[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)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ignorance and Denial -- Thoughts from a Refined and Consistent Free Grace Theology Perspective

by Antonio da Rosa

NEW SUBTITLE:

The RIGHT THING in the RIGHT PERSON
The right thing: faith
in the right Person: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God

There has been much discussion concerning some form of responsibility to acknowledge Jesus as God for the purpose of a theological and/or logical condition for the reception of everlasting life. Some have argued that "ignorance" can be somewhat overlooked while "denial" of the deity of Jesus would preclude someone from receiving everlasting life, even if this person has cast himself upon the saving graces of the authorized and appointed Christ of God, Jesus of Nazareth.

I think that we all need a little more refined (pun intended) thinking on this subject. Let us test this ignorance versus denial distinction. How hard and fast are they?

Let us say that I was ignorant of the true *for the sake of argument* fact that my mom was an assassin for some secretive government agency. I am completely unaware, ignorant. In my ignorance, how free am I from denial? This is a tricky question with many swaying variables.

Two scenarios:

1) My 4th cousin asks me if my mom is a secret assassin for a secretive government agency. In my ignorance, I deny that she is.

2) My 4th cousin tells me that my mom is a secret assassin for a secretive government agency. In my ignorance, I deny that she is.

Both scenarios here show that there is no separating between ignorance and denial. In either case, ignorance of the fact produced denial. It is a hard fact to understand that God humbled himself to become a man. It is hard to understand how God can do that. It is hard to understand that God can be distinguished from Jesus of Nazareth if Jesus is God as well as God who He is distinguished from. It is hard to comprehend that if Jesus is distinguished from God yet is God how God can be two (let alone three) Persons yet be only one God! So when someone understands Jesus to have lived a life as a human his very first answer to the question, "Is Jesus God?" will be a denial of that fact because of his ignorance. Even when told that Jesus is God, his very first impression in his ignorance will be denial!

Maybe you will come back and say that the difference is that in #2 the denial is addressed to a specific assertion that such is true. I will give you that distinction. But it fails to be germane to this discussion, at any rate, for unless there is information to persuade me in either scenario that my mom is indeed an assassin, in my ignorance, I will deny it! Whether I am asked if my mom is an assassin, or am told that she is, if I am not persuaded that she is, in my ignorance I will deny it!

Let us add some more information to the #2 scenario.

Let us say that after my initial denial, my cousin said that she saw my mom talking to the CIA. And for the sake of argument, let us also say that I find my cousin totally trustworthy in her communications.

Is this enough information to convince me? There could be multitudes of reasons why my mom could have been talking to the CIA.

What if my cousin told me that my mom owns 3 guns, or that my mom has information about various terrorists on her computer. Would this be enough information to persuade me?

What if I agreed that the evidence was true but denied it had the same meaning as my cousin attributed to it?

Listen, there will have to be a whole lot of persuasive evidence to convince me that my mom is an assassin for the government! She is 66 years old, 5'4'', and doesn't move too quick. She lives in town with me and I see her often... So many other considerations and thoughts I have about my mom would preclude me from easy persuasion that she is an assassin for the government.

The things I know about my mom will act as a defense to me coming to the conclusion that my mom is an assassin. The evidence will have to be much stronger for me to believe that my mom is an assassin than it potentially would have to be for someone who doesn't know my mom as well.

Not everyone will come to the same conclusions about evidences and proof-texts. Are we going to shut the kingdom of God to people who haven't been persuaded that Jesus is God? If they are convinced that Jesus is authorized and appointed of God to be God's Christ, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of eternal life to all who believe in Him, why would we consider this one as going to hell? He has believed in Jesus! And Jesus said, "Most assuredly I say to you, whoever believes in Me has everlasting life".

Why are you going to argue with the lost about their interpretation of the Bible concerning the deity of Christ? I am not saying that it will never be appropriate, but could you be doing more harm then good? Why not show Jesus of Nazareth to be the authorized of God, made to be both Lord and the Christ, the Savior of the world, the one appointed by God, the one ordained of God, to dispense eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it? Shall not the deep things such as Christ's eternal sonship, the Trinity, and the hypostatic union be things reserved as meat for those who by virtue of their maturity and experience be able to digest such?

In my last post, Is faith in Jesus of Nazareth Saving Faith?, we saw the scenario of someone who believed that the Bible was true but wasn't persuaded that Jesus was God. He denies that Jesus is God, because of, among many other things, the texts that clearly distinguish Jesus of Nazareth from God. It is not that he is denying certain texts used by those who say that Jesus is God, but he is under the impression that those texts have another meaning other than that Jesus is God. This could be likened to the above scenario in the sense that my mom talking to the CIA could have a number of legitimate meanings to it. What this person has done, has chosen to interpret those passages that seem to state that Jesus is God with the spectacles and understanding that in many passages that Jesus of Nazareth is distinguished from God, receives His authority from God, and has been appointed by God to be Lord and Christ. Therefore, he believes his interpretation of the Bible.

Sidebar: Those who are Lordship Salvation. I believe that most of you are sincere and honestly believe the Bible, ALL that it says. I would hope that you would afford me the same benefit. I wholeheartedly believe the Bible. What seems so clear to you in your interpretation of the bible is thoroughly erroneous in my estimation, and vice-versa. Just because someone ends up on the wrong end of the doctrine that Jesus is God does not mean that he doesn't believe the Bible! What you say is clear could be quite murky at best to some other guy.

If someone believed that the Bible was true, yet was not persuaded that Jesus was God, denying this fact, because this person attributed other meaning to the "evidences" of Jesus' deity than we would, based upon his impression of the scriptures that distinguish God from Jesus of Nazareth, whereby God endues Jesus with power, gives Him authority, and appoints Him as the Christ, yet, nevertheless, entrusts Jesus of Nazareth with his eternal well-being, his eternal destiny, who in his mind is God's Christ, authorized to give eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it, why would you say that this man is unsaved? His denial that Jesus is God did not preclude him from believing in Jesus of Nazareth for eternal life. His denial that Jesus is God did not preclude him from trusting Jesus for irrevocable eternal well-being. I think that in more ways than one that the above scenarios correspond to the circumstances of the disciples when they were born again. If one was to ask one of the disciples, "is Jesus God" shortly after they had believed that He was the Christ, the Savior of the World, they would have said, "No," denying this doctrine in their ignorance.

There is a lot more careful thinking needed on this consideration, and I am convinced that many of you are falling trap to the traditional paradigms that have stuck as unquestionable orthodoxy in your minds yet without biblical support.

If someone trusts in Jesus of Nazareth for eternal life, they will not ever be left disappointed.

Antonio

22 Comments:

  • Would you say they have to understand that He is "of Nazareth"? Why not "of God" - is that not more important.

    I see the Christ as the one true God, preordained - manifest unto us in this day and age - so that our faith and hope are in the one true God. I see that we can only believe in the one true God through Him.

    1 Peter 1:20-21
    20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 1:59:00 PM  

  • It is highly demonstrable that someone can believe that Jesus is "of God" and not believe that He is God.

    In truth, I want people to believe alot of things about Jesus. But I am aware that they may not do so until they have believed in Jesus for their eternal well-being, whereby they will be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who in time, can lead them into all truths that may be too hard for the unregenerate mind.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 3:26:00 PM  

  • Fantastic article Antonio!

    By Blogger Danny, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 3:32:00 PM  

  • Antonio -

    Well put. However, my point is that I don't really think you believe "of Nazareth" is necessary....am I right? I would say someone could believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God thereby acknowledging His deity and not be aware that He is from Nazareth. However, I do believe that in order to believe in Christ one must hear the gospel, that this Jesus they are placing their trust in as God is the same Jesus who died on the cross and rose again from the dead - through THIS Jesus one's faith and hope are in the one true God.

    Exactly how does one, in your thinking, delimit this Jesus who guarantees eternal life? Can one believe in someone like Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda - who claims to be Jesus, claims to be one with Jesus of Nazareth, claims to be divine, offers eternal life and has a 666 tattoo on his arm?

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/16/miami.preacher/

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 5:48:00 PM  

  • Very interesting article, Jon. I didn't read where this man says that he offers eternal life.

    To answer your question, the Jesus that one is to put their faith in is the Jesus of the New Testament. There are several qualifying features to Jesus found in the New Testament. The man you left an article about does not share in any of the unique references to Jesus of Nazareth from the New Testament. I find your article to be a red herring, Jon. I think that the consistency of your new theology is experiencing some insurmountable problems.

    Faith is to be in the Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament, and we all could tell if someone was referencing Him or not

    When the Apostles spoke in the book of Acts, they delimited Jesus by referencing Him as "Jesus of Nazareth" in their speaches. This was also a designation of the Christ in each of the four gospels.

    When we last had this discussion, Jon, you had a different soteriology. But I left a comment/question for you on that thread, which you never got around to answering. I understand that all of it will not be germane to you anymore, with your new soteriology, but I think that it is profitable enough to post the whole thing:

    taken from the comments section of: Will the real Jesus please stand up? (this is a greater post that has already answered your question)

    Jon,

    Many things can delimit identification of Jesus. But as this post has argued, only one UNIQUE reference is all that is needed to delimit identification.

    Let me pose yet another question for you:

    Let us say that I believe Jesus:

    1) Was born in Bethlehem
    2) Mother's name was Mary
    3) Was tempted by Satan
    4) Walked on water
    5) Healed the sick
    6) Gave sight to a blind man who had been blind from birth
    7) Turned water into wine
    8) Cast out demons
    9) Raised Lazarus from the dead
    10) said to an adulteress caught in the act, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more"
    11) of the tribe of Judah
    12) line of David

    and believed his promise:

    "Most assuredly I say to you, whosoever believes in Me has eternal life."

    In other words, I believe that the Jesus who did these things is the Christ, and my Savior, and that through faith alone I have eternal life. Yet I do not know and/or understand He is God.

    You would believe me unsaved and on my way to hell because I have misplaced faith. I am believing in 'another' Jesus. Such an argument is baseless (I barely know much about you, but I surely can reference you by using what little unique things I know about you, apart from any of the grander and fuller elements of your personality, character, position, etc.).

    Have we not delimited the Jesus who is referenced to none other than the Jesus of the gospels?

    Of course we have.

    But you insist upon an additional theological requirement, one which neither Jesus nor John required, and this for the purpose of delimiting identification, not as a biblical mandate.

    Your arguments haven't been based upon a biblical requirement mandating one believe that Jesus is fully God, equal to the Father in every respect. They have been framed by the idea that without Jesus' deity assented to, our faith will inevitably be misplaced, into some ethereal, figment of our imaginations, in other words, some 'other' Jesus. This reasoning is flawed for 2 reasons:

    1) Jesus was believed in for eternal life apart from His deity being understood.

    2) Many other unique references to Jesus can delimit our referencing of Him to the Historic Jesus who did make a promise guaranteeing eternal life to all who simply believe He has done so.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 6:48:00 PM  

  • Absolutely right.

    It is not always easy to see where the boundaries lie between ignorance and denial.

    Like with cult followers. They know Christians believe in the Trinity and they deny it, but when you talk to them they do not always seem clear on what it is they are denying and they have not always heard any evidence for it. They are ignorant and in denial.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matt

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, January 27, 2008 11:47:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Here’s where I have a problem with what you are saying. Many people could potentially fulfill ONE of the references you cite to delimit identification of Jesus. No one will ever again die on a cross and be raised again. That’s why the apostles preached and taught the Gospel – not only does it give us the substance that will ALWAYS identify Jesus but it is also how He draws all people to believe in Him – Jesus who died on the cross and rose again.

    I believe in THIS Jesus who died on the cross and rose again. I believe in THIS Jesus, that He is who He claims to be, that He is who the Old Testament declared He would be – the one true God. I believe in Jesus and He promises that I will have eternal life because I have believed in Him. We are not called to believe in His promise but to believe in Him. You would say I am not saved because I did not assent to His promise. I see this reasoning as flawed because:

    1)All who believe in Him are given eternal life.

    2)Nowhere is there a stipulation that I must believe in Him AND understand the promise that He makes. This adds to belief in Him.

    3)Nowhere is there a stipulation that I must believe in Him FOR the promise that He makes. This places the object of faith on the promise and away from Him.

    4)Nowhere is it stated that I must accept or receive His gift – He bestows the gift, He gives eternal life upon belief in Him whether I know it (realize it, believe it) or not.

    The Bible calls many Christians to believe the truth that they have eternal life – these Christians obviously have not believed this to be the case. There are many truths we are called to add to our faith.

    You can delimit who Jesus of Nazareth is, believe in the promise He makes and yet fail to believe in Him as God – whereby you could hold to Buddha being God, Allah being God, the universe being God, there being many Gods which undermines the truth that the Bible declares – it is through Jesus alone that we rest our faith and hope in the one true God.

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Monday, January 28, 2008 8:00:00 AM  

  • Jon writes:
    ----------
    Here’s where I have a problem with what you are saying. Many people could potentially fulfill ONE of the references you cite to delimit identification of Jesus.
    ----------
    Please be careful to characterize me sufficiently. To delimit reference to any individual, all that would have to be noted is a single UNIQUE reference. Sure someone could be able to fulfill one of these references. There are two things that can be done to positively identify someone:

    1) Give an UNIQUE reference.
    2) Give many references that when taken together form one unique reference that no one else can fulfill

    Given my understanding of this subject that I have elaborated on at length many times where you have dialogued with me, I find it difficult to understand how you could pose this baseless counter. It doesn’t have a leg to stand on. I have always been clear. A single unique reference is all that it takes to positively identify someone.

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    No one will ever again die on a cross and be raised again. That’s why the apostles preached and taught the Gospel – not only does it give us the substance that will ALWAYS identify Jesus but it is also how He draws all people to believe in Him – Jesus who died on the cross and rose again.
    ----------
    Jon, I agree that the death and resurrection of Christ are the greatest of identifiers to the Christ of God, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it. I do not fail to present the cross and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth when I evangelize. It is the greatest of reasons why He can be trusted for one’s eternal well-being.

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    I believe in THIS Jesus who died on the cross and rose again. I believe in THIS Jesus, that He is who He claims to be, that He is who the Old Testament declared He would be – the one true God.
    ----------
    The disciples believed in THIS Jesus as well, even denying the cross and resurrection. And their belief was based upon other ‘signs’ that persuaded them that Jesus was the Christ of God, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it. Seeing that this is the fact, although I will stipulate that the cross and resurrection are the greatest and most superior evidences that Jesus can be trusted for everlasting life, they are by no means the only. Many of the crowds believed in Jesus with far lesser testimonies. Some even believed in Him because of His teachings and words alone!

    So, these people, the disciples believed into Jesus apart from the cross and resurrection, and they believed in the RIGHT Jesus, they believed in THIS Jesus, the same Jesus that you and I reference! The point here that you are making is not mutually exclusive, Jon. If people can come to faith into the correct Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, apart from assenting to the cross and resurrection, your point becomes neutered.

    Furthermore, the disciples believed into Jesus not recognizing nor giving creedence to the deity of the Christ of God, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him for it, your point here becomes manifestly countered.

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    I believe in Jesus and He promises that I will have eternal life because I have believed in Him. We are not called to believe in His promise but to believe in Him.
    ----------
    Believing in Jesus and believing His promise are one and the same. Faith analyzed in anything can and will always be broken down into specific propositions. There is not one instance of faith of belief that cannot be broken down into very specific propositions.

    IF YOU DID NOT BELIEVE JESUS CONCERNING HIS PROMISE, YOU DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM. That is like saying that you DOUBT or DISBELIEVE in Him. It is patently absurd.

    When we are asked to believe into Jesus, they are found in the contexts of Jesus promising everlasting life to the believer.

    If I said, “I so love my children, that I have sacrificed my time and treasures, that whoseover of my children believes in me, puts their trust in me, will never go bankrupt, but will be set for life.”

    What is clearly shown that I am elliciting in my children is that trust in me FOR that promise.

    You have yet to tackle all of the instances that John says that saving faith is “beleiving into” Jesus, believing in Jesus. You are very myopic and narrow sighted on a single construction, “the Christ, the Son of God”, so much so, that you have disregarded the greater construction of pisteuw eis from consideration. Furthermore, you have disregarded the appositional construction of “the Christ, the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:22). To believe that Jesus is the Christ, is to believe that He is one’s SAVIOR, in other words, the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    The following is from an article I wrote here on Unashamed of Grace that I wrote especially for you, but you chose not to even comment on it.

    (Begin quote:)
    ----------
    Throughout the Johannine gospel, John uses the technical phrase denoting saving faith, "pisteuw eis" ("believe in"), in other words, believe in Jesus. Whenever, in any language, someone uses the phrase "believe in" something, the context determines what is the content of that belief.

    There are no exceptions!

    A quarterback telling a wide receiver, "I believe in you"
    (quarterback trusts wide receiver that he can make the play)

    A father telling his wife, "I believe in the babysitter"
    (father trusts that the babysitter is qualified to take care of his children)

    A passenger telling another, "I believe in the airline pilot"
    (passenger trusts that the pilot is qualified to take care of his air travel)

    A Narcotics Anonymous participant telling a friend, "I believe in the program"
    (NA participant trusts that the program works)

    The candidate for class president telling the assembly of students, "Believe in me!"
    (prospective executive asking the student body to trust him to exceed their expectations in getting the job done)

    The teenager telling his folks as he takes the family car out for the day, "Believe in me!"
    (teen is asking that they trust him for the well-being of the car)

    Jesus says, "whoever believes in Me will not perish but has everlasting life. The one who believes in Me will live. The one who believes in Me shall never die, even into eternity."

    Why the disconnect?!!

    The context is eternal well-being, and Jesus is saying He is the Savior from perishing and the Guarantor of eternal life! Whoever trusts in Him as the one guaranteeing that they will never perish, but have eternal life, will never perish but have eternal life. The gospel of John is full of these passages and contexts. When He says, "Whoever believes in me shall never perish but have everlasting life" the context is clear. He is eliciting trust in Him FOR the guarantee that they will not perish and FOR everlasting life.

    This is the meaning of "believe in" Him in those many contexts in the gospel of John. Jesus is saying, "Believe in Me!", in other words, "Trust Me for your eternal well-being!" There is no other way to take these passages and contexts. You will injure simple interpretation of them by taking them in any other way. Jesus is seeking to get them to rely upon Him for their eternal destinies. He shows Himself authoritative so that people will trust Him.

    If I said "I believe in the babysitter" in the context of going out for the evening with my wife, let it be known I certainly mean that I am entrusting the well-fare of my children to the babysitter. When Jesus says that "...whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life" (Jn 3:16) the context is clear. He wants us to entrust our eternal destiny to Him. If I do believe in Him, as the John 3:16 context shows for us, I know that I have everlasting life and will never perish, for the guarantee is inexorably linked to His promise.

    Saving faith is believing in Jesus for everlasting life. It is trusting Jesus to guarantee your eternal well-being.

    We all agree that saving faith is believing in Jesus. But that statement is useless and worthless without a context. When I say I believe in the babysitter, I don't mean I trust her with my taxes or medical diagnosis! Believing in the babysitter has an irreducible content based upon the context. And that is that you trust the care of your children into her hands.

    The same with believing in Jesus. It is as simple as trusting your eternal care into His hands. And when you do that, you know FOR CERTAIN that you are saved. Why? Faith is conviction that something is true. If I believe in Jesus when He says all who believe in Him will never perish and have everlasting life, I consider it true. Therefore, I know I will never perish and I know I have everlasting life.
    ----------
    (End quote)

    Furthermore, we have a few different texts that corroborate the previous quote.

    1 Timothy 1:16
    However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe in Him [Jesus] for eternal life.

    Here it is clearly demonstrated that people believe in Jesus FOR everlasting life! This is another one of those things that your soteriology has convienently disregarded.

    Also, there is:

    Romans 4:20-22
    He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."

    Where you once made this comment on it:

    "they need to know His promise and they need to be fully convinced that what He promised He is also able to perform."

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    You would say I am not saved because I did not assent to His promise. I see this reasoning as flawed because:

    1)All who believe in Him are given eternal life.

    ----------
    Yes, all who believe in Jesus are given everlasting life. If you don’t believe Him in His promise, how can you say that you believe IN Him? You can’t. If someone is not trusting in Jesus for everlasting life, they are not believing in Him.

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    2)Nowhere is there a stipulation that I must believe in Him AND understand the promise that He makes. This adds to belief in Him.
    ----------
    Belief in Jesus is not some ambiguous thing that someone can’t understand what it is they are believing in Him for! To believe in Jesus is to believe His promise!

    What you have done is added to belief in Him. Actually subtracted and added. You say that believing in Him is only considering Him God. But then we would have the ridiculous situation of someone believing in other things but going to heaven anyway. No. Salvation only comes to those who believe in Jesus.

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    3)Nowhere is there a stipulation that I must believe in Him FOR the promise that He makes. This places the object of faith on the promise and away from Him.
    ----------
    Jon, I am sorry that you think this. Your reasoning here is flawed for three reasons:

    1) You trust someone when you believe something about the person. If I said I believed in you to deliver me hot pizza like you said, I could also rephrase it to say that I believe what you told me. THEY ARE ONE AND THE SAME! You cannot believe in a person APART from believing specific things about the Person. They are one in the same in their context.
    2) We have already shown through A) the “believing in” Jesus contexts, B) and 1 Timothy 1:16 and Romans 4:20-22 that believing the promise is believing in Jesus
    3) John 11:25-26 is clear, that Jesus is elliciting faith in His promise to guarantee eternal life to all who believe in Him: “I am the resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?”
    You are so very selective in your considerations. The Consistent and Refined Free Grace position takes into account all of the Scriptures and considerations, and does so with the greatest consistency and harmonization. You have severely handicapped soteriology by your severance of many key texts from consideration.

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    4)Nowhere is it stated that I must accept or receive His gift – He bestows the gift, He gives eternal life upon belief in Him whether I know it (realize it, believe it) or not.

    You accept or receive His gift when you believe in Him for it!

    “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water… whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him [upon asking, or better yet believing] wil never thirst again… the water that I shall give him [upon him “knowing” it and “asking” for it] will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jn 4:10, 13)

    Jon continues:
    ----------
    The Bible calls many Christians to believe the truth that they have eternal life – these Christians obviously have not believed this to be the case. There are many truths we are called to add to our faith.
    ----------
    You have yet to make this case. Assurance is the absolute essence of saving faith. Beleiving in Jesus is context specific denoting trust in Him for everlasting life in response to His gratuitous promise to grant eternal life to all who trust in Him for it. If you believe in Jesus, you know you have everlasting life.

    Jon finishes:
    ----------
    You can delimit who Jesus of Nazareth is, believe in the promise He makes and yet fail to believe in Him as God – whereby you could hold to Buddha being God, Allah being God, the universe being God, there being many Gods which undermines the truth that the Bible declares – it is through Jesus alone that we rest our faith and hope in the one true God.
    ----------
    This is the most fantastic thing you have said yet! Jesus says that WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM HAS EVERLASTING LIFE, and you say that people who believe in Him, yet nevertheless don’t assent to His deity are hell-bound! This would falsify every simple and clear evangelistic text.

    As the subtitle of this opening post states:

    THE RIGHT THING IN THE RIGHT PERSON

    The right thing: FAITH
    In the right Person: JESUS

    But you wish to deny the evangel that whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life.

    Furthermore, your soteriology can have someone:

    1) believing in Satan for everlasting life
    2) believing in their works for everlasting life
    3) believing in their church for everlasting life
    4) believing in the rituals and sacraments and ceremonies for everlasting life

    Yet if they believe that Jesus is God, they go to heaven.

    There are tons of Satanists who believe that Jesus is God, yet reject Him. Reject His promise, and reject His words.

    You have THEM going to heaven!

    This is troubling, Jon!

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, January 28, 2008 3:09:00 PM  

  • Jon,

    BTW, if you want to read the article I wrote with you in mind, please refer here:

    "Do you believe this?" An amalgam of pertinent considerations

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, January 28, 2008 8:28:00 PM  

  • Antonio -

    You said:
    "1) You trust someone when you believe something about the person."

    Exactly! You believe Jesus is THE Christ, THE Son of God - the one true God.

    "Furthermore, your soteriology can have someone:

    1) believing in Satan for everlasting life
    2) believing in their works for everlasting life
    3) believing in their church for everlasting life
    4) believing in the rituals and sacraments and ceremonies for everlasting life"

    Turnabout is fair play - and this is somewhat troubling. Whether I were to hold to your position and someone can believe in Satan as the one true God and trust in Jesus Christ for eternal life or mine, that one can believe in Jesus Christ as the one true God and trust in Satan for eternal life......something is missing and I suspect it is the Holy Spirit, whom once He seals also reveals and convicts. I would say that while a believer can be an apostate, based on Hebrews 6, it is impossible for him to believe in Satan for anything - a house divided cannot stand. A believer cannot be possessed by the Devil.
    One who is possessed by the Devil - cannot believe.

    "But you wish to deny the evangel that whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life."

    Actually, this is exactly the position I hold.

    What it boils down to is that I see belief in Christ as in His person, in who He is, whereas you see belief in Christ as in His promise.

    I would say Jesus had it right when He asked Peter "Who do you say that I am?"

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Monday, January 28, 2008 9:56:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I read the article with me in mind and wrote two in direct response:

    saving faith or strengthened faith

    God – giver of life to all who believe


    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Monday, January 28, 2008 10:57:00 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Hello brother!
    I read this article. I have thought through your ideas about your mother being an assasin.
    You need to add this to the equation of that scenario for it to correspond to believing in Jesus for everlasting life:

    You are being chased by the CIA and are in their crosshairs. You need an insider to deliver you from certain death of these CIA Assasins. Your fourth cousin tells you that your mother is such. Now, will you go to your mother and trust in her to help you if you deny what your cousin has told you?

    In the same way, who can trust for ETERNAL LIFE one who is a mere man - or the spirit brother of Lucifer - or any other created being?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:00:00 AM  

  • Rose
    "In the same way, who can trust for ETERNAL LIFE one who is a mere man - or the spirit brother of Lucifer - or any other created being?"

    Who is a mere man, Rose?

    Antonio? Myself? Perhaps

    What about-

    Elijah? Moses?

    Are they mere men?

    What about Melchizedek (whoever he was)?

    There is a huge spectrum between saying that a man like me can give eternal life and saying that the incarnate deity can give eternal life.

    We might agree that a person would be less inclined to trust a non-divine being for eternal life.

    However, you would need to carry out doctoral level research in anthropology or psychology to prove that it could never ever happen.

    I find it mind-boggling that you can so boldly assert that nobody would ever trust in one less than God for eternal life.

    I find it hard not to consider such an assertion a little arrogant, if you will forgive me for suggesting it.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:31:00 AM  

  • Matthew -

    I understand where you are coming from but is it not equally (if not more) arrogant to posit that one could trust in someone for something so obviously bestowed only by God (eternal life) and not believe in Him as God?

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:44:00 AM  

  • I fail to see why.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 9:49:00 AM  

  • Yes....you do.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 12:45:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    The problem evaporates when one is convinced that Jesus is AUTHORIZED by God, ORDAINED by God, APPOINTED by God, to be the Christ, the Savior of the world, the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him.

    I have been reading and re-reading the book of Acts. Go to each one of the sermons given in the book of Acts, and see how Jesus is presented there.

    As it would be so easy to demonstrate and defend, Jesus of Nazareth has been ordained, appointed, and authorized by God to be the Christ.

    Why couldn't God give that authority to someone? In reality, He did! He gave it to Jesus of Nazareth.

    If someone believes, as it is written in many places in the Bible, that Jesus of Nazareth is authorized of God to impart everlasting life to all who believe in Him for it, where is your objection now?

    Someone could clearly be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth has been authorized of God to be the Christ, the Savior of the World. Someone could clearly be convinced that Jesus of Nazareth has BEEN MADE both LORD and CHRIST (Acts 2:36). I submit that this is exactly what Peter and Paul wished their hearers to believe when they preached in the book of Acts.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 1:36:00 PM  

  • Jon,

    There is a huge difference, my friend. It will be virtually impossible for someone to trust in Jesus for everlasting life if they believe that Satan is God. If they believe that Satan is God, they would conisder Jesus a liar.

    MUCH more realistic is some Satanist believing that Jesus is God, but rejecting Him. And you would consider someone who has believed that Jesus is God to be born again!

    Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, the one who guarantees everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    John 6:63-64
    "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe."

    Jesus Nazareth, as the Christ, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him for it, has WORDS that when believed, impart LIFE.

    "You have the WORDS of everlasting life." (John 6:68)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 1:51:00 PM  

  • Antonio -

    You said:
    If they believe that Satan is God, they would conisder Jesus a liar.

    I agree - because central to Jesus Christ is His deity.


    John 6
    68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

    Here Peter says they have come to believe and know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Clearly they have come to believe in the deity of Jesus Christ.

    You said:
    Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, the one who guarantees everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    I would say Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world, the one who guarantees everlasting life to the one who believes in Him.

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 2:59:00 PM  

  • Jon,

    If you do not wish to discuss the passages and objections to your new soteriology, that is your prerogative. My material, objections, arguments, and passages, seem to escape your notice.

    I will not bother commenting on your last post. We will let you have the last word on the matter.

    Fare well in your new soteriology.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 3:07:00 PM  

  • Antonio -

    I don't want to give you the wrong impression. I appreciate the dialog and all the work you put into answering me - I know it's frustrating and though I currently have some differences, I find these discussions edifying. I appreciate you brother.

    One thing I am looking for that would discount all that I have said is this:

    Is there anywhere in the Bible where someone is excluded from justification because they somehow believe they could lose their salvation or aren't sure if they are saved?

    I would need to see this aside from how anyone works out "belief in Jesus Christ", since there is from my point of view some obvious differences on what this entails.

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, January 29, 2008 5:30:00 PM  

  • Good discussion, I would point out that the argument is moot in the sense that if someone does not present who the deliverer is per John's Gospel then Rose is right, the object could be anyone.

    In His name,

    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Saturday, February 02, 2008 7:35:00 AM  

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