[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)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Are you comfortable using John 3:16?

by Antonio da Rosa

John 3:16 is one of the most beloved verses in the whole Bible. The one who "believes in" Jesus will not perish but receives everlasting life. We have done some discussion about what Jesus meant when He said "believe in" Him over at my blog:

Free Grace Theology Blog: Are We Robbed of John 3:16? What Does 'believing in' Jesus Really Mean?

Here are a couple of excerpts:

When we use the colloquial expression "I believe in [somebody or something]" or "I trust [somebody or something]" it is shorthand for a much more precise and specific articulation. If I said, "I believe in the airline pilot" or equally it could be stated, "I trust the airline pilot," the intended meaning is clear: "I believe that the airline pilot is qualified and will get me from point a to point b safely." Or it could equally be articulated as, "I trust the airline pilot is qualified and will get me to my destination safely." In all of this it is important to note that each time we use the phrases, "I believe in _______," and "I trust ________," we have a specific content in mind, in other words, we are believing and trusting in someone/something for something specific and precise.


If I said the expression, "I trust the babysitter" it does not mean that I trust her in everything! I would not entrust her with my taxes or rely upon her for medical diagnosis. Nor does it imply that I know everything (or even the most major things!) about her that makes her qualified. It simply means that I have (through whatever communication or consideration) been persuaded that she is trustworthy. Obviously what is intended by this somewhat general sounding expression is in reality something very specific and precise: "I believe that the babysitter is well-qualified and able to sufficiently care for my children in a mature, responsible, and safe manner." We cannot take this any other way! These types of phrases are not used in any other way. These somewhat general sounding phrases are colloquial and in actuality convey implied, specific content based upon the context of the situation in which they are expressed and/or the named object(s) itself/themselves.


What is “believing in” Jesus shorthand for? What is the specific content of that belief? In a nutshell, according to the context, "believing in Jesus" means believing that Jesus gives me eternal life and I will not perish, or equally, trusting in Jesus for eternal life and deliverance from perishing. Essentially, “believing in Jesus” is entrusting one’s eternal destiny to Him; it is certain reliance upon Him for the promised result. It really is this simple, and as such lies unencumbered by any additional caveats or qualifications.

Much like:

A) Believing in the babysitter = trusting the welfare of your children into the hands of the babysitter, and

B) Believing in the airline pilot = trusting your own welfare into the hands of the airline pilot


Believing in Jesus = trusting your eternal welfare into the hands of Jesus


Jesus didn't intend by using the phrase "believ[ing] in" Him to include His deity, death, or resurrection as matters of saving faith when He spoke the words of John 3:16 (as well as John 5:24; 6:35-40, 47; 11:25-27) to His audience (in this case, Nicodemus). Using the principles of plain, normal, and literal hermeneutics, we come to the conclusion that these evangelistic communications were used by Jesus (and thus inscribed for us by the Apostle John) in a way foreign than how many evangelicals would use them today. When they say that the lost must "beleive in" Jesus to be "saved", they mean much more than what Jesus meant.

Jesus, whose words "are spirit, and are life" (John 6:63), and who has "the words of everlasting life" (John 6:68), made these evangelistic utterances with specific import, simply relating to His audiences that whoever believes in Him (in other words, entrusts their eternal destiny to Him) shall never perish but receives, as an immediate and irrevocable possession, eternal life. To this condition many traditional Christians add, in all reality, a number of complex theological requirements. Therefore the evangelistic passages of John, which we all know, and have been dearly loved over the centuries, are insufficient witnesses to Jesus' soteriological program in traditional Christians' estimation.

Furthermore, for traditional Christians to use them would be confusing, for what Jesus meant by "believe in Me" (which is a condition that once fulfilled is the intermediate agency through which one receives everlasting life) is not considered saving faith by them. Traditional Christians either have to import foreign meaning into the texts themselves (inserting extrinsic data into the meaning of "believ[ing] in" Jesus), or supplement them, when, indeed, Jesus spoke them they were sufficient, self-contained, authoritative decrees providing for His audiences the unadulterated condition for receiving eternal life.

My questions to you are these:

1) Are you comfortable using John 3:16 in your evangelism? Why?
2) Can you sincerely use John 3:16 in light of your theology?

I will offer my answers first:

I am very comfortable using John 3:16 because I believe that men and women get saved the same way that they got saved when Jesus said His beloved evangelistic expressions found in the gospel of John: simply by believing in Him. I am convinced that Jesus' words are still spirit and life. I am deeply persuaded that Jesus' utterances that have been inscribed for us by the Apostle John are still the words of everlasting life.

What about you? Do you believe that Jesus still has the words of everlasting life?

22 Comments:

  • Jesus didn't intend by using the phrase "believ[ing] in" Him to include His deity, death, or resurrection as matters of saving faith when He spoke the words of John 3:16
    Really, I don't see that explicitly stated in the text so how did you conclude that?

    When they say that the lost must "beleive in" Jesus to be "saved", they mean much more than what Jesus meant
    Really, where did Jesus specifically state what he meant for you to criticize traditional Christianity with such certainty? You make a claim but I see no actual proof. My 4 year old can make claims; evidence please.

    simply relating to His audiences that whoever believes in Him (in other words, entrusts their eternal destiny to Him) shall never perish but receives, as an immediate and irrevocable possession, eternal life
    Where did Jesus explicity state that you must consider the gift irrevocable, or unreturnable? When he says "he who believes in me" one could easily read that, and some do, to mean that they only have the gift as long as they continue to believe since, after all, that is literally what Jesus said. I don't believe that personally but you make an unsupported claim and appear to be reading a great deal of your own bias into a verse that simply isn't as clear, on it's own, as you make it out to be.

    Therefore the evangelistic passages of John, which we all know, and have been dearly loved over the centuries, are insufficient witnesses to Jesus' soteriological program in traditional Christians' estimation.
    Not true, we just believe that context is important and would explain it. John 3:16 is immensely useful but Jesus didn't just rattle off that verse in a vacuum so why should we think we can?

    Jesus spoke them they were sufficient, self-contained, authoritative decrees providing for His audiences the unadulterated condition for receiving eternal life.

    Nice claim, what's your evidence?

    Are you comfortable using John 3:16 in your evangelism? Why?
    Yes, with explanation as even you would need to do when explaining this verse to your child. i.e. They have some concept of who God is, who his son is, what it means that was given, what it means to "believe in" him, what it means to perish, and what it means to have everlasting life. Even your minimalist view seems to require a fairly hefty laundry list of content for John 3:16 to be meaningful.

    Can you sincerely use John 3:16 in light of your theology?
    Yep.

    What about you? Do you believe that Jesus still has the words of everlasting life?
    Yes.

    By Blogger knetknight, at Wednesday, November 21, 2007 8:03:00 PM  

  • This explanation of what "believing in Jesus" means is what seperates the belief held by the child of God, and the belief of the demons who "also believed." A demon, a fallen angel, cannot believe in Christ the way a believer does, as Christ's provision of eternal life was not offered to the angels who fell. They cannot say "I believe Christ can take me from 'point A' to 'point B'." (Point A being the path to destruction, point B being the path to eternal life.) The child of God however, can claim that, and that is why I am very comfortable using John 3:16 when explaining the Gospel to someone. Jesus Christ came to give us eternal life, and to save those who are perishing, because of His love, and the love of His Father for a world that does not deserve it.

    This verse points directly to Jesus Christ and what He did in order to give us eternal life. What did he do? He died on the cross. But what is it that saves someone? Believing that what Jesus Christ has the power to get us from "Point A" to "Point B." Any gospel message that adds works to this picture, detracts from the glory of Christ, as it claims that what He did wasn't enough.

    John 3:16 is more than sufficient to explain the Gospel, as it proclaims Jesus Christ, the Messiah, as the only person capable of saving our perishing world.

    By Blogger IndweltDaughter, at Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:28:00 PM  

  • knetknight,

    Thanks for your comments. I am glad that you are involving yourself in matters of Free Grace theology. This is quite significant in light of the fact that you made this comment on Lou Martuneac's blog a few days ago:

    "Back in June, when Wilkin visited our church, I would have claimed without batting an eye that I was on the Lordship side of the aisle. The truth is that I have come to realize that I wouldn't have had any real idea what I was talking about back then.

    You further state in that comment that you are questioning your 4 point Calvinist stance.

    I am very glad that you are pursuing truth on these things and that you align yourself with Free Grace theology, albeit the traditional position.

    Now to answer some of your questions. Since Jesus did not reveal His death and resurrection until about 2 1/2 years later (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33) we can conclude that Jesus did not reveal these things Nicodemus.

    Jesus' disciples believed in Him very early in His ministry (John 2:11). They had not heard of Jesus' death and resurrection at this point (let alone understand it when they did hear of it about 3 years later, cf. Luke 9:45). Therefore, the content of "believing in" Him apparantly excluded any idea of His death and resurrection. Now as pertaining His deity, my argument for that can be lengthy, but let it suffice as a small token that even after almost three years of being with Jesus the disciples did not "know" him (in one of its fluid, polymorphic senses):

    John 14:9
    9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
    NKJV

    As pertaining your question about the gift, I suppose the words "shall not perish" and "have ever-lasting life" is insufficient? Ever-lasting life is just that: everlasting. If it is merely provisional life, contingent upon a linear faith, it is no longer a gift and has the wrong name. How can someone legitimately have "ever-lasting life" and lose it?

    Let me ask you a point blank question:

    Do you understand Jesus' communication to His audiences in the Gospel of John whereby He commanded them to "believe in" Him has the same import as you, yourself employ it? Rather dubious.

    You write:
    Not true, we just believe that context is important and would explain it. John 3:16 is immensely useful but Jesus didn't just rattle off that verse in a vacuum so why should we think we can?

    Now what context do you include to conclude that Jesus meant anything but simply trusting Him for life? How is it that you can tell me that when Jesus said "believe in" Me that He meant what you would have Him say? You cannot do it.

    If I said to you, "I loved you so much that I worked very hard for a large sum of money that if you trust me you will not go bankrupt but will have your bills paid." Is that not a self-contained, explanatory statement? It is the same with John 3:16. The one who simply trusts Jesus will not perish but has everlasting life.

    You write:
    Even your minimalist view seems to require a fairly hefty laundry list of content for John 3:16 to be meaningful.

    This is really off the mark. Fairly hefty?

    Whoever trusts their eternal well-being into the hands of Jesus will not perish in hell but live forever with God.

    This is not hefty, and is very clear and concise. This statement is very understandable.

    Let me ask you another question:

    What did Jesus intend to convey when He used the phrase "believe in" Him? If what He meant when He said those words do not match up with what you say saving faith is, then you use John 3:16 and other such evangelistic verses either confusedly or insincerely.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:53:00 PM  

  • Indweltdaugher,

    I appreciate your comments and I find them very helpful. After reading your comments twice, I can't say that I disagree with them (although I hold the right to at a later date express my disagreements with them) :)

    Thanks for visiting our blog!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, November 21, 2007 10:56:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Good scholarship interacts with theological articles concerning the topic at hand. Good scholarship interacts with opposing positions. Good scholarship explains "problem passages". Good scholarship interacts in these kinds of ways. You loose alot of credibility by not doing this. Quite frankly, I can't take your position seriously if you are unwilling or unable to defend it against my article "The Three Resurrection Signs of the Savior". You are one of the most outspoken proponents and advocates of Zane Hodges and the Grace Evangelical Society (GES). Of all people, you should be the one interacting with articles such as mine. Half of my article was interacting with a lengthy quote by Zane Hodges. All I see from you is one sided rehash from the first half of John's gospel. And furthermore, I really don't see you taking verses in their contexts or even exegeting them for that matter. I think your hermaneutics are deplorable and doubt any serious student of God's Word will take you seriously. In fact, I'm suprised you take your own beliefs seriously! If someone emailed me a theological article (as I did) and I was unwilling or unable to interact with it, I would start to dialogue with the author and try to understand where he is coming from. Unfortunately, you remind me of the Pharisees who were "unable to answer Him a word" (Mt. 23:46; Mk. 3:4; Lk. 14:1-6; cf. Acts 6:10).

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 7:46:00 AM  

  • Jonathan,

    In the past I have found you honorable and a man keeping his integrity. Why are you risking such by accusing me of wrongdoing and personally attacking me? This is not the way to go about Christian dialogue, and is anything but Christ-honoring.

    I have read your treatise and found that a response would not be the best use of my time. Your article, along with Tom Stegall's articles, would take too much of my time to correct. I just don't have that kind of time. I find the thesis of your paper insupportable.

    Now if you want to break it down for me and condense your argument into a 1-3 page treatment, I would be happy to respond. But as of reading your article, your conclusions just did not follow your argumentation and I do not wish to spend the time it would take to interact with it that would have me re-inventing the wheel in order to respond.

    Your comments show a real lack of maturity, Jonathan, and I had come to expect much more from you.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 8:18:00 AM  

  • Happy Thanksgiving

    By Blogger Gojira, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 9:29:00 AM  

  • Doug,

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well! Hey, I would really love talking to you about the book you purchased and read on rewards. Give me a call, or send me an email with your number and I will call you:

    agdarosa@cox.net

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 9:39:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    First, posting my article as you specifically agreed to do takes very little time! In fact, you wouldn't have to interact with it at all!

    Second, you said:

    "Now if you want to break it down for me and condense your argument into a 1-3 page treatment, I would be happy to respond."

    I have been doing exactly that ever since I created my blog and you have yet to interact with me regarding my condensed blog articles! I know you are aware of my blog since you were my very first visitor! I'm sure you understand I cannot help but question the sincerity of your statements.

    I have been trying to reason with you for weeks to no avail! I feel like the Dateline correspondant who's been trying unsuccessfully to get an interview with Benny Hinn for three years!

    Do you really want to be known as the person who "answered him not a word"?

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 10:50:00 AM  

  • Jonathan,

    I have never posted an 18 page paper in the over 2 years I have been blogging. I am not going to to that now.

    I have spoken as to your thesis. The first glaring thing is that your conclusion does not follow your arguments or data. That is the hugest thing. Your insistence that the death and resurrection of Christ are now additions to what it means to "believe in" Him does not necessarily follow your arguements, even if I were to stipulate the correctness of them for the sake of argument, which I will not.

    I re-read your 18 pages again this morning, just to see if there was something substantial I could comment on. What must I say? Your conclusions do not follow your arguments. Furthermore, your arguments supporting your conclusion have many holes which I found showing a lack of exegetical care and deductive logic; non sequitors plague the paper.

    In your conclusion, you quote Merril Tenney:

    "the signs are the basis of belief; the person of Christ is the object of faith, and eternal life is the result of belief"

    Even if I were to stipulate, for the sake of argument, that the signs John has in mind in John 20:30-31 are post resurrection appearances (which I will not stiputlate otherwise), I would agree with his assessment.

    The signs are the basis of faith. They are the authenticating proofs that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, guaranteeing eternal life to all who simply believe in Him.

    Your reasoning from your arguments does not provide a necessary certitude of your conclusion. I believe my position better, more simply, and with greater clarity accounts for all the available data in the gospel of John.

    Your 18 page paper failed to do what John could have done in a mere sentence or two: modify the understanding of saving faith that he went into great detail expounding for us in the first 12 chapters of His treatise, in other words, what it means to "believe in" Him. Your 18 page paper failed to do what John could have done iin a mere sentence or two: qualify what it means to soterically believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (the faith bringing everlasting life) which he had already defined for us in the first 12 chapters of His gospel.

    Is there an apology forthcoming from you because of your personal attacks upon me? I have been nothing but cordial and polite with you. I have also responded in a Christ-honoring way to your petitions for supplication for your friend Vince. I have not deserved your spite.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 12:25:00 PM  

  • Jonathan,
    This dispute is between you and Antonio, but as you are discussing it publicly, and since it concerns a public issue, I want to say publicly that you are clearly in the right. Antonio's actions in this case have been less than honorable. I observed you asking and asking and posting and posting to him about the issue, and he completely ignored you, and this after he had apparently previously agreed to post your paper. If he thought it was too long to post at his blog, surely he could have mentioned that the first time he saw the paper, and instead he could have linked to it in order to fulfill at least the spirit of his commitment to you. Yet he did neither of these and simply and rudely ignored you. Antonio has essentially said to you, "Since your paper doesn't agree with me, it is obviously wrong, but I don't have the time to prove why." I am quite sure Antonio would never accept such responses as valid from his opponents.

    Jonathan, your patience with and kindness toward Antonio has been extremly Christ-like, more than most would do. IMO the only one who should be offering an apology here is Antonio.

    By Blogger Rachel, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 8:06:00 PM  

  • Regarding this article and the questions, YES I am perfectly comfortable using John 3:16, and I can use it completely sincerely. The reason is because it is still true. Whoever "believes in" Jesus will receive everlasting life. Of course it takes explanation and context to define what it means to "believe in" Jesus, just as it did when Jesus spoke these words. But they are just as true then as they are now. Nicodemus still needed to believe that he was a sinner and separated from God, that Jesus as the Messiah was God and would take care of his sin problem once and for all (unlike the Passover which had to be performed each year). The only difference between Nicodemus and us today is that we know the specifics of HOW Jesus the Messiah took care of our sin problem (His death and resurrection).

    By Blogger Rachel, at Thursday, November 22, 2007 8:13:00 PM  

  • Rachel,

    Thank you for your objectivity. I see that you link to my blog and thank you for that as well. You are right, I feel frustrated that Antonio ignored me for weeks and now will not honor the agreement I thought we had.

    Antonio, I am letting the readership of my blog weigh in on how I should proceed regarding this issue. And to answer your question about an apology from me, I feel the same as Rachel and Rose (see my blog for Rose's comments).

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Friday, November 23, 2007 9:52:00 PM  

  • John 3:16 presents the core of the gospel anyone believing Jesus in this verse knows they will not perish and has eternal life. They are believing in the right Person "The Christ" for the right thing "eternal life."


    Jonathan
    IMO this is hitting below the belt.
    You said:
    Unfortunately, you remind me of the Pharisees who were "unable to answer Him a word" (Mt. 23:46; Mk. 3:4; Lk. 14:1-6; cf. Acts 6:10).

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, November 24, 2007 1:18:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    1) It is far from universally accepted that John was written primarily to unbelievers.

    2) Even if it was, textual clues and John's late date support the idea that John was written to people who were already familiar at some level with Christian terms and concepts, that he was building upon knowledge they already had.

    3) It's debatable that Jesus even spoke j3:16, bur rather that it was John injecting hindsight. I'm not decided on this but I can see the argument. It goes something like this: The verse is past tense and third person.

    4) John 3:16 says nothing about whether the believer/receiver must understand that the gift can never be lost. If I give you an everlasting gobstopper, but you lose it, the gift itself remains forever, but you can still lose posession of it. Reading John 3:16 as a self-contained message, void of add'l context as you suggest it was intended, one could logically read "whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" to mean that I only have everlasting life so long as I continue to believe. I don't hold that view, but the point is that j3:16 does not explicitly state that you must be convinced that you can't lose, or surrender, the gift later. I'm not talking about "works", I'm talking about simply fulfilling your end of John 3:16... believing. Cease to believe and one could argue, in the vacuum of context that you argue for, that j3:16 says you cease to receive as well. Again, my point is only that it doesn't explicitly say, so you're in a jam to include "security" as necessary content based on your claim that j3:16 was intended to be a self-contained message.

    Ironically, you claim it's the TFG camp that can't use j3:16 sincerely but I see it exactly the opposite. Refined/crossless theology basically dumps the first half of j3:16 as content and hyper-focuses on just the promise at the end whereas TFG believes j3:16 is useful, sincerely explained in it's entirety.

    you said:Whoever trusts their eternal well-being into the hands of Jesus will not perish in hell but live forever with God.

    This is not hefty, and is very clear and concise. This statement is very understandable.


    Ah, but that's NOT all j3:16 says. How can you claim to use it sincerely when you drop the Holy Spirit inspired content at the beginning of the very verse you claim is a self-contained message? Your non-adherence to your own claim reveals that it's RFG/crossless theology that can't use the verse sincerely, not the other way around.

    As for your remarks about Calvinism and Lordship; Antonio, I hope this shows you that I am open to changing my mind in light of scripture. For this very reason I get quite miffed when talking to someone else who is emphatic that I be willing to change my mind when they are clearly not willing to do so themselves. I'm not accusing you of that, just explaining. I'm not a wet noodle but I am teachable and will yield to the truth of scripture when revealed.

    I intend to comment/reply to some of the other things you said later but time is up for now, gotta run.

    By Blogger knetknight, at Saturday, November 24, 2007 9:32:00 AM  

  • Yes, Antonio. I am very comfortable using John 3:16 in my gospel presentation. That is the gospel in a nutshell.

    It is because I believe the gospel offer is genuinely available for all. I don't interpret "the world" as "the world of the elect" or some other contorted interpretation. The gospel promise is towards all who simply believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation.

    I would bank my eternal life on this verse alone. "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling" states an old hymn. We have nothing to offer, but Jesus has everything to give us freely. We don't deserve it; He deserves the glory!

    By Blogger Ender, at Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:10:00 AM  

  • Hey Antonio.

    I remembered the following quote by Paris Reidhead when you brought up this question:

    "If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on the public preaching of 'the plan of salvation' in America for one or two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airwaves and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God and the Law of God until sinners would cry out, "What must we do to be saved?" Then I would take them off into a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved. Don't use John 3:16. Why? Because you tell a sinner how to be saved before he realized that he needs to be saved. You have gospel-hardened him."

    I remembered this quote from reading "The Way of the Master" by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. How would you respond?

    By Blogger Ender, at Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:27:00 AM  

  • This was written on Jonathan's blog in the comments section:

    Jonathan,

    What is the deal with this post and thread? It is really bizarre.

    You are wondering about me?

    Through our emails, even very recently within the past week, I have encouraged you to call me. You have my phone number and I have asked for your call so that we can discuss the things at hand. Yet you have not taken me up on my offer to call me and yet you write these posts?

    The tact you have taken is childish. Case in point:

    To date, Antonio has yet to post my article on his blog! I will be adding a page element to my blog recording the number of days Antonio goes without posting my article on his blog. Antonio's mumness reminds me of the pharisees' unwillingness of answer Jesus in Mark 3:4:
    "And [Jesus] said to them, 'Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save a life or to kill?' But they kept silent."

    Grow up, Jonathan.

    Furthermore, not that I care that Jonathan has used my private emails without permission, where is Lou reprimanding Jonathan for doing so? Lou has been so quick to lambaste others along the same vein, but has failed to call bro JP out for those things which Lou finds 'illegal'.

    JP,

    You asked about apology. Whether or not you feel "frustrated" or slighted concerning me, does it give you the right to insult me and personally attack me? You have not learned Christ this way!

    I have always been available for your phone call, and indeed I have waited for such. It is sad that you go through this rigamorrow when you could have at any time called me to discuss these things.

    As always, I am avaialable and waiting for your call.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, November 25, 2007 10:56:00 AM  

  • Ender,

    Thanks for the visit.

    I don't agree with Way of the Master and that quote.

    I like to have evangelistic conversations with people. In the beginning of conversations I could say, "Jesus guarantees that you will never perish in hell but will live forever with Him if you simply believe in Him." or something similar.

    When you say such a thing it will not be uncommon for someone to state things like:

    1) Well that means that a murderer or rapist or a really bad person can go to heaven.

    2) Are you saying that my works have nothing to do with it?

    3) Does it say that in the Bible?

    4) Why can Jesus be trusted for that?

    and many other such comments.

    Such a thing is an introduction into an evangelistic conversation that will be truly interesting to the other party, because you are conversing with him about things he finds interesting. You are zeroing in on those things that he is asking about, doubts which would keep him from trusting in Christ.

    You will be able to answer questions like:

    Why do i need to be guaranteed anything?

    How can Jesus offer such a thing?

    Why don't works have anything to do about it?

    And a million other questions that helps the people we talk to understand that by simple faith in Jesus they are eternally secure.

    I hope this answers your question.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, November 25, 2007 11:06:00 AM  

  • Hi Antonio.

    Thanks for clearing things up. I also disagree with both WotM (having been through it myself) and the Reidhead quote. I just wanted to know what you'd think of either.

    Those are some good suggestions when sharing the gospel. I'm still trying to put it all together, so to speak. But thanks for your contribution.

    Grace,
    Ender

    By Blogger Ender, at Sunday, November 25, 2007 11:56:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    You can see my response to the comments you made about me over at my blog as well. But for your convenience I will also paste them here. I usually keep my comments and the dialogue of my posts over at my blog and so if I don't respond here to any more of your paste-overs, that is why.) So here is how I respond to your thoughts and comments over at my blog:

    Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to comment on my other posts as well.

    I'm sure you realize that a phone call was never part of our initial agreement or a prerequisite to posting my article on your blog. Also, a phone call in no way fulfills our agreement that you post or even link to my article.

    And about posting your emails, as you said:
    "Furthermore, not that I care that Jonathan has used my private emails without permission". These "private" emails simply substantiate an already public truth, the truth of our agreement that you have yet to fulfill.

    You said:

    "You asked about apology. Whether or not you feel "frustrated" or slighted concerning me, does it give you the right to insult me and personally attack me? You have not learned Christ this way!"

    I know you asked me to apologize in a comment on the "Unashamed of Grace" blog, but where did I ask you to apologize?

    Setting forth the facts is not a personal attack against you Antonio. Correcting you with Biblical truth is not a personal attack against you Antonio. Admonishing you as a brother is not a personal attack against you Antonio. Regardless of how you feel, please understand that a personal attack is not my intention. Now, you may feel insulted, but it's not my fault you have not honored our simple agreement!

    I guess I see my agreement with Antonio as a public issue since:

    1. The agreement concerned a public blog posting

    2. Antonio sent an email to BOTH Liam and I reminding me and encouraging me to give him something to post on his blog

    3. Antonio never said anything about "private emails" before today

    4. Antonio had no problem publicizing a personal phone conversation with Charlie Bing and even admitted that he doesn't care that I used his "private" emails without his permission

    As I see it, the only email I posted of his that could be "private" is his basically 5 word reply in which he says:

    "Sure man,

    give me something.

    Your brother,

    Antonio"

    I mean, is the guy serious? I can post my emails to him no questions asked, right? And the other email he sent to both Liam and I so that's not "private". So the only one left is his email of basically 5 words! Or am I missing something?

    Furthermore,

    I was just thinking about Antonio's 5 word email to me in which he says:

    "Sure man,

    give me something.

    Your brother,

    Antonio"

    I don't think this email can really be considered "private" either because Antonio includes it in the email he sent to both Liam and I! It seems to me that Antonio's "private"
    email(s) aren't really "private" after all!

    Jonathan Perreault
    http://www.freegracefreespeech.blogspot.com

    P.S. You are still welcome to interact at my blog, in my posts, and concerning my documents.

    By Blogger Jonathan Perreault, at Monday, November 26, 2007 5:43:00 PM  

  • Okay, Antonio, I sure will. Peace, security, and grace to you.

    By Blogger Gojira, at Monday, November 26, 2007 5:55:00 PM  

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