"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Importance of Building Christian Fellowship Around Relational Knowledge, not Doctrinal Beliefs

Fellowship in a church should never be dependent on believing the same things.  We are the family of Christ because of our mutual, personal, and experiential knowledge of Jesus. In other words, our eternal fellowship with each is based on our mutual love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, not necessarily what we believe the Scriptures to teach.

The apostles made a clear distinction in their writings between knowledge and beliefs. There were just a few things which they "knew" and were absolutely persuaded about by God. The best synopsis of this knowledge is found in Paul's letter to young Timothy when he said,
Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed" (II Timothy 1:12).
Paul knows whom he has believed. He knows Christ. I know Christ. You know Christ. Paul and I and you all know that Christ is able, and we are incapable. We know Him. This knowledge binds us together in eternal fellowship.

But we believe so much more than we know.

Atheists deny that we can even know God. They say knowing God is a matter of faith, not knowledge. To some degree, the atheist would be correct. The writer of Hebrews says, "And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6).

However, the atheist is missing the key reward for coming to God through faith in Jesus Christ. God rewards those who seek Him with the knowledge that He exists. In other words, those who seek God will meet Him.  The prophet declares, "Prepare to meet thy God." He gives no room for a belief there is no god. You must seek Him, prepare to meet Him, and find Him.

To know Christ is to know God.

We know there is a God, for we have met Him. We were trapped in our own failures and inabilities when we heard the good news. We came to faith in the God who made provision for us in Jesus Christ.

We know God.

But, again, I believe so much more.

In my ministry, I live what I know and I teach what I believe. "For I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20).

In my ministry, I fellowship with those who know Christ, regardless if they believe what I teach.

This is a lesson that a church must learn for a church to thrive.

We should teach what we believe with passion. We should teach what we believe with conviction. But there is a difference between knowing and believing.

My brothers and sisters in Christ who know God should be free to believe differently than I, but we should always seek to continue in genuine fellowship, regardless of our different beliefs. Our fellowship is relational. We share in common the Person we know, not the things we believe.

Let Me Illustrate

(1). I believe and teach Jesus died for a particular people, but I know Jesus.

The Bible calls these people God's 'elect,' or Christ's 'bride,' or His 'church,' or 'believers,' or many other things. Christ's people are from every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue who have an inheritance in heaven, but they are a particular people God chooses to save out of the entire sinful human race.

I don't know Jesus died just for the elect. I have friends who believe Jesus died for every single human being who has ever lived, those in hell and in heaven, and as a result, they are hopeful that one day God will - in the end - bring every sinner into union with Christ. They hold out a hope that somehow, someway, and someday, Jesus will empty hell, and every sinner will be redeemed because everyone will see the glory of the Son who actually redeemed them.

I teach what I believe (particular redemption), but I don't "know" that what I believe about particular redemption is true. One day we will all find out. My belief in particular redemption is not shaken by those who oppose it. My belief in particular redemption does not form my identity.

My fellowship with other believers is not defined by our mutual faith in particular redemption. I don't know that particular redemption is true - but I believe it.

What binds me in fellowship to others is our mutual knowledge of God through our faith in Jesus Christ.

(2). I believe and teach that the earth is a young earth, but I know Jesus.

I don't know that the earth is young. When I teach through Genesis expositional, as I have done three times, I teach that God created the earth at most 6,000 years ago - because that is what I believe. However, I don't "know" that God created the earth 6,000 years ago.

I wasn't there.

And, I understand how some can teach the Bible portrays an old earth and a local flood.

The Scriptures can be interpreted in various ways regarding the age of the earth. My belief in a young earth is not threatened by those brothers in Christ who believe in an old earth. My fellowship with those who know God through Jesus Christ is not limited to those who believe in a young earth.

I am firm in my personal belief in a young earth, but I am honest enough to say I don't "know" the earth is young.

One of these days we all will "know."

Until then, we fellowship around the Person of Jesus Christ.

(3). I believe and teach that most of the prophecies of Scripture have been fulfilled, but I know Christ.

I am what some would call a partial preterist. Preterism is based on a Latin word meaning "having been fulfilled." I believe the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in 70 A.D.

I believe in an early dating of the writing of Revelation (pre-70 A.D.). I believe the prophecies of Jesus in Matthew 24 were fulfilled in 70 A.D. within a generation of when Jesus spoke them. I believe that the prophecies of Daniel were fulfilled through Alexander the Great, the birth of Jesus, and the destruction of Jerusalem.

But I don't know that the prophecies of Scripture have all been fulfilled completely.

I am able to teach all four major eschatological positions (premillennialism, amillennialism, postmillennialism, preterism) to the people of Emmanuel as if I believed each one. In fact, I've done exactly that in the past, and at the conclusion of the study, I told them to choose the eschatological position they believed reflected most closely the position of the biblical authors.

Then I reminded them our fellowship is based on our personal knowledge of Christ, not our mutual beliefs in other matters.

(4). I believe and teach that God made women equal to men in authority, but I know God. 

I see the prophetesses in Scripture prophesying, Priscilla teaching Apollo theology, Deborah reigning over Israel and judging God's people, and I have no problem with women teaching men today, or women holding positions of authority over men today, or believing women are gifted by the Spirit of God just the same as the Spirit gifts men today.

Sure, there are different roles for men and women (women give birth, men don't), but the idea that a woman cannot have equal "authority to a man" is completely foreign to my understanding of the Bible and the purposes of God.

But here is where it gets sticky. Unlike my belief in a young earth, particular redemption, and partial preterism, my belief in the equality of women has a corresponding action. Belief in the equality of women affects my treatment of women. Am I open for women to be in positions of spiritual leadership? Yes. Can women teach the Bible to men in our church? Yes, and they do. Do I believe women can teach Hebrew to future preachers? Yes.

Again, my view of equality is based on what I believe the Scriptures teach.

Could I be wrong?

Of course. God may not have given to women equal authority or equal spiritual abilities to men. If that is the case, then my interpretation of Scripture is leading me to place women in very compromising, uncomfortable and possibly untenable positions.

But my actual experiences have been just the opposite. Every teacher, every leader, every proclaimer of Jesus Christ who happens to be female seems to me to be just as capable and equal to men.

My point remains. Christian fellowship with brothers and sisters who disagree with me on this belief I teach should still occur. But sometimes it is difficult for Christians to fellowship when differing beliefs lead to opposite actions.

In other words, one can debate ecclesiology, eschatology, creation, and atonement, but when a church serves the Lord's supper to a non-church member in front of a Landmarker, or when a church places a woman as a teacher in front of a patriarch, then some seek to break fellowship. Why?

I'm not sure that we have spent enough time teaching followers of Jesus the difference between knowing something and believing something.

The people in the church I pastor understand that we all should be comfortable fellowshipping with other Christians that have differing beliefs. We fellowship around knowing Christ and Him crucified, but we are free to disagree in our beliefs. There is in our church, for lack of a better phrase, soul freedom.


(5). I believe and teach that God is absolutely sovereign, but I know God. 

I believe that not one atom, one molecule, one event,  one person, or even one devil is allowed to move or act without his permission, prohibition, persuasion, or providence.

There is nothing that is hidden from God or too hard for God.

He does as He pleases, always as He pleases, only as He pleases. His purposes shall be fulfilled, and he shall accomplish everything according to His purposes.

But I could be wrong.

God could not know the future because the things of the future do not yet exist and thus are not knowable, as Greg Boyd teaches.

 God could be dependent upon the will of man as Arminius taught.

But I teach what I believe, so I teach He is sovereign over all things, even the will of man and the future events of the world.

But it doesn't bother me to fellowship with someone who knows God but believes differently regarding His providence.

One of these days I am hopeful that those of us who have very specific beliefs will come to the place where we are neither threatened by, nor seek to separate from, those Christians who believe differently than we.

33 comments:

Philip Miller said...

You had me agreeing with you until I realized what you were doing. In my opinion you only used easy examples, and safely avoided the more sticky ones. I wonder how your approach would hold up with some of these. Could you fully fellowship in your church (including membership and teaching opportunities) with someone who believes in Oneness Doctrines (denies the Trinity) but knows God? Could the church you pastor unequivocally embrace with full fellowship a couple who believe and declare that homosexual unions are just as holy and sanctioned by God as are heterosexual unions? If either partner was a gifted teacher and natural leader, would the church embrace those gifts? What if one of your teachers or small group leaders came to believe and teach that God's approval is only on those that keep certain OT dietary and ceremonial laws. Would that effect fellowship? I suspect your assertion that beliefs should never effect fellowship wouldn't cover every belief and teaching. At least I would hope not.

Wade Burleson said...

Philip,

How can one know God and deny Christ is God in human flesh? Answer to your first question, "No." But I usually find oneness people want nothing to do with me. :)

To know Christ means one is able to affirm "I am the chief of sinners, but this is a faithful saying and worthy of my full acceptance, Christ came to save sinners!" I think the reason you point out "homosexual unions" rather than "adulterous unions" or "incestual unions" or "male/child unions" is because you aren't around many people who are advocating the latter as "just and holy and sanctioned by God," right? We have many people in our church who struggle with the sin of same-sex desire, just like we have many who struggle with adulterous desire and many who struggle with pornography - we have full fellowship with them all. Why? Because they struggle with their sin rather than embrace it. To know God is to know yourself. So the answer to your second question is "No." But in my experience, the more you love someone by being willing to walk with them in their struggle with sin - speaking the truth in love - the more that person either continues in repentance or ultimately gives in to their sin and celebrates it. If the latter occurs, they will always wish to withdraw from fellowship with you.

AS to your third question - you single out OT dietary and ceremonial laws. Truth be known, there are many laws that Christians exalt as necessary for holiness - many of them cultural, like the Hebrew culture of the Old Testament - only 21st century American cultural Christian laws. I fellowship with all who know Christ, but I refuse to participate in their legalism, and usually, they are the ones who withdraw from me.

So, I guess in thinking through your questions, my point stands. I will fellowship with anyone who tells me they know and love Christ. Our Lord does a pretty good job of transforming His people. I'm less interested in withdrawing from fellowship and more interested in loving people through their struggles in life.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Philip Miller makes a good point. Throughout the ages Christians have divided depending upon their beliefs as shown by the many denominations of Christians.

The first separation of Christians was when one group decided baptizing babies saved them.

I believe one of the greatest pain of people in hell will be them realizing Jesus died for them but they rejected Him.

“O Jerusalem…How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23.37)

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I agree.

I wonder what the Christian church would look like if we united around the Person of Christ.

Pege' said...

Wade, As a person who has lived in many, many places I have to testify that the spirit of this kind of fellowship and "bereanism" is rare...very rare. I currently live in a neighborhood here in Colorado where there are at least 15 churches with a radius of 5 miles. One one street there are 6.Each one a different denomination, which mean different beliefs. You can be sure the sign in front is clear to anyone who enters how they identify. I like what you said back to Rex. I too wonder what the 'church" would look like if we united around Jesus. The longer I live ( I became a believer at 21), the more I understand Jesus when he said: " His yoke is EASY and his burden is LIGHT". I find a large portion of the Christian community acts like what we see in our current society. Minds are closed, attitudes are locked and loaded. Rejection and shunning the "motis operendi" when it comes to searching, questioning, and discussion. Fear and suspicion oh yes and anger...how can I forget the anger I see when Christians do not like what they hear from someone who does not agree with everything the leaders believe. My family loved being at Emmanuel for the 8 years we were there. I can testify that at Emmanuel there are many schools of thought worshipping in harmony with one another. We thrived and learned from so many of our brothers and sisters as we together searched, debated and struggled over the word of God. We have been gone almost 14 years now and find ourselves in the desert. We have found some we can think and talk with freely. Nothing like the freedom of Emmanuel. I wonder if folks who have been there @ Emmanuel for years and years realize the gift they have in one another and how rare and unique they are. The people there will forever bring joy to our hearts as we remember and think of them and our time there. They changed our lives. Our brothers and sisters at Emmanuel loved 2 very prideful and broken people and their kids. The Body @ Emmanuel showed us how to love and serve and live like Jesus. How we hunger for a community like that again.

Anonymous said...

HMM--I think I come down a bit on the loyal opposition here. I think it is a good think for a local body of believers to be quite sure what they teach and believe. I see nothing wrong with knowing if I choose to attend a Lutheran church it will hold a different set of beliefs than a Nazarene church, for example.

But in our town that does not equate with breaking fellowship. All the churches, or pretty much all, UPC excepted, participate together in many outreach activities and service activities.

To use one of your examples, Pastor Wade, I'd rather a church state clearly it either does or does not ordain women. I've no need to make them see things my way nor tell anyone on this blog which I would choose. But since that issue is very important to some people, knowing clearly what a church teaches allows the newby to the area or the faith to find a church where they are in general agreement with the teaching.

Wade Burleson said...

Pege,

Wonderful testimony! Thanks for sharing.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

"But since that issue is very important to some people...."

That's my point, anonymous...

We make important the unimportant, and neglect Him who is of ultimate importance.

:)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Were Anabaptist known for their fellowship with each other or their belief and actions?

Debbie Kaufman said...

Exactly Wade. Perfect wording and thought. What the Bible actually teaches and the way it is interpreted by some are usually two completely different things. We need to simply unite in the person of Christ. It would change the world and certainly catch their attention as to what Christianity as in "Christ follower" really is.

Aussie John said...

Wade,

I'm glad you started of as you did," Fellowship in a church should never be dependent on believing the same things. We are the family of Christ because of our mutual, personal, and experiential knowledge of Jesus. In other words, our eternal fellowship with each should be based on our mutual love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, not necessarily what we believe the Scriptures to teach."

That last phrase is so important because the difference between what the Scriptures say, and what we want it to say, is often at odds with each other, and reflects an agenda that separates genuine believers unnecessarily.

As Paul was well aware with his many "one anothers" our relationship with each other is a reflection of our relationship with Christ!





Tom Ross said...

Wade

Many people are not prepared to accept diversity with the Church today. In some circles, if you dare to suggest that the translation of certain Greek or Hebrew words may be off a little and present a case for why you are making that claim, can mean that you are smeared for even questioning the validity of the "preferred" English translation of the original texts and rattling their cages.

Even though there are "mistakes" in our "English" translations of the Bible, those Bibles are still the best available tools that we have of searching out the heart of God because we are able to read them with the guidance of the holy spirit and reflect over the words in the English Translations of the Bible we read. Now with so many translations available and used by members of a congregation, this should not divide the congregation as the various translation can generate various forms of understanding as to what the meaning of a particular passage might be.

What becomes import for a church is how they work out in their community, both internal and external what the Bible teaches.

If I exclude certain people from my fellowship, then how can I rub shoulders with them and witness to them about Christ and make them disciples of Christ, if I will not have them in my "house."

If I know Christ, then I must allow Christ to mould me into the person that He needs me to be to reflect Him within the outside community that I live in. That takes time, and may cause disruption within the internal community of the members who come together to fellowship together, acknowledging the Headship of Christ. But in acknowledging the headship of Christ, we also need to go out into the world to make disciples of all people. To do that we must leave our "safe" communities to go out to display our respective God centred beliefs within the complex outside community such that Christ is seen through us and our actions.

If a church does not have a missional focus, then it will fall by the wayside and its members will not grow in faith as they are challenged by the circumstances to meet the needs of their community, around and near them, through the leading of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

If I know Christ, then I will go out into the "real" world as part of the process of growing into His image and to take up my own cross to become worthy to be called one of His disciples and one of his brethren within the final assembly.

That is the challenge for those who are teachers and pastor, to demonstrate how to go out into the real world and live for Christ. The "doctrinally" held beliefs matter little when we put the rubber to the road and go out following Christ's lead. God will challenge them and bring His correction as needed.

Shalom

Rex Ray said...

Page,

You said you liked what Wade said: “I wonder what the Christian church would look like if we united around the Person of Christ. “

[Jesus said] ”…I will build my church and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16: 18 NLT)

So has Wade suggested the Christian church has failed by NOT uniting around the Person of Christ which would make the words of Jesus untrue?

Course NOT! Anyone in any church that has experienced ‘John 3:16’ will be in heaven whether they know it or not.

Pege' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pege' said...

Rex... I think you have great insight that it is the Lord who builds the church. The gates of Hell will not prevail... but we humans sure can muck it up!

Stanley Jones, a missionary met with Ghandi he asked him:
Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?
Gandhi replied:
Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.

God will always have his "church', "the elect" because God is a powerful and Sovereign God. It does not mean they will function as He has taught in the scriptures. Consider after all most of the New Testament is written to believers who were making all kinds of mistakes as we see in our time now. Wade is simply reminding us what the teachers of old had to remind believers for thousands of years... IT"S ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!
We be "SHEEP-POLE". Funny how God made an animal to teach us about ourselves.

JW said...

"I teach what I believe (particular redemption), but I don't "know" that what I believe about particular redemption is true. One day we will all find out. My belief in particular redemption is not shaken by those who oppose it. My belief in particular redemption does not form my identity.

My fellowship with other believers is not defined by our mutual faith in particular redemption. I don't know that particular redemption is true - but I believe it."

This leaves me scratching my head a bit. When I read it it reads to me as if you don't know if Jesus died for our sins but one day you will find out so you will fellowship with others who believe in Jesus but not necessarily believe Jesus died for our sins. Maybe that he was a social activist or maybe Universal salvation actually exists? The more important thing is belief in Jesus. That would be very much in error would it not?

Rex Ray said...

Page,

I’m disappointed you removed one of your comments about being a missionary in Germany. I have many fond memories of that country as a 15-16 old boy 70 years ago.

I disagree that a sheep teaches us anything about ourselves. Now I know that many churches look upon the pastor as the Sheppard and the congregation as dumb sheep, but Calvary split the Curtain and made all Christians Priest.

Jesus did NOT say that Pastors would teach us but “…the Holy Spirit will teach you everything…” (John 14-26)


Wade,

You said you have taught all four major eschatological positions. How about a minor one: “Pan-Millennialist”?

"I don’t know what is going to happen, but God is in charge, so … everything will pan out in the end." :)

Pege' said...

Mr. Rex, I support your statement about not being a follower of a Pastor or teacher for the Holy Spirit is a much better teacher, guide, comforter, peace provider than any human I know. In referring this back to Wade's post, The Holy Spirit always points us to Jesus.


Concerning the reference to sheep: Let's look at the facts about sheep-
*Sheep aren’t intelligent. Sheep respond to the shepherd's voice.Sheep are Directionless. Sheep are weak and need a shepherd. Sheep become restless. A Sheep is a Personal, a Prized and a Precious Possession Sheep need plenty of water.Sheep follow the voice of their own Shepherd (no other shepherd). *Sheep can not get up on their own.Sheep must be sheared for its own good.Sheep must be lead to grass. Sheep remain dirty until someone cleans them. These are not original with me I got them from an excellent blog post that is worth the read: https://inhonoroftheking.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-does-god-call-us-sheep.html

Also I deleted the post you mentioned because as I thought about it, I was not relevant to the article Wade posted.


On a personal note: I had the privilege to live in Germany for a total of 8 years. Almost 3 years as a missionary to military and the other 5 with my husband who was serving on the AirForce.. 2 of our daughters were born in Frankfurt. One of those daughters is earning a Masters degree in the German language and German literature. She earned to different scholarships which took her there two times. One year she lived in Berlin as an exchange student. The 2nd time she earned a Fulbright scholarship and lived in the State of Usedom which is the Northern most part of Germany near the Baltic sea and neighbors Poland. My family Heritage is mostly German. So life has a way of making a circle, doesn't it? I too have many great memories of Germany. I would love to hear some of yours if you care to share. pgrgrs@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Hmm still. I do get your point, Pastor Wade, but still disagree. Perhaps women's ordination is not important to you one way or the other, but it would be very important to a woman seeking ordination. Far better for her to know up front if a local fellowship, or a convention, or a denomination is going to block her.

Maybe I'm just having a dense moment (it happens LOL) but it sounds like you don't think a church should even have a statement of faith?

Of course it is all about Jesus but there is a huge difference between those that are sacramental and those that are not, those that hold to baptismal regeneration and those that do not, those that either front load or back load works into salvation and those that do not.

I agree some issues are tertiary and not worth dividing over. But am I missing the point or are you saying there are no issues to divide over?

Sorry I missed adding my name above.

Linda

Rex Ray said...

Pege,

Let me apologize for not spelling your name right. My excuse is I don’t know if it is the small Font or my eyesight. I’ve emailed you some of our experiences in Germany.

I think you’ve omitted one characteristic of sheep: they take the first opportunity to die. :)

It’s been said that sheep are meek.

Warning: This subject has been discussed on a previous blog of Wade’s with the definition of “meek” in the dictionary, and the one in the Bible. According to the Bible, Jesus was the meekest person on earth.

Rex Ray said...

Good point Linda,

Wonder if there are any church bylaws in Wade’s church.

He still hasn’t answered if Anabaptist were known for their fellowship/love for each other of if they were known for what they believed.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex Ray,

I believe Anabaptists were known for what they believed from outsiders (those not Anabaptists), but they were known for their fellowship/love by insiders (Anabaptists themselves).

Wade Burleson said...

"Perhaps women's ordination is not important to you one way or the other, but it would be very important to a woman seeking ordination."

Good point.

Of course, I don't believe Scripture teaches ordination of any kind. We license for the benefit of the state, and we have no problem licensing men and/or women.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I like pan-millennialism! :)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Your post states it is important to build Christian fellowship around RATIONAL KNOWLEDGE.

What is “rational knowledge”?

http://psychologydictionary.org/rational-knowledge/ states it is “Knowledge gained through reason or acquired by logical argument.”

That sounds like Christians grow in fellowship by arguing with each other.

Would you step back and see what your post really says?

You quote (2 Timothy 1:12) and state: “That knowledge binds us together in eternal FELLOWSHIP.”

This Scripture is doctrine and NOT rational knowledge.

BTW, Did Anabaptist eventually become known as Baptist?

Anonymous said...

Do Mormons fit in your vision of unity? They have a Jesus, but their Jesus is the brother of lucifer and was an elevated man. They get to be gods on their own planets when they die if they hold to strict mormon rules and regulations.

How about those who hold to the Prosperity Gospel? Their Jesus is there to obey their commands as they speak wealth, health and happiness into existence. They hold to the 'little gods' heresy.

Then there's Jehovah's Witnesses. Their Jesus is Michael the Archangel.

If you have read the Bible, you know the true Jesus. His Gospel IS our doctrine, and no other will save you. Doctrine is vital.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

I’m thinking of what’s written on a T-shirt someone gave my brother that states

“I’m not arguing with you; I’m just telling why you’re wrong.” :)

Let’s picture two people in hell and see which one is in more torment.

If Jesus died for only the elect a person in hell would be justified in complaining:

‘I’m here because Jesus did not die for me. It’s God’s fault and it’s not fair!’

Whereas if Jesus died for everyone, the people in hell would regret they didn’t accept Jesus when they had the chance.

“..The highway to hell is broad, [6 lanes?] and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations

This states 31% of the world is Christian.

http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx

This states the number of people born since time began is 107,602,707,791.

That means if the ration of 31% being Christian was constant through the years there are close to 50 billion more people in hell than in heaven which would prove the words of Jesus are true.

Wade Burleson said...

"If Jesus died for only the elect a person in hell would be justified in complaining."

I do not understand how any sinner can complain about God's righteous, judicial, and appropriate judgment for their sins.

If the complaint of the sinner is that God didn't deliver him from his just punishment, then the sinner's seems to deem his deliverance (salvation) as something God is obligated to perform. But salvation is by God's grace. His justice either falls on the sinner or on the Savior of sinners (at the cross), but never both.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Thanks for your response. You wrote true words: “Salvation is by God’s grace. His justice either falls on the sinner or the Savior of sinners (at the cross) but never on both.”

Your post says: “I believe and teach Jesus died for a PARTICULAR people.”

I believe something different. I believe Jesus died for all people based on “…everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

Your post states: “…they [elect] are a particular people God chooses to save…” “…I don’t know Jesus died just for the elect. I have friends who believe Jesus died for every single human being…” “I teach what I believe (particular redemption}, but I don’t “know” what I believe…is true.”

Not knowing is a form of doubting. (Thomas did not believe Jesus was alive until he saw him.) I never thought I’d quote James but he wrote: “…one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You replied on the topic of who was justified to be in hell, but did not reply to how many will be in heaven and hell as told by Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14.

Would you care to comment on that?

My calculator would not work on such large numbers. My rusty old brain got a workout working with a pencil. :)

Wade Burleson said...

I, like Jonathan Edwards, believe God's grace will exceed His judgment and MORE people will be in heaven than in hell. Matthew 7:13-14 is a description of THE WAY - which is narrow - for it only has ONE door ("I am the Door" Jesus said) or one GATE (Jesus is the Gate for His Sheep to enter in), but the world's religions present many different ways to God and gates to His Kingdom. There is only ONE WAY. That's the emphasis of this text.

When Jesus said, "FEW there be that find it..." He was spot on - FEW - IN HIS DAY - found it. But all the teaching of Jesus tells us that the Gospel of the Kingdom starts out as a small seed and turns into a LARGE TREE, or a little leaven and SPREADS through the entire life, so that the CHURCH IN JESUS DAY was few and samll (12, then 3, then 1 at the cross), then 3 at the tomb, many disciples who saw the resurrected Jesus, to 120 in the Upper Room, to 3,000 on Pentecost, to an "innumerable company of people from every family, language group, ethnicity, and nationa (e.g. "the world."). In other words, though it started small, "the gates of hell WILL NOT prevail against the Kingdom of God." (Jesus).

Blessings.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Thanks for replying.

I think you would agree that “The gates of hell will not prevail against the Kingdom of God” is NOT based on the number of Christians but upon the Power of God.

You indicate that “FEW That Find it” only applied to HIS DAY, but TODAY out of 100 people in Israel there are only two Christian based on:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Israel

I’ve already posted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations

Which states 31% of the world is Christian.

Of course they count every Catholic as Christian, but how many depend on their baby baptism and confessions to priests for their salvation without having a personal relationship with Jesus?

The devil showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and offered them to Jesus if he would worship the devil. The devil was not lying or it would not have been a temptation. How many people in those kingdoms had died before the temptation and how many have died since then?

Does the devil still own the world today? “…Satan ruler of this world…”John 13:32) “Satan, who is the god of this world…” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

“All nations will hate you because you are my followers.” (Matthew 19:22)

In the days of Jesus, “All nations” did not exist which means he was referring to the future. His prophecy: “The highway to hell is broad…But the gateway to life is very narrow…and only a few ever find it” is a warning to the nations today.

koi seo said...

I disagree that a sheep teaches us anything about ourselves. Now I know that many churches look upon the pastor as the Sheppard and the congregation as dumb sheep, but Calvary split the Curtain and made all Christians Priest.
Jesus did NOT say that Pastors would teach us but “…the Holy Spirit will teach you everything…” (John 14-26)

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