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According to Jesus, the Father will give the Holy Spirit to “anyone” who asks for it, not “anyone who is baptized by immersion.”  The Church of Christ (C of C) position on baptism is heresy and sin, and Lucado has done the right thing to repudiate it.  It is worth remembering that Barton Stone was an unapologetic Arian and that Alexander Campbell was too inconsistent to pin down on any position regarding the Godhead. The C of C needs to accept the protestant consensus on the trinity and on salvation by grace alone.  Orvis Jordan

 

Mr. Jordan assures us that God will give the Holy Spirit to “anyone” who ask for it,

not anyone who is baptized by immersion.

 In the interest of completeness and truth, Plain Talk wants readers, including Mr. Jordan, to consider the following:

 Are these passages a smorgasbord? Which of these should we accept?  Do we pick and choose that which fits our theology? No, we must accept them all.  They all express truth about receiving the Holy Spirit but none of them excludes the other passages. God gives the Spirit to those who ask, but He doesn’t give the Spirit to those in the world.  God gives the Spirit to those who believe, obey and yes, contrary to Mr. Jordan’s assertions those that repent and are baptized for the remission of their sins receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.

 The only example we can cite, perhaps there are others, of asking for the Spirit is the Samaritans. (Acts 8: 14-16).  In this case the Samaritans had both believed and obeyed in baptism.  This is hardly the picture Mr. Jordan paints of anyone, any place asking God for the Spirit,  No, God does not give the Spirit willy-nilly.  Why would anyone ask God for the Spirit if they did not believe in God?

 The truth that God gives the Spirit to those that believe and obey (repent and be baptized), seems to me, to be the antithesis of John Calvin’s doctrine that God unconditionally gives the Spirit to work irresistibly to produce faith, obedience and ultimately salvation.  Could it be that we ask for the Holy Spirit by believing and obeying?

 

Mr. Jordan chides Plain Talk for our belief about the Godhead.

 Plain Talk is not sure of the problem, but we do refer to the  Holy Spirit as an “it,” as Mr. Jordan has written.  We hope he just miswrote, but there are those who believe the Spirit is an impersonal divine force.  We believe that the Holy Spirit is deity, personal and one of the three divine persons who make up the Godhead.

 

Mr. Jordan states that the Church of Christ position on baptism is heresy and sin.

 Again Plain Talk is not sure to what Mr. Jordan is referring.  The Church emphasizes Acts 2: 38.  And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’  Which part of this is heresy?  Which part is sin?  Those that believed (pierced to the heart) asked “Brethren, what shall we do?”

 Plain Talk holds that salvation is by grace, not law; through faith, not works of righteousness.  But faith without love is nothing and faith without works of faith is dead and useless.  Faith is not complete until, combined with love, it obeys.  The obedience God has appointed to perfect faith is repentance and baptism for the remission of sins.

 

Mr. Jordan charges that Barton W Stone was an unapologetic Arian.

 Plain Talk feels no particular need to defend Barton W Stone or his teaching but in the interest of fairness we would point out that the late Dr Newell Williams who was probably the foremost authority on Stone, stated that although Stone was not a classical Trinitarian, he wasn’t an Arian either.  This charge arose because he was violently attacked by Calvinistic Presbyterians as being a heretic after leaving Calvinism.  His principle opponents were Thomas Cleland and John Poage Campbell.  They believed Stone’s teaching led to deism and thought he held Arian and Socinian views.  Stone’s spirituality sprang from the New Light Presbyterian community at Caldwell’s Academy.  As he separated from these people and approached Alexander Campbell, Stones people were called the “Arians of the West.” Stone denied that he was an Arian. but he disputed some of the terminology associated with the Trinity as found in the confessions and creeds.  As far as I can determine, Barton W Stone believed in the deity of Christ

 Mr. Jordan’s uncomplimentary remark about Alexander Campbell probably is a reflection of his own heritage,  Alexander Campbell, as all of us, was not without faults but his vision was the unification of  believers.  Plain Talk respects him for that vision.

 

The C of C needs to accept the protestant consensus on the trinity and on salvation by grace alone.

 Is faith a consensus, an agreement in the matter of opinion.  Plain Talk holds that faith in God is the individual agreement with or assent to certain truths about God found in the Scriptures.  Thus even if the whole world were to agree, if my heart does not, I dare not go there.

 Is it enough to agree with the truth found in the Scripture or must we agree with the Westminster Confession of Faith also?  This is, Plain Talk believes, where Barton W Stone found himself and for that He was called an Arian and a heretic.

 Mr. Jordan tells us the consensus is that salvation is by grace alone.  The Scriptures tells us that salvation is by grace through faith.  Which shall we believe?  Never, ever do the Scriptures say that salvation is by grace alone nor that salvation is by faith alone.  Plain Talk holds that a better conclusion is that salvation is only by grace through faith, which works in love.  Plain Talk freely admits that faith is a gift of God and that we would not believe, love or obey or be convicted except for the grace of God.  Having said that Plain Talk also recognizes that the Holy Spirit can be resisted, that Jesus came to his own but they did not receive, that God held out his arms all day long to Israel but their heart was stubborn and obstinate, that Jesus would have gathered Jerusalem like a hen gathers her chicks, but they would not.  God has set before all, life or death, blessing or the curse.  (Deuteronomy 30: 19; Joshua 24: 15)  We must choose whether we will accept the grace of God or reject it.

 The “grace alone” people tell us that grace is irresistible; we find however that God works through love and persuasion.  The “grace alone” tell us that grace is limited; the Scriptures tell us that the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men; God does not wish any to perish.  The “grace alone”  people tell us that grace is unconditional;  the Scriptures tell us that God give grace to the humble but resists the proud.

 The grace alone doctrine is based on a speculative theology.  They speculate that because God has all power, He will use it in dealing with us.  Much to their surprise He comes to man in love.  And they speculate that because He can to do with us as He pleases (He is under no obligation to us as He has told us of the consequence of sin), He will extend mercy to some but it is His good pleasure to condemn others eternally.  The truth is that God so loved the world, not just the elect, that He gave His only begotten Son. God does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  (2 Peter 3: 9)  Jesus stands at the door of our heart and knocks, if anyone hears and opens the door, He will come in and eat with us.  (Revelations 3: 20)

 

God bless

Arland  Pafford  

 

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Last Update   09/26/12