The "doctrinal checklist" advocates' position on saving faith consists of believing in a death, and a resurrection, along with other, what they would consider orthodox, information. They make doctrine the object of faith and not Christ alone. For a lack of understanding of various teachings about Jesus, the "doctrinal checklist" advocates would relegate a believer in Jesus Christ to hell, even though that believer entrusted his/her eternal destiny completely into the hands of the Savior.
The "doctrinal checklist" advocates insist that the objects of their evangelism initial at each step so that they can be saved. A typical checklist would go as follows:
[ ] Do you agree that you are a sinner?
[ ] Do you agree that because of your sin you deserve hell?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus is fully God?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus is fully man?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus was sinless?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus' death was substitionary for sins?
[ ] Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead?
[ ] Do you believe that this resurrection was physical?
To this lesson in 'orthodox' doctrine, the "checklist evangelist" adds this invitation:
[ ] Do you understand that you must assent to all this information for forgiveness?
[ ] Do you repent of what you used to believe?
[ ] Pray this 'sinnner's prayer'
[ ] Do you believe what you said in the 'sinner's prayer' from your heart?
If the potential convert can initial at each of these places, the "doctrinal checklist" advocate would consider such a one saved.
Let me make something clear. Adherence and belief in each of these things falls short of receiving eternal life. Trust alone into Jesus alone for the gift of eternal life is not the necesary result of assent to each of these doctrines and steps to salvation. It is abundantly clear that one can check off each of these statements and still not believe Jesus' simple promise to give eternal life to the one who takes Him at His word for it.
All Christians except liberals would initial at each of the doctrinal points above, but we do not consider them all saved. Why? Because most of them are involved in some kind of works-righteousness.
Free Grace advocates point men to Christ in His promise. The "checklist evangelists" point men to a doctrinal checklist and then ask them to "pray a prayer". There is not one example in all of Bible of such a thing. Asking men and women to pray a prayer is as unscriptural as baptismal regeneration.
When Jesus evangelized, He directed men to faith into Him through His promises. He did not have them jump through theological hoops and a multitude of steps as necessary components of receiving eternal life.
The "checklist soteriologists" say 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 16:31).
I have written extensively on 1 Cor 15:3ff to which Lou Martuneac has 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 Lou Martunieac 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?
Has the Gospel of John failed to specifically and precisely express the terms of receiving eternal life? If so, John failed in his purpose (John 20:31)!
To the more information needed, "checklist evangelists", including Lou Martuneac:
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.
The "checklist evangelists" on the other hand have asserted much, proof-texted, and have yet to present a case for their position. Their 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 they 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 their assertions and questions, but they have not shown the same consideration. They assert much but haven't laid out a single argument.
They 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!
Next they charge that I preach a cross-less gospel, which is a straw-man par excellence. It is nothing but a canard!
We have shown it 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 their real contention is that I don't offer as the content of saving faith a series of doctrinal (hamartiology and Christology and soteriology) 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.
They call this a radical departure from scripture? I trow not.
They say they 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. 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 their position.
Imagine someone trusting in the name of Jesus Christ but Christ letting him down! GOD FORBID!
"...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.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name
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
And in His name Gentiles will trust.
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
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.