stuff, it is not surprising that you feel compelled to downplay seminarian credentials for your argument to carry the proper weight. However, when studying hermeneutics, we are instructed to interpret a passage through different tools, like context, history and language. There also comes the final step of reading commentaries and dictionaries to check your work. Simply and humbly put, if you are the first person in ~ 2000 years to formulate a specific theology stemming from your private or
semi-private study/interpretation of scripture, it is likely you are mistaken. You have said that the Holy Spirit has guided you in your interpretation, but it’s hard to believe that the Holy Spirit tarried for ~ 2000 years and gave you a true soteriology which He neglected to give anyone else. “Me and the Holy Spirit” is not a sufficient response for establishing ground-breaking doctrine. To be honest, Mormons sort of hold that same view, and say they know truth when they get a “burning in the bosom.” By no means are we relating you equally to Mormons, but we think that kind of hermeneutical method can be misleading if not vetted. Jeremiah 17:9 says our hearts are deceitful above all things, and left to ourselves without communal accountability, we run the risk of self-deception. We recognize we are laymen too, but it might be helpful to pick up a book on hermeneutics, which has helped us with some perceived biblical obscurities. Plummer and Hendricks are some good ones on the subject. Perhaps pick up a book on the original languages, if you haven’t already. Mounce and Black are the standards in Greek. Patrick can tell you more about Hebrew.
We love chopping it up with you guys, and we admire your passion for the scriptures. That’s why we began the production of the podcast in the first place- to give us a forum in which to work out these details in a way that others who are also spiritually hungry can share with us in rightly dividing the word of truth.