Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What Truly Befuddles Me

It is 2008. In America, we have churches within the SBC that affirm homosexuality (Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, TX). We have a high divorce rate in our churches. Regenerate church membership, if we do not act and act soon, will be completely lost to us. Church discipline is a distant apparition of a forgotten day. The attire of many Christians differs not significantly from that of streetwalkers. Our pews are stacked with people enslaved to alcohol and prescription drugs. Biblical literacy is at an all-time low in Baptist history.

But some people seriously argue that the major problem we face in our day is legalism?

Wake up.

72 comments:

Greg Welty said...

It's all very simple, Bart:

> In America, we have churches within the
> SBC that affirm homosexuality (Broadway
> Baptist Church, Fort Worth, TX).

Yes, but they only have to do that because their homosexual members were driven out of their prior churches by legalists.

> We have a high divorce rate in our
> churches.

Again, that is because legalism breaks up marriages.

> Regenerate church membership, if we do
> not act and act soon, will be completely
> lost to us. Church discipline is a
> distant apparition of a forgotten day.

We had to get rid of regenerate church membership and church discipline, because they are legalistic.

> The attire of many Christians differs
> not significantly from that of
> streetwalkers.

But they only dress that way because they are rebelling against their legalistic upbringing.

> Our pews are stacked with people enslaved
> to alcohol and prescription drugs.

They are consoling themselves because of widespread legalism in the churches. Give them a break!

> Biblical literacy is at an all-time
> low in Baptist history.

It's pretty legalistic to set some sort of standard for 'biblical literacy,' don't you think?

> But some people seriously argue that the
> major problem we face in our day is
> *legalism*?

Wake up, Bart. All the problems you name are due to legalism, as I have undoubtedly proven above.

Luke said...

Sometimes, Bart, you make too much sense.

R. L. Vaughn said...

More often than not, "legalism" is a modern-day bugaboo to represent what I think you believe too strongly and will not compromise.

But what you believe too strongly is not nearly the threat that I think it is.

Anonymous said...

Befuddled,

Your line of argument reminds me of what I heard back in early 80’s. With all these (fill in the sin) problems you seriously believe that the major problem we face in our day is liberalism? Legalism like liberalism is a perversion of the gospel. Neither can save nor change a life. Both erode the confidence of the Scriptures and the unity of the SBC fellowship. Indeed, legalism is well on its way. Perverting the gospel in any form is a major serous problem.

Rick Garner

R. L. Vaughn said...

Rick, how would you define the legalism of which you write -- legalism that is a perversion of the gospel?

And Bart, how would you define the legalism of which you write?

Since this discussion takes place in the light of SBC happenings, I assume the discussion falls somewhat under the shadow of things like the SWBTS/Klouda affair, IMB regulations concerning baptism & PPL, the BF&M as minimal/maximal discussion. Would I be correct?

If so, for example, does someone believing a woman should not teach theology in a seminary (and acting on it) pervert the gospel? Does holding or not holding private prayer language pervert the gospel? Does dividing over PPL pervert the gospel?

You all may think of many other and better examples. Or I may be off base altogether. Thanks.

Tim Guthrie said...

Bart,
You are indeed connecting dots that need to be connected concerning use of terms and applications. Great post - even if it is short. Better short and legalistsic than long and compromissing! :)

TG

Chris Johnson said...

Ouch Bart,

I hope you are saying preach the law and the gospel! The legalism I am aware of says to do these things and you will be saved or at least look like it.

Maybe better said as Love thy Law, but hate Legalism…

Romans 5:20-21 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, (21) so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I think scripture is abundantly clear that legalism has no (zero) place in the kingdom of God.

Blessings,
Chris

Scott Gordon said...

Thanks Bart!

Chris,

I think what Bart is getting at here is that any call to a biblical standard is often quickly labeled as 'legalism' when a call back to truth of Scripture is a turn in the tide against liberal compromise. Such reactions as we have seen above would've been the same if they had lived in the days of Nehemiah, Joel, Amos...any plumb line - even when it's God's plumb line - will be labeled as legalism. Certainly we must never replace God's word with man's arbitrary standards, hence the stereotypical legalism all of us would eschew. Nevertheless, we must admit to an absolute standard of righteousness and holiness existing in the scriptures...and then strive to live by it.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Scott,

Yes, but the absolute standard of righteousness and holiness existing in the scriptures is the word made flesh,…Christ alone. We live by the gospel, with the imputed righteousness of Christ alone. Legalism, …even the works that we do are not to be compared to the death and life of Christ. There is not one scent of legalism near that hope of glory!

Isaiah 64:1-8 Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence-- (2) As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil-- To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! (3) When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. (4) For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. (5) You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? (6) For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (7) There is no one who calls on Your name, Who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. (8) But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Only His righteousness delivers. The power of His gospel actually overpowers any form of legalism. It is His gospel that forms gratitude to serve.

Blessing,
Chris

Todd Pruitt said...

Bart,

I get your post and agree that libertines will often dismiss plain biblical holiness as "legalism." I also share your grief over the many things that our denomination seems to be turning a blind eye.

However, it is my experience and I believe Scripture confirms that legalism is deadly to biblical faith. As a pastor I have dealt with the spiritual and emotional fallout in many individuals and families because of legalism. I have seen first hand the many crises of faith that arise because of legalism.

So, while I share your concerns and identify with what Dr. Welty wrote I believe legalism does belong on "the list" of things we must resist.

Todd Pruitt said...

One more thought...

The true wickedness of legalism is that it distorts the Gospel. Thanks to Chris for reminding us of what is at stake. I find it instructive that Paul's angriest letter seems to be to the Galatians and not the Corinthians.

I believe Luther once said that if you are never accused of anti-nomianism then you probably aren't preaching the Gospel.

Dave Miller said...

I wonder if this isn't a kind of false dichotomy.

The presence of gross sin in the lives of church people does not mean that legalism is not a huge problem.

Both legalism and loose living are destructive.

Its like trying to decide between being shot and being blown up.

Todd Pruitt said...

Dave,

You are spot-on.

Chris Johnson said...

Dave and Todd,

You both are absolutely right…. Liberalism and Legalism are Siamese twins separated at birth. They are conceived from the same evil.

I think I see the point of brother Bart’s post, but would use another analogy.

Blessings,
Chris

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Greg,

I like how you have rightly listed out how legalism is the sneaky foe in things gone bad. The only one that kinda stood out as out of place in your list is "church discipline".

Church discipline is not legalistic as the Lord has commanded (Matthew 18). It has become legalistic because I dare say that most if not all Baptist churches have no clue as to how to love people that way. Bart can be defended on that point alone, but it would need to be qualified with preparing and teaching the church to understand this wonderful command of our Lord.

Blessings,
Chris

Chris Johnson said...

oops...wrong word.

meant to say... "legalism” is the sneaky accomplice."...not "foe"

sorry,
cj

Bart Barber said...

Dear friends,

I apologize for my absence yesterday. I think a couple of general points might answer everyone.

1. If I were to opine that the practice of burning one's own children to Moloch were not a problem today, one would be in error to construe my sentiments as either an endorsement of such an action or a failure to take seriously its consequences. Rather, I would merely be observing that the burning of children to Moloch is not a part of the zeitgeist of North America in this century. Likewise, I am saying that neither is legalism the major problem that the American church faces today.

2. Doctrinaire legalism ("one is saved by works") is not a prevalent problem among Southern Baptists today. Given the observations I have offered, any true legalist in the Southern Baptist Convention would quickly scrawl Ichabod over the door in Nashville and abandon Southern Baptists as a people bound for perdition.

3. The grave danger we face in Southern Baptist life is that we might sin all the more that grace might abound. For all of the consternation afoot about alleged hyper-Calvinism in the SBC, the real theological danger we face arises out of the one Dortian plank that virtually all Southern Baptists embrace—rightly convinced of perseverance we are wrongly wooed toward Antinomianism. For some it is a philosophical Antinomianism; for others it is a hedonistic Antinomianism. For all who embrace it in any form it is grave error and soul-sickness.

So, in conclusion and summarization, I am merely observing that the spirit of our age inclines us toward Antinomianism, not legalism. Whatever threat legalism poses for the SBC, it is nowhere near the top of the list.

Scott Gordon said...

Bart,

Excellent elucidation.

Sola Gratia!

R. L. Vaughn said...

Bart, do you think our inclination toward Antinomianism might be one reason we see legalism hiding behind every bush?

volfan007 said...

bart,

what scott said.

david

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Bart,

Believe me,….I think it is pragmatic what you are saying, but the remedy is not to pay attention to “all that is legal”…. The solution is to gain laser focus to “all that is Gospel”.

I can almost guarantee you….In fact I am more right than wrong to say this, because I have sat in Baptist churches all my life. Preachers will preach the law, commands, things to do… for 45 of the 50 minutes of his prepared sermon and then sneak the Gospel in the last paragraph or possibly leave it out all together. It happens everywhere and it is indicative of the resulting lives of the congregation. Unfortunately, there is no power in the 45 minutes.

What the church needs is the Gospel, not a tag line at the end of a sermon …..or an alter call to make someone feel guilty for not responding to the first 45 minutes.

The solution is expositing scripture to see the Gospel of God! That changes hearts, minds, actions as the church matures with the power of God.

Blessings,
Chris

Wayne Smith said...

Bart,

2. Doctrinaire legalism ("one is saved by works") is not a prevalent problem among Southern Baptists today. Given the observations I have offered, any true legalist in the Southern Baptist Convention would quickly scrawl Ichabod over the door in Nashville and abandon Southern Baptists as a people bound for perdition.

Bart
I disagree with your statement above!!!
This is the biggest problem with the SBC Churches. The Baptist Churches have People Walking the aisles more than any of Church (False Confessions) of a Unregenerate Heart, Feels Good.



In His Name
Wayne

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Bart,

BTW,…I am not implying that you are propping up “legalism” at all. I believe there is some sort of delusion (possibly just poor training) among preachers to think that if they preach louder and harder about the things that people ought to do….that somehow they will finally change and act better. That is just simply opposite of what scripture teaches.

Recognizing sin is still the work of the Holy Spirit by the preaching of the gospel of God.

Blessings,
Chris

Wayne Smith said...

Chris,

I say AMEN AMEN AMEN..

One only needs to bisit more Baptist Churches than thier Own Church.

In His Name
Wayne

Wayne Smith said...

That s/b VISIT not bisit.

In His Name
Wayne

Bart Barber said...

1. I'm saying that legalism is not "the major problem" in the SBC.

2. Wayne is also saying that legalism is not the major problem in the SBC...false professions of faith are, according to Wayne the major problem in the SBC. I have not opined as to what IS the major problem in the SBC, but only as to what it IS NOT.

3. Chris is, if I understand him correctly, asserting that legalism is indeed the major problem in the SBC, defining legalism as gospel-less preaching. I would humbly suggest that "law, commands, things to do" are, if I read the Bible correctly, both the appropriate tutor to lead people to the gospel and an important standard to help the regenerate to understand what is a lifestyle appropriate to their gospel calling. The mark of legalistic preaching is not THAT a preacher exegetically treats "law, commands, things to do," but HOW a preacher exegetically does so—depending upon the power of the gospel for transformation on the one hand or publishing some foolish, groundless expectation that one could live in godliness apart from the gospel on the other hand.

Bart Barber said...

R. L.,

Yes, that is precisely what I think.

Steve Young said...

Bart,
Again, you have posted a solid work. I went to a seminary that many believe is legalistic. Did I find them to be so? No. Did they have high standards? Yes. Were there rules? Yes. My Old Testament professor was head of the "Form and Style Committee" for proper writing style. He was strict. But was the school "legalistic." No. I was glad that when our classes discussed and argued the doctrines of the faith that I knew my professor held to inerrancy.
There are many today who use "law" as the worst of labels. I believe it is akin to those who say "The Bible says not to judge!" Does it really say were are not to make a judgement, or does it say were are not to be "judgemental." Many would say that to have doctrinal standards is wrong, it is "legalistic."
Of course, some can be out of balance. Outward adherence to law does not make one inwardly right. But the answer is not to forget the law. As a matter of Scripture, Paul anticipates this when he wrote in Romans 3:31 "Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law."

Todd Pruitt said...

The legalism prevalent in SBC churches is one that embraces what Michael Horton calls "law with a smile." It is not God's terrifying law that drives the sinner to repent and makes the Gospel the sweet news of salvation. It is a legalism that embraces a softer law, a law of our own making. We see this is the extrabiblical commandments that many of us were raised to follow. Little was said about mercy and compassion (the "weightier matters") but we sure better not be caught dancing.

My experience is that doctrinaire legalism is very common in SBC churches. However, it is a legalism that prefers man-made traditions over God's moral law.

If you don't drink or dance or smoke then you're pretty good. The man who watches pornography on the internet is shocked to find out that a deacon has a bottle of wine at home.

Antinomianism and legalism are two sides of the same coin insofar as they both diminish the Gospel. One denies the sufficiency of the Gospel to save the sinner, the other its efficacy to change the sinner.

Bart Barber said...

Todd,

So, you're saying that it is "pretty common" in Southern Baptist churches to believe that abstinence from drinking or dancing is what accomplishes salvation for someone? Or does it just bother you so much that someone would hold the opinion that those things are wrong that you would disparage them with the term "legalism"?

And if I hold the opinion that driving an SUV is wrong because it contributes to global warming, would that make me a legalist?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bart: Who were the Judaizers and the Pharisees? What did they teach? What was Paul and Christ's response to this teaching?

No one that I know of doesn't believe homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is clear on this, it's what the Bible isn't clear about that is labeled sin that I have a problem with. Not allowing the Holy Spirit to change people in His time and in His way is another problem I have. It's labeling a person non-Christian or unChristlike or ungodly, that believes in moderation concerning alcohol. Believing Baptists to be the one true church would fall in that category as well I believe, the Roman Catholics believing the same thing.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Bart,

I do believe that “legalism” is “a” real problem in the SBC….simply because there are many Pastors that are not sufficiently trained to know “HOW” to do exactly what you have proposed (You have the opportunity to change that trend). I am not talking about a Pastor believing that “legalistic works” save to any extent. Yet the same Pastor quickly moves and inordinately “depends” on the law (or their interpretive value of such) for transformation and maturing of the Saints and gets sucked into the vortex of lists, things to do, etc. That is a mistake. That is not the work of the church. The same power that regenerates is the same power that matures.

The law must not be neglected at all, and the gospel is the only solution to right living.

The lack of Gospel preaching is probably the main problem in the SBC. The SBC is not alone.

Blessings,
Chris

Steve Young said...

Bart,
I find that I agree with Debbie in her last post. The problem is that although I was raised in very conservative SBC churches, I never saw the type of "legalism" she is referring to, nor do i see it rampantly practiced today. Yes there are legalists who happen to be Baptists. I attended Mid-America with a fellow who was labeled by his pastor because he was attending a liberal seminary. He was also condemned because he sometimes went and heard a liberal preacher on Sunday night.
I always thought it funny that Mid-America and Adrian Rogers were considered liberal!! But, my friend's church was not SBC.

Bart Barber said...

Debbie,

Excellent questions, all of them:

Who were the Judaizers? People who taught that works of the law were NECESSARY FOR SALVATION.

Who were the Pharisees? LOST PEOPLE who opposed Jesus's teachings.

What was Paul's reaction to them? Paul's reaction to the Pharisees, interestingly enough, was to claim proudly that he was one (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Philippians 3:5). Other than that, I cannot find another place where Paul employed the word "Pharisee."

Paul's reaction to the Judaizers was to condemn them for suggesting that any work was necessary for salvation. Furthermore, Paul extensively utilized the law both as the tutor to lead people to the gospel and the standard of a lifestyle worthy of the Christian's gospel calling.

Jesus' reaction to the Pharisees was to oppose their genuine legalism. This was a culture where women caught in adultery were dragged into the street to be stoned. Ours is a culture where women caught in adultery get interviewed on the nightly news and launch their own Internet-based business. Debbie, do you honestly not see the difference?

You said, "No one that I know of doesn't believe homosexuality is a sin." I had to go back and read that again to make certain that you said it. Do you live in a cave, Debbie? Do you read SBC Outpost? Didn't they just post something about Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth? I know that they couldn't find it within themselves to be critical at all of Broadway, but they DID mention it. So, not only do you know of teeming masses of people who don't believe that homosexuality is a sin, living all around you, on TV every night, running for office, etc., but you even know of churches in the SBC who reveal your comment to be rhetoric without substance.

So—and I already said this, if you would go back and read the comments—I'm not saying that there is no such thing as legalism, nor am I saying that legalism is OK. I'm saying that legalism is far from being the major problem facing these churches in this culture at this time. And the evidence backs me up.

Bart Barber said...

Chris,

Let's do it together: Me, you, and a large host of others.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Bart,

Unfortunately, “legalism” will always be a propensity for any Christian. Look at the Apostle Peter, and his open hand of fellowship from the Apostle Paul…

Galatians 1:6-10 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (7) which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (9) As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (10) For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Peter was not so eager to leave his law, and die to self. He was willing to embrace a few things and be viewed as included; even “knowing” the tradition would not save him. Paul is speaking to Peter very directly. Both are Saints…..Peter was simply doing what happens in our churches today. He was appeasing himself with all those that agreed they must keep at least a few of these certain traditions alive. Paul gave him an astounding rebuke and wake up call to his true calling ……to be a bond-servant of Christ alone and die to those things.

Blessings,
Chris

Greg Welty said...

Chris,

My comment above was not intended to lead anyone to think that "legalism is the sneaky foe in things gone bad". My comment was satire through and through.

I don't believe that church discipline is legalistic. Every time I have been involved in a church discipline situation as a pastor, it was quite painful and draining. The only thing that kept me going was the belief that it was the command of our Savior in Mt 18. Thankfully, however, I can report that in the majority of cases the Lord used the process of discipline to restore the wayward sinner to himself. That is a great encouragement to me.

The thing with satire is that if you have to label it as 'satire,' then it sort of ruins the whole thing. You now leave me greatly perplexed :-)

Chris Johnson said...

Greg,

Thanks for the clarification…. I also corrected my post to say “legalism” is a sneaky accomplice”.

I have experienced Matthew 18 from both standpoints of exhaustion and jubilation. I believe the command is explaining the heavenly unity that the church on earth can know; and I have seen that occur over and over,….and that is a real blessing. I hope I don’t leave you perplexed. (sorry)

Bart’s really got me going though… :)

Because..“Legalism” of any form militates against Christ. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ that brings and sustains freedom, not antinomianism.

Romans 8:2-8 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (3) For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (5) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (6) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, (7) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, (8) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


A Pastor that depends on the law for maturing his flock is simply delusional and he is not giving life to his hearers. When the law is proclaimed, the Gospel must not be seen as a tag or addition to empower the law, ….that’s not how it works. The law “requires” that the Gospel “rescue” those that are unable to please God. So a message without the remedy (Gospel) is a death nail to the soul.

Galatians 2:17-20 "But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be! (18) "For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. (19) "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. (20) "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

I’m really just having fun. I like the Gospel of God.
Blessings,
Chris

Bart Barber said...

Chris,

I'm glad that you're having fun. So am I. I, too, love the gospel. I, too, acknowledge the law as the tutor that leads us to the gospel.

But there's another function for the law. Here it is. That which leaves me a fornicator, idolater, adulterer, effeminate, homosexual, thief, covetous, drunkard, reviler, or swindler is not the gospel.

We can recognize the law by the fact that it cannot accomplish the gospel. We can recognize the gospel by the fact that it can and does accomplish the law.

Bart Barber said...

I should clarify...can and does accomplish the moral law in the Christian and the ceremonial law in Christ.

Chris Johnson said...

Bart,

Now with that...I concur, .... and would add that a healthy dose in understanding the mover in "sanctification" will help define the actual result.

Blessings,
Chris

Tim Guthrie said...

Hey you two,
Too much fun going on here. :)

Actually, this has been a great discussion to follow.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bart: I should have clarified, it is you after all :) and said no Southern Baptist that I know. That would include our church. I did not see the Outpost condoning homosexuality. I saw them asking a hard, legitimate question. Have compassion for them? Yes. We had a woman in our church who after salvation, left the Lesbian lifestyle she was in and formed a ministry to help families who had someone in their family who was gay, of which I do, and for those who wanted to leave that lifestyle. She was phenomenal. She passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. I knew her both before(I worked with her) and after. The change was real. The change was dramatic.

Doesn't it all boil down to Christ. I thank you for answering my questions, legalism adds to salvation even after preaching faith in Christ Bart. That is what the Judaizers and the Pharisees were preaching. Paul used to be one, but after conversion was not any longer. That was his testimony. He killed Christians under this guise. They were however religious and adding to the law to fit their desires and convictions. Legalism doesn't always say Do this, this and this and you will be saved. It also can say do this, this and this to maintain your salvation putting it under the guise of "fruit."

I've made a post within your post, and I am sorry. Lots of words to get my thoughts out today. :)

Wayne Smith said...

Tim,
I will second your comment.

Dr.Welty had great training as well as Chris Johnson. Bart Barber is doing Okay also.

God has Blessed all 3 of them. I wish all our Churches could be so Blessed to have Pastors that Preach Jesus Christ Crucified.

In His Name
Wayne

Todd Pruitt said...

Bart,

I am not not intending to disparage anyone. What I object to is condemning what the Bible does not condemn. I actually think that's a big deal. Are the Scriptures truly sufficient for life and godliness? There is no doubt that creating new laws and prohibitions is easier and "safer" than learning how to live like a free man in Christ.

volfan007 said...

todd,

telling people that they cant play cards because someone might think that you're gambling is being legalistic. telling people(men) that they have to have thier hair cut above thier ears is being legalistic. telling people that they cant drink coke out of cans because people might think that they're drinking beer is being legalistic. and, all of those things i've just mentioned might have been heard in a w. tn baptist church about 25 to 30 years ago.

but, telling people that are having sex outside of marriage that they are shacking up...living in sexual sin...is not being legalistic. telling people that are committing sodomy that they're living in sin...that being gay is not okay...is not being legalistic. it's just telling the truth. the truth spelled out in the bible.

yet, we find people out there who will call you legalistic if you cry out that sin is sin. i believe that this is what bartimus barbar of seville is trying to say.

am i correct, o kin to gomer pyle professor and pastor in the land of texas?

david

Bart Barber said...

Yes, folks. Threads like this one keep me blogging

Todd Pruitt said...

Volfan,

I couldn't agree more. What the Scriptures prohibit we must prohibit. What the Scriptures promote we must promote.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Bart,

In all seriousness, we tend to get our “actual sanctification” confused with our own “estimation of sanctification”, because we are sinners. Pastors tend to try and set an imaginary bar at the “estimated sanctification” instead of depending upon God’s gospel to bring about the “actual” rendered by law of the Spirit in Christ. This is why the preaching of the “Gospel” is something that Christians need to be immersed in every day of the week, lest we soon forget….and we really do forget. Just look at how people post on blogs these days. That was Paul’s point to Peter. God causes us to grow in “actual sanctification”, not some Pastor’s expectation that we masquerade as the law of God. When the law is preached it is good and it remains as only being fulfilled by Christ throughout eternity, where he is ever interceding.

Joshua 22:5 "Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul."

Romans 8:28-32 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (30) and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

When I preach through Romans,….you better believe I won’t skip chapter 1: 18-32, that’s the “bad news”, but Oh My, there is the gospel that causes and sustains our sanctification and that is the “good news” and that is what Christians (even Pastors) need to hear every day! If we as Pastor’s must stack our sermon content on the scales, make sure that the scales tip toward the gospel, the more weight of the gospel the more you will see the hearts of your flock are tuned to serving Christ out of a heart of gratitude, not fearful judgment.

We are blessed to have Bart and Greg teaching at our seminaries. I'm too mean :)

Blessings,
Chris

selahV said...

Bart: "The grave danger we face in Southern Baptist life is that we might sin all the more that grace might abound."

It seems to me that this is one of the gravest dangers facing us today in every aspect of the "be tolerant" philosophy. And as soon as we voice our understanding of God's Word to the contrary of the tolerance of sin, we are immediately labeled as legalists or fundys.

When I received Christ as my Savior, His Spirit made it abundantly clear what was sin and what was not. His Word did not change over the years. People did. Views did. Interpretations did. Culture did. As these things changed, the Gospel in my Lord never changed. Sin still sin, but I am saved from it and washed clean of it. Yet Jesus calls us to a higher righteousness in our words and deeds to the glory of the Father.

I've never understood how we are to discipline church members today. I really can't wrap my mind around it when nothing is admonishable any longer. selahV

Debbie Kaufman said...

SelahV: Read the rest of the chapter. I am not saying don't preach against sin, but for example the Joshua Convergence went a little beyond the sin that is in scripture. Also remember that a homosexual is not born again and preaching to him/her that it is sin is not really going to matter, they could change and still go to hell. We need to preach sin, but we need to preach the rest of the gospel, which is what Christ did for us. He did what we could not do and cannot do and that was fulfill the law. We can't take credit for any good we do as it is God's working in us. Not any good in us even after salvation.(Romans, Galatians, Ephesians).

Todd Pruitt said...

I am wondering if we are manufacturing a disagreement where one does not actually exist.

I think it is a matter of emphasis depending on our unique background. I am particularly sensative to man made regulations because I was drenched in that.

I agree that legalism is not the most pressing issue among Southern Baptists. Certainly the issues raised by Bart and Greg are legion. I would also say that biblical illiteracy is among our greatest problems. The ascendency of "moralistic therapeutic deism" in our pulpits rather than faithful exposition is what troubles me the most.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Todd,

I think you are somewhat right about the manufacturing business. I do agree that we are all leaning in the same direction.

I do believe that “legalism” (works make me a better Christian) thinking is “a” problem in many churches these days, but I would agree that biblical literacy is at an all time low which creates a myriad of problems in the churches as well.

And no doubt, it is easier to expound upon a “self-help” topic during the sermon time to boost moral I.Q., than to rightly divide and exposit the Word of God.

Good thoughts,
Blessings,
Chris

Debbie Kaufman said...

Chris: Exactly.

Todd Pruitt said...

Chris,

Word!

Greg Welty said...

Chris,

Thanks for your feedback. What's interesting is your citation of Ro 8:

Romans 8:2-8 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (3) For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (5) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (6) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, (7) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, (8) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

One thing that strikes me about this passage is how balanced it is, when it comes to expounding the significance of the law. On the one hand, the law is completely impotent to set us free from sin and death. Indeed, our own law-keeping, no matter how comprehensive and painstaking, can never defeat the power of sin, or remove the guilt of sin.

On the other hand, Paul tells us something extraordinary about God's purpose in sending his Son to die for us. It was so that we might be law-keepers. Astonishing (at least to me), but true. God sent "His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin." In doing so, "He condemned sin in the flesh." And why did God do this? "So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us." This is a 'hina' clause in the Greek, a purpose clause. God sent his Son *so that* the Law's requirement might be fulfilled in us. And lest we think that Paul has something forensic in view here, an imputed righteousness of some sort, he immediately clarifies how the requirement of the law gets fulfilled in us: we are those "who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." The righteousness Paul is speaking of pertains to how we *walk*, how we live our daily lives.

God sent his Son so that we would be law-keepers in our daily life.

This is staggering to me. This one inspired paragraph displays a balance pertaining to matters of law and gospel, a balance so often missing in today's pulpits.

Paul does not say that the fulfillment of the law in us is the *only* purpose for which God sent his Son. But it is *a* purpose, and a purpose important enough for him to mention.

Paul does not deny that we have a perfect, imputed, forensic righteousness from Christ. In fact, he both affirms this and glories in it, in other texts of Scripture. But that is not what is in view here.

God is committed to us being a people in which "the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us," not just forensically, but subjectively; not just according to an accounting ledger, but as we "walk... according to the Spirit." In fact, God is *so* committed to this that he "sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin." God does not just want us to get to heaven. He wants us to be law-keepers as well, those who only keep the law *because* they are empowered by the Spirit. And he wants this so much that he *did* something about it. He sent his Son.

This one text frees us from both legalism and antinomianism. It frees us from relying upon the impotence of law-keeping as a means of saving us from sin's guilt and power. (In this, anti-legalists can rejoice.) But it also leads us to recognize that God's redemptive purpose for us *includes* our being Spirit-led law-keepers, not law-haters. (In this, anti-antinomians can rejoice.)

To sum up: why is it that "the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God"? Because such a fleshly mind "does not subject itself to the law of God." Not so for the mind set on the Spirit. It subjects itself to the law of God.

Amazing, is it not?

Todd Pruitt said...

Great stuff Greg!

I wish I had been taught that growing up. It's not that I did not hear about grace and obedience but I was never taught properly about the Christians' relationship with the law.

selahV said...

Dr. Welty, this is exactly how I understand the Gospel. Jesus told us if we love Him we will keep His commandments. Does it stand to reason that if we do not keep His commandments, then we do not love Him? When I first was saved, I had someone come to me who could not give up some very bad habits. They asked me how I was able to do it. I told them I loved Jesus more than I loved those things.

For the record, one of the things I think most detrimental to the SBC is folks who have a Savior but not a Lord. The Savior saves, the Lord commands and we who have made Him Lord, obey. selahV

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Greg,

Good stuff!

I would also add a few tidbits which has helped me in understanding this important segment of God’s word given through Paul to the Romans (chapter 8). We certainly can’t ignore the enormous change brought by the Holy Spirit commenced and continued on through the propitiatory work of Christ (birth, life, death, resurrection) on our behalf for now and eternity.

One thing to keep in mind though,…Paul in this section never uses an imperative, only indicatives. He is indicating a change and why the change has occurred. In fact, it is really not until chapter 12 that Paul engages in imperative type thought and actions for those listeners and us as well. Paul is simply explaining the justification (the declaration and work) that has been made known to those that are in Christ and its benefits. He is saying, ok men and women, let me have you soak this in and really get a real understanding of how you have been justified. “Walking” is an extremely important and evident reality in every believer’s life, and that is Paul’s point no doubt. But he is still making sure they realize the beauty and significance of the peace.

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

This section is pointing to Christ and the justification that has brought freedom. Sometimes we get excited (as no doubt we are in Christ and are excited) and begin to make this more about us than about Christ.

Yet here, he is emphatically reminding the hearers of this letter that Christ alone, his work alone, his death alone, his life alone is the only way that anyone in Christ does “walk”. The Apostle, although certainly not denying that we “walk”, is not imperative in his discussion just yet. He is still in the midst of explaining what the Roman Jewish contingent had missed in the first place, even after being trusted with the oracles of God (Romans 3 & 4).

He is still reminding them that it is the Spirit praying in those who are justified, because they are really unable to pray perfectly as the Spirit does when He intercedes for the saints.

Romans 8:16-21 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, (17) and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (18) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (19) For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (20) For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope (21) that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Throughout these first sections Paul pours on the truth over and over. It is Christ that justifies, sanctifies, glorifies….. He is our life and is the only obedience worthy of acceptance to the Father. For those who are justified,….the separation is now impossible as Paul explains this great justification and “who” has overwhelming conquered sin to provide the peace.

Rom 8:35-37 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." (37) But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Although “walking” is a necessary product of our justification, Paul at this point is not ready to implore us, and for good reason… he is simply saying please get this right… don’t get confused here,…this is not about you,…this is about Christ,… understand how, and why, and the real freedom that He has made in you.

Blessings,
Chris

selahV said...

Good morning Chris. Please pardon my interruption between you and Dr. Welty. I am thoroughly enjoying your conversation.

You stated that Paul is saying "this is not about you, this [walking]is about Christ" and "walking is a necessary product of our justification". Isn't the "walking" just as clearly all about Christ in the sense that without walking, the Gospel just sits on the couch and eats chips?

I by no means consider my "walking" as my salvation, mind you. But I see my walking as evidence of my salvation to the rest of the world. That doesn't take away from Christ, as I understand it, it magnifies what Christ is IN me. And that isn't about pleasing God, but about obeying Him--which should be my greatest pleasure. Without obedience faith is dead. Throughout the entire Bible we see what pleased God and what did not. And from the very beginning, it was disobedience that met with His wrath and consequence. Does it lessen with the weight of the cross? I don't see it. Why else would God correct those whom He loves? selahV

Chris Johnson said...

Sister SelahV,

Thank you for the question and input,…..

I do not disagree that we “walk”, and that the “walk” in which we move is not even possible without justification. I believe that is what I hear you saying as well.

This particular section though, gives us more information about Christ and His work for us, than about our “actual” walking. Paul is continuing to establish the importance of that truth in this section. In other words, for those that are justified, you and I, can only walk in Christ. So we either do or we don’t, but justification “makes us” free to “walk”. God causes things because of justification.

Let me try to explain it another way…. Most people have this verse as their life verse. (it’s a good one!)

Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

So many people end up somehow putting the emphasis on the phrase “for good to those who love God”…because it feels good to know that things are working out for me. But this is not the emphasis of the verse according to Paul’s instruction concerning the Gospel beginning back at Romans 1:16-17. Paul is saying we “know” something….what is it we know? We know “God causes” all things….. this is Paul’s emphasis and should be ours as well.

So now I read the entire verse and understand…. that God has caused me to know Him and it is according to His purpose in Christ Jesus. That puts a slightly different twist to my understanding and maturing. I am focused back on Him.

And why….

Romans 8:29-34 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (30) and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? (32) He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (33) Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; (34) who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Because Christ is He who died, raised, and intercedes! To the praise of His Glory!

Now I walk and love His Law (sometimes)….because Christ is the only one that has loved perfectly being obedient to the Father….not me. The only way I walk and love it….is in Christ. Sometimes I even grumble when I do his law….. “Christ never did grumble”. That is Paul’s main point.

Blessings,
Chris

Greg Welty said...

Chris,

Thanks for the reply. I agree with you that Paul is not giving any imperatives here in Ro 8:2-8. My main point was that Paul is giving a 'hina' or purpose clause in the Greek of v. 4, and that we (or at least I) often overlook the significance of that. I'm simply arguing that it should be a part of our "theology of salvation" that God's purpose in our redemption is that we should be law-keepers in the here and now. We shouldn't be reductionistic about this, and infer that this is the *only* thing God purposes in our redemption. Nor should we turn this passage into a series of commands. But I do think that recognizing this aspect of the redemptive purpose of God could do wonders for our understanding of the relation between law and gospel. They are friends, not enemies. And (if I may be so bold), the law does not merely lead us to Christ. It instructs us how to continue to live in Christ, by the power of the Spirit.

I'll have to disagree with you slightly when you say that "it is really not until chapter 12 that Paul engages in imperative type thought and actions for those listeners and us as well." Actually, it seems to me that Ro 8:12-13 are an imperative (conceptually, not grammatically) that follows from the reasoning of vv. 1-11. Ro 8:12-13 says:

"12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

Paul teaches that it follows from the preceding reasoning ("So then," or "therefore") that we ought to live our lives in a certain way ("we are under obligation"). It seems to me, then, that according to Paul, the redemptive purpose spoken of in v. 4 (God saved us to be law-keepers) ought to impact how we are to live our lives ("we are under obligation" to put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit).

So that's how I read it. Though I agree with you that the *main* source of imperatival teaching in Romans comes in ch. 12 and beyond.

Here's an additional thought. Romans 13:8-10 states:

"8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law."

On the theory that we should have no concern with fulfilling the law (now that we are in Christ), this passage makes no sense. Paul twice (vv. 8, 10) explains to us how love fulfills the law. But why should we even *care* about "fulfilling the law," if Christians are under no obligation to obey the law, if the law is no longer normative for our daily life? Presupposed in this text is that Christians *are* concerned about the fulfillment of the law, and Paul helps them here by showing how love fulfills the law.

In my view, what this means is that we are certainly not "under the law" in the sense that the law has the power to either acquit or condemn us before God. But we are "under the law" in the sense that its fulfillment ought to be the concern of every Christian. Notice that this comports quite nicely with the points from Ro 8:4, 12-13, which also contain a positive view of the relevance of the law for Christians.

selahV said...

Chris, that is the most exciting part about "all things working together". Once I am in Christ, He is working all things to His purpose. And in Him I cannot fail even when I think I am failing. It's impossible for me to truly fail if I am in Christ, correct?

That is where the peace and consolation and comfort of Christ's indwelling Spirit does for us. Resting in Him as we walk. You are right, while we may grumble at times (and often more times than we are willing to admit), the Spirit is forever correcting and chastening and prompting to "complete" me for the day of redemption. Painful as that may be at times, it is good to know God loves me so much that He gave me all of Jesus to accomplish His will.

It's the rebellion that hurts me. It's my flesh's struggle with my Spirit that eats at my soul's peace and joy. When I yield, I have no pain. Jesus takes that too. selahV

Ron P. said...

This has been a truly constructive and edifying dialog. I have really enjoyed reading this discussion.

Ron P.

Chris Johnson said...

Great stuff Saints,

Paul is dead serious about our freedom to “walk” and we (Saints) should be too.

I can see Paul in the percussion section of the great Denver symphony….he is playing the cymbals, counting out the measures of the Gospel seen throughout the melody of Romans from the beginning of Romans until now (chapters 1-11)… and with raised arms he crashes the cymbals together and says…..

Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

What a way to worship, understanding the pure justification and sufficiency of Christ and His Word, illumined through his people Israel…., but now we “walk” because we have peace. We don’t have peace because we “walk”. We are now adopted and cry Abba! Father!

Romans 5:1-6 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2) through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; (4) and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; (5) and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (6) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Galatians 3:23-27 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. (24) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. (25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (26) For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (27) For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

We are no longer under a tutor….we are “walking” free of the tutor and even realize now because of our justification that we can love the tutor.(this was difficult for the churches of Galatia at the time)….because we are clothed by the one that was obedient and remains obedient for us, even as we run the race set before us. Now we obey in freedom and the gospel reminds us everyday that we are free to our spiritual service of worship, and that we can present our bodies living and holy, acceptable to God, baptized into Christ alone.

I think I have gone from a “walk” to a little bit of a “trot”.

Blessings,
Chris

smithwe said...

Chris and Greg,

Amen, Amen, Amen to this exchange of God’s Holy Words for Us to live by and have peace of mind with God’s Promises. It is very refreshing to this old Man (Me) to see young Men of God who Have such a Solid Foundation of and in God’s Word. I always enjoy and am lifted up by Your Witness and Words/Comments on these Blogs. My Mother (Lutheran) taught me about Predestination/Election and the Lamb’s Book of Life when I was in my youth. Since then My Mentor (Holy Spirit) has guided me through life. These are some additional Verses of God’s Holy Word for thought.

1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Gal 6:14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

In His Name
Wayne

smithwe said...

Bart,

I do believe You have a CLASSIC POST here on Your Blog for Framing.
Thank you for Hosting this Post.

In His Name
Wayne

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Greg,

I didn’t address your question from and earlier post when you said…

“I'll have to disagree with you slightly when you say that "it is really not until chapter 12 that Paul engages in imperative type thought and actions for those listeners and us as well." Actually, it seems to me that Ro 8:12-13 are an imperative (conceptually, not grammatically) that follows from the reasoning of vv. 1-11.”

I would just say….that the Roman readers of the letter; and when we read this letter today… each of us bring a certain perspective to the text. We read it as gentile believers (for the most part), ….and we have sort of a head start with our understanding of trying to rightly please Christ alone and not some sort of tradition (although many continue to try to build various traditions). But I believe that Paul is saying much more than an imperative here; as well as the reason for the non-imperative language in the Greek text in this entire section. I think he realizes that these Jews and Gentiles (predominately Jews) were engaged in “legalistic” tendencies that were getting them confused about the work of Christ. So, in other words, “walking” was not a foreign thought to their minds. They got the “walking thing” they just didn’t understand justification very well. “Walking” was something they were really keen on, and the reason Paul informs is trying to instruct them……..

Romans 2:11-16 For there is no partiality with God. (12) For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; (13) for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. (14) For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, (15) in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, (16) on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Romans 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. (29) But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.


The obligation to put to death the deeds of the body were accomplished by Christ in referenced to Justification and therefore is the platform on which we “walk”.


Romans 8:3-5 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (5) For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

God did it….by sending His own Son, so that the requirement might be fulfilled in us…..

It is not the walking that induces the “requirement of the Law” in Paul’s mind,…it is what “God did” that the Law might be fulfilled in us. We are freed by the Spirit then to “walk” as never before.

Blessings,
Chris

Ben Macklin said...

Bart -

I just found out that you represented me at the SWBTS Centenial celebration. I hope you expressed well my views of the role of the Holy Spirit in B.H. Carroll's theology. As one of your constituents I would urge you to tell those in power to keep the seminary lashed to the teaching of B.H. Carroll - fervent ant-dispensationalist and evangelist.

His will actually states that the seminary continue to teach HIS interpretation of the English Bible (which is actually a pretty good interpretation).

Your constituent

Ben Macklin
:-)

P.S. I told you you'd come into your kingdom someday.

Greg Welty said...

Thanks for the input, folks. I don't have much more to say in this thread!

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

Sharing a platform with James Leo Garrett and David Allen does nothing but humble a person

Debbie Kaufman said...

Well said Chris. And that is the gospel and why it is indeed good news.