> > Chris please define what "believing in Christ" means.
> Assent to understood propositions. They assent to the gospel, i.e. that
> there is salvation in no other but Christ and His substitutionary work.
> Then they go on to make statements that are inconsistent with
> this. Alas,
> but they got the essential part right so they are saved.
> Chris E.
So, you're saying that someone can believe the true gospel and yet believe things that are inconsistent with the true gospel.
Consider the following propositions:
1. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man.
2. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully lizard.
Or these propositions:
1. The work of Christ is the only ground of my salvation.
2. Christ did the same work for all, including those in hell.
Now, Chris, you must then believe that one can believe both propositions in each of these sets of propositions. Let's take the first set. Since, according to you, one can believe both of these, then since the first proposition is orthodox, the person believing both of these propositions is necessarily orthodox. So it doesn't really matter if one believes that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully lizard, as long as he *also* believes that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. After all, "they got the essential part right," according to you. The same goes for the second set of propositions. As long as he believes the first proposition (Christ's work as the only ground of salvation), it doesn't matter that the second proposition is "inconsistent" with the first.
Wow. That really opens the door to a lot of your "brethren." All they have to do is say they believe in an orthodox proposition about the gospel, and it doesn't matter what else they say they believe, you will judge them to be saved. You must have a lot of "brethren"! Every professing Christian must be your "brother"! The Mormons and the Moonies and the Roman Catholics must be your "brethren" as well!
The TRUTH is that an unorthodox proposition about the gospel NEGATES the orthodox proposition. You judge the person's spiritual state by the heresy the person confesses. A person can say the most solid, orthodox things about the gospel, but when he comes in with ONE unorthodox confession about the gospel, it shows where his heart is. For example, a person can say that he is saved only by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ, that he bases his salvation only on Christ's work, and that Christ's atonement makes the only difference between heaven and hell. But then he says that Christ's blood atoned for all without exception and that people are in hell because they did not accept the atonement that Christ made for them. The latter statement shows that he does not truly believe the former statement. The latter statement annihilates the former statement. If one confesses salvation by grace in one breath and salvation by works in the next breath, we KNOW that he believes in salvation by works.
I have put the following quote on this List before, but it is appropriate again. It is by John Kennedy of Dingwall, who was responding to Horatius Bonar's contention that D.L. Moody's preaching contained orthodoxy and thus that Moody was a true preacher of God:
"I am quite ready to allow that, in the addresses of those who hold the views to which I refer, there will be found statements that seem to contradict those which are objectionable. This, however, does not prove that the bearing of the teaching, as a whole, is not what I indicated. The telling part of the doctrine may be that which is unscriptural, and all the more is it helped to be so by the mixture of what tends to recommend it to acceptance. The measure of truth it contains merely serves, in many cases, to throw the conscience off guard. It seems to some, as if the utterance of an occasional statement, that is both indefensible and dangerous, can be quite counteracted by other statements, from the same source, that are confessedly scriptural. But in such a case, the character and tendency of the teaching are not determined by the counterpoise of truth. The sound doctrine cannot be intelligibly apprehended and honestly believed, if what is utterly inconsistent with it is both held and proclaimed. A breach in the wrapping exposes the contents of a parcel. To that opening the eye must be directed that would discover what the envelope enclosed. An occasional erroneous statement, breaking wildly through the bounds of possible orthodoxy, exposes the spirit of one's teaching, and is the index of its practical tendency."
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