[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another Look at 1 Corinthians 15:3ff / the Pauline Gospel

by Antonio da Rosa

For a short and concise article on the intended use of a gospel message, please refer to my latest post on Free Grace Theology Blog:

The Use and Abuse of the Gospel Message

1 Cor 15:3-8
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
NKJV

In the 1st Corinthians passage, we have four co-ordinate clauses that make up Paul's gospel message, all divided by the Greek "kai hoti" ("and that")

1 Cor 15:3ff
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also recieved:

THAT Christ died...
AND THAT He was buried
AND THAT He rose again...
AND THAT He was seen...

When was the last time you preached Christ's burial as the object of saving faith?

When was the last time you preached Christ's appearances as the object of saving faith?

These 4 coordinate clauses, which are subordinate to the main clause, instruct us as to what Paul's gospel was (in other words, the message which he couched the promise of eternal life in). Being coordinate, they are of the same value.

It is apparent here that advocates of a "more information for the content of saving faith" are selective in what they actually consider to be the object(s) of saving faith. If one claims that they believe the 1st Corinthian (Pauline) estimation of the gospel is what is to be believed as the necessary and conscious objects and/or content to saving faith in ADDITION to simple faith into Christ for eternal life, they have ommitted two co-ordinate articulations of Paul's gospel in their own reckoning of what is to be believed for saving faith.

They have ommitted from the Scriptures one half of what they claim to be the authoratative Apostolic pronouncement on what the object of saving faith is!

(In other words, the burial and appearances of Christ)

It is certain that their view of the 1st Corinthian passage must now be reviewed and changed accordingly.

Antonio

6 Comments:

  • Antnio:

    You wrote, It is apparent here that advocates of a "more information for the content of saving faith" are selective in what they actually consider to be the object(s) of saving faith. If one claims that they believe the 1st Corinthian (Pauline) estimation of the gospel is what is to be believed as the necessary and conscious objects and/or content to saving faith in ADDITION to simple faith into Christ for eternal life, they have omitted two co-ordinate articulations of Paul's gospel in their own reckoning of what is to be believed for saving faith.

    What we have above is a Straw Man argument. So, there is no misunderstanding I am providing a definition of the Straw man argument from Wikpedia:

    A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man" or "set up a straw-man argument" is to create a position that is easy to refute, and then attribute that position to the opponent. A straw-man argument can be a successful rhetorical technique (that is, it may succeed in persuading people) but it is in fact a misleading fallacy, because the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted.

    1) Present a misrepresentation of the opponent's position, refute it, and pretend that the opponent's actual position has been refuted.

    2) Quote an opponent's words out of context -- i.e., choose quotations that are not representative of the opponent's actual intentions.


    Antonio:

    Show me with a verbatim quote where I have stated “more information is the object of saving faith?”

    Somewhere in the two different sites (Unasahamed and your site) I believe I stated clearly that Jesus is the object of faith.

    I have this statement in my book, “Jesus Christ must be the object of man’s faith. This makes all the difference. If Jesus is not the object of faith then there has been no saving faith.”

    IMO, you have lost your balance in the doctrine of salvation.

    If, you are going to argue for your position then you need to do so without putting words or beliefs into the argument that do not belong to those with whom you disagree.

    I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt in that you may have unintentionally created a Straw Man. If, however, you attribute what you wrote above to me one more time, I am going to drop out of this discussion, and deal with your position from the third person elsewhere.


    LM

    PS: Why don’t you decide at which site you are going to post and discuss this. It is has been like a shell game trying to figure out where you are going to show up next. Here, your site, or post a comment at my site, and come back to one of these sites.

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at Sunday, July 01, 2007 3:58:00 AM  

  • Lou,

    if you read closely my article, you see that I have stated that "the more information" crowd adds to either the object OR content of saving faith.

    The argument stands and is solid.

    It is abundantly clear, Lou, that to simple trust in Christ for eternal life you ADD FURTHER CONDITIONS:

    1) Belief that one is a sinner
    2) Belief that Jesus died on the cross for our sins
    3) Belief that Jesus rose again from the dead

    This is a fact about your position, please correct me if I am wrong.

    Is it not your position that if someone does not understand the cross of Christ for sins that they cannot be saved?

    This is aptly described as a "more information" position. You are ADDING content to saving faith, and in the process, pointing men and women to doctrine rather than to Christ through His promise to impart eternal life to any who believe in Him for it.

    Call my posts a straw man all you like.

    Are you going to deny that you add more information to the content of saving faith? In other words, are you going to deny that you point men to the cross and the resurrection as the necessary and concious objects of saving faith? In other words, there is no salvation apart from their understanding?

    Furthermore, you have been about for some time heralding Romans 10:9, 10.

    What does that verse say?

    "and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead..."

    If understood the way you have used this verse, this would make the resurrection a conscious and necessary object of saving faith.

    Let us make a simple pronouncement here, Lou.

    If Jesus Christ alone is the object of saving faith, as you are here stating, then there is no need for further debate?

    Why? This has been my position all along.

    Saving faith is simply believing into Jesus Christ through His gratuitous promise to impart eternal life to all who merely take Him at His word.

    But that isn't your position, Lou. You need to be frank with it.

    Your position is that one must:

    1) Believe he is a sinner
    2) Believe he is on his way to hell
    3) Believe that Jesus is God
    4) Believe that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, taking the punishment
    5) Believe that Jesus rose from the dead
    6) Pray to receive Christ

    This is the 6 steps to saving faith, in your position. Correct me PLEASE if I am wrong!

    It is abundantly clear to me that someone could perform all 6 steps and still remain unsaved.

    Why?

    The one and only term of receiveing eternal life has not been met:

    Believing Jesus in His promise.

    This is enough, but you insist to add information heaped upon information.

    Someone can follow all 6 of your steps and STILL not be trusting Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. It does not necessarily follow!

    Numbers 1 - 5 in the list I just made can be taken out of ANY GOOD CREDAL STATEMENT.

    Are we to trust in the doctrines of a credal statement or trust in Jesus, the Christ, who is the Guarantor of eternal life to all who simply take Him at His word in His promise to do so?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, July 01, 2007 8:05:00 AM  

  • Antonio:

    I have been reading Hodges and your posts. I am left to conclude you men have fallen into major doctrinal error, and I do not say that lightly.

    The “Crossless” gospel is a departure from orthodoxy. Your position is as extreme and out-of-balance as I have seen from the Free Grace camp as I have seen in the opposite direction from the Lordship Salvation camp, and I reject both LS and the “Crossless” gospel.

    Your insistence that belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is to “ADD FURTHER CONDITIONS” to the Gospel for salvation and eternal life is just plain ol’ out of touch with the Scriptures.

    You have come to a “Crossless” gospel position, and it appears you are using the Bible (much like Rick Warren as Saddleback) to legitimize the position you seek to advocate.

    To dismiss the plain teaching of 1 Cor. 1:18; 2: 1-2; 15:3-4 & Romans 10:9-10 indicates to me you are out-of-balance!

    I am going to post more on the “Crossless” gospel at my site tomorrow. I am hopeful you will one day realize you have erred and can be recovered from the dangerous teaching by Hodges of a “Crossless” gospel.

    I am going to check out of this discussion.

    Kind regards,



    LM

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at Sunday, July 01, 2007 2:48:00 PM  

  • Lou,

    Who is constructing the "straw man" now?

    I preach a cross-less gospel? Maybe you didn't read this in my latest post in Free Grace Theology Blog:

    The Use and Abuse of the Gospel Message

    To which you cut and pasted the same comment you leave here.

    Listen to what I wrote:

    ----------
    Let us herald far and wide Christ's divinity, His death for sins and the resurrection. Let us proclaim Jesus' miraculous wonders, sinless life, virgin birth, and absolute righteous teachings. Let us boldly declare His holiness, power, and authority.

    But let these powerful and grand undercarriages perform their duty and not impose upon them that which their proclamation is not intended to do. The evidences given in our gospel messages are used in the hands of the Holy Spirit to convince the hearers of the claims of Christ in His gratuitous promise to impart eternal life to all who simply trust in Him to do so.

    Preach the gospel? By all means! But use if for its intended purpose: to show the authority, ability, and sufficiency of Christ to impart irrevocable eternal life to the believer in Him for it.
    ----------
    The gospel that I preach is far from being a cross-less gospel.

    The thing is, though, Lou. For you, saving faith comes by assent to a multitude of information, that, in fact, you will not even consider one saved unless they initial them all on your checklist.

    You say that the object of saving faith in your system is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. But with your position and teaching you seem to functionally deny that assertion.

    You see, a gospel message that contains the information you deem necessary has become the object of saving faith, in other words doctrine and not the Lord Jesus Christ has become your object of faith. Your creed has been granted a saving efficacy, and whoever assents to it is saved, whether or not they entrust their eternal destiny to Jesus Christ, as long as they have "prayed a prayer to receive Him".

    This is not biblical. No one is saved by mental assent to doctrine to which is added a prayer to invite Christ into one's life.

    Men and women are saved when they are convinced that Christ's promise to them is true. People are eternally secure when they entrust their eternal destiny to Jesus Christ through faith in Him in His promise.

    You have yet to describe for us why what we teach is "dangerous", Lou. You are getting into an area here that you are making serious allegations, that you may end up answering for at the judgment seat of Christ. Why is it dangerous, Lou? I have gone into great detail why someone could adhere to your position, in other words the 6 step program to saving faith, AND STILL REMAIN UNSAVED, for someone could follow all 6 of your steps and still not have believed in Jesus as the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it.

    You have been proven wrong that the gospel message of Free Grace theology is "cross-less". On the contrary, the cross and the resurrection are the center-pieces of our evangelistic presentations.

    But we contend that the object of saving faith is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, through His promise as found in John 1:12; 3:16; 4:10-14; 5:24; 6:35-40; 6:47; 11:25-27, etc.

    And the sad thing is, that not one of these verses would be sufficient to bring one to saving faith in your position, for not a single one requires an understanding of the cross or the resurrection in order to receive the absolutely free gift of eternal life.

    It is my hope and prayer that someday you will present Jesus Christ in His promise as the sole sufficient dispenser of irrevocable eternal life to the believer in him for it.

    It is in this consideration that the only book in the whole of the bible with the express, written purpose of evangelism presents Him.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, July 01, 2007 4:48:00 PM  

  • Antonio:

    This is what you wrote, "And if anyone believes Christ eternally saves them based upon His promise to do so to the believer in Him for it, I consider them saved, despite what they do or do not understand concerning Christ's person or work."

    You have gutted the gospel for salvation of its most significant biblical mandates. Your position is one that a lost man does not need to believe in Christ’s substitutionary death, His resurrection or His deity to be born again.

    What does the Bible say?

    1 Cor. 15:3-4 “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

    Romans 10:9-10 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    I have acknowledged elsewhere you/Hodges will preach the cross, but you considerate it unnecessary for the lost man to “believe that God hath raised Him from the dead.”

    But you go even further. In reference to the cross and resurrection of Christ you stated that these, “ADD FURTHER CONDITIONSADDING content to saving faith, and in the process, pointing men and women to doctrine rather than to Christ…” What you are doing here is suggesting that requiring a lost person to believe Jesus died and rose again is creating “another gospel” (Gal. 1:8-9).

    There is no No Straw Man, because while you will speak of the cross and resurrection you eliminate its importance for the lost man to acknowledge and believe these things as Romans 10:9-10 mandates. You, therefore, preach a “crossless” gospel.

    Frankly, I have wondered why you even bother with mentioning the cross and resurrection, if as you have repeatedly stated, it is not needed for conversion and for you it is adding further conditions, thereby creating “another gospel.”

    For the record I take nothing away from John’s gospel. I do not minimize, trump with other passages, or negate one “jot or tittle” of John’s Gospel.

    You are out-of-balance because you have come to the point where you appear to view John’s Gospel as trumping the rest of Scripture on salvation. Your “Crossless” gospel is a radical departure from Scripture.

    End of discussion for me! Your site, so you have the last word.


    LM

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at Sunday, July 01, 2007 6:44:00 PM  

  • Your last answer says it all, Lou.

    Your saving faith consists of believing in a death, and a resurrection. You make doctrine the object of faith and not Christ alone.

    All Christians except liberals believe these things, but we do not consider them all saved.

    I point men to Christ, you point men to a doctrinal checklist and ask them to "pray a prayer".

    I have gutted the gospel of its most significant biblical mandates?

    The only mandate that I can find concerning the salvation of man in the whole of the Bible is:

    "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" (Acts 16:30, 31).

    I have written extensively on 1 Cor 15:3ff to which you have not replied to my arguments in the least.

    The Difference Between a Gospel Presentation and the Offer (Promise) of Eternal Life

    The Use and Abuse of the Gospel Message

    Another Look at 1 Cor 15:3ff / The Pauline Gospel

    I have written about Romans 10:9, 10 to which you still have not answered to my arguments or questions:

    Does Romans 10:9, 10 Teach that One Must Understand the Resurrection for Eternal Life?

    I have proven that the disciples, the Samaratans, and others in the Gospel of John were saved apart from understanding Christ's death on the cross and apart from believing in His resurrection (they even flatly denied it!) and have shown that John wrote his gospel to show that men and women today get saved the same way those in his narrative did!. His gospel was one of the last two books written in the canon. Did he forget to include your essential biblical mandates when he expressly, precisely, and clearly presented the terms of receiveing eternal life in his gospel?

    Must One Understand Christ's Death for Sin to Be Born Again?

    Lou,

    I have spent countless hours developing a very strong argument on many different fronts. I have spent time in the text of Scripture and in exegesis. I have been in the Greek and have carefully made my case.

    You on the other hand have asserted much, proof-texted, and have yet to present a case for your position.

    Your charges keep evolving. They started with:

    "Are you saying that someone can be born again apart from understanding the cross of Christ for sin?"

    I showed that this was the case with OT saints, with those whom Christ ministered to in the gospels, and the disciples themselves.

    Then you made it hinge on two other scriptures: 1 Cor 15:3ff and Romans 10:9, 10. I have written extensively on them. I have answered to everyone of your assertions and questions, but you have not shown the same consideration.

    You assert much but haven't laid out a single argument.

    You quote Scripture as if it alone contradicts my position, yet you do so without an exegetical argument ensuing from the scripture.

    As if the mere referencing of a text proves anything, my friend.

    Next you charge that I preach a cross-less gospel, which is a straw-man par excellence.

    We have shown that to be untrue.

    The gospel I preach heralds passionately the deity of Christ, the death and resurrection of Christ, and numerous other details as well.

    But your real contention is that I don't offer as the content of saving faith a series of doctrinal (hamartiology and Christology) affirmations. I don't present a pile of information that must be believed in order for one to be truly born again.

    I preach the gospel. THEN I present the promise of Jesus Christ to give irrevocable eternal life to all who simply believe in Him to do so.

    You call this a radical departure from scripture? I trow not.

    You say you frankly wonder why I preach the gospel. I am on record in all the aforementioned posts that I linked to above why I do. The elements in a gospel presentation present Christ as trustworthy, able, authoratative, and sufficient as the sole Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it. He is worthy of our faith, He is qualified as our Savior, He is able to make good on His promise, and He is trustworthy so that we can entrust our eternal destiny to Him.

    Imagine the final judgment, Lou. If you are right, here is a possible scenario before Jesus Christ.

    A man is standing before Jesus Christ who did not understand Christ's death on the cross for sins or His resurrection. But having read the gospel of John and hearing Jesus' promise, he entrusted his eternal destiny to Christ by believing into Jesus through His promise to guarantee eternal life to all who believe in Him for it.

    When he stands before Christ, He will say to this man:

    You entrusted your eternal destiny to Me. You regarded me as the authoratative, sufficient, and unique Personage who dispenses eternal life to all who believed in Me for it. You believed into me as the Resurrection and the Life.

    But because you did not understand the payment I made for sins, or how my Resurrection substantiated my substitutionary sacrifice, I must now send you to hell.

    You did not follow all the steps and biblical mandates that I gave in order for you to go to heaven. Yes, you believed in Me for eternal life. But you lacked ADDITIONAL faith and understanding in my Person and Work. You must now go to hell.

    This is the reductio ad absurdem of your position, Lou.

    Imagine someone trusting in the name of Jesus Christ but Christ letting him down!

    "...and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31)

    Christ's "name" is everything who He actually is. This "name" represents everything who He TRULY is. Fill in ALL true Christology here: Everything that the Bible reveals Jesus to truly be and have done and everything that Jesus truly is that is not revealed in the Bible (including His substitionary death and resurrection)

    It is by virtue of His "name" (everything that He truly is and has done) that we can have eternal life. It is who He is and what He has done that has qualified Him as the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it. It is His name that gives Him the authority and the ability to dispense eternal life.

    Jesus is uniquely qualified to dispense eternal life by virtue of His name. On this authority He may dispense it to whomever He wishes. It is through His wisdom and council with God the Father that they have decided to dispense eternal life to those and only those who believe in Jesus for this gift.

    John 1:12
    But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

    Acts 4:12
    Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

    1 John 3:23
    And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ

    Matt 12:21
    And in His name Gentiles will trust.

    John 3:18
    He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

    Acts 10:43
    To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.

    When we believe in the "name" of Jesus Christ for eternal life through the persuasion of the content of the gospel message, we are believing in Him in who He truly is in all capacities, whether or not we understand them or not.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, July 01, 2007 8:44:00 PM  

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