Saturday, November 2, 2013

Demolishing Hardshell Reasoning

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (II Cor. 10: 5)

Some better translations for "casting down imaginations" are "overthrowing reasonings" (Darby), "destroying speculations" (NASB), and "demolish arguments" (NIV). This is what we do when we do apologetics, which all Christians should be able to do, to one degree or another. (See I Peter 3: 15) Much false doctrine is built upon false reasonings and incorrect interpretations of Scripture. The Hardshell Baptists of today put forth such reasonings, arguments, and speculations that are to be overthrown and destroyed.

One argument that was recently made by the Hardshell apologist at theearstohear blog against perseverance being necessary to final salvation was that such a view was against salvation being by grace and for a salvation by works (which is denied in Scripture). This Hardshell argued that since the Bible affirms that salvation is not by works, therefore it is not by persevering. This is an argument based upon a presumed logical deductive argument of a Scripture passage, and not from a clear express statement of Scripture. This Hardshell can find no express Scripture that says that salvation is not by persevering so he has to say that such a proposition is logically deducible. In other words "not by works" logically infers "not by perseverance."

When Paul says that salvation is "not by works of righteousness which we have done" (Titus 3: 5) and "not according to our works" (II Tim. 1: 9) and "not of works" (Eph. 2: 9), the Hardshell, like other Hardshells, interprets "works" to refer to any act of a man. Further, since verbs are action words, there is no verb used in Scripture to refer to any action of a sinner unto eternal salvation. Thus, by this reasoning, not only must one exclude perseverance being necessary for salvation, but all these things also.

Sinners do not have to hear the Father or Son of God to be saved, for hearing is action (work) and salvation is not by works. Yet Jesus said that all who hear from the Father come to him (John 6: 45), and all who hear the voice of the Son of God live. (John 5: 25)

Sinners do not have to learn from the Father, for learning is action and salvation is not by any action of the sinner. Yet Jesus said all who hear and learn of the Father come to him. (John 6: 45)

Sinners do not have to come to Christ to be saved, for coming is an action and salvation is not through human action. Yet Jesus said that one must come to him for life. (John 5: 40)

Sinners do not have to believe in either the Father or the Son to be saved, for believing is an action and salvation is not by human action. Yet the record is that the "unbelieving" will have his part in the Lake of Fire, and he who does not believe will be damned. (Rev. 21: 8, Mark 16: 16)

Sinners do not have to repent to be saved, for repenting is an action and salvation is not by human acts.

He does not have to obey the Gospel.

He does not have to call on the name of the Lord.

He does not have to confess Christ.

He does not have to turn from serving idols.

He does not have to love God.

He does not have to receive Christ or the atonement.

This is Antinomianism and a denial of human responsibility.

This is a denial that all the actions (verbs) enumerated result from the grace and work of God. Though it is we who do the acts it is also at the same time the works of God. So testified the prophet - "thou also hast wrought all our works in us." (Isa. 26: 12) So, though salvation is predicated or conditioned upon the above enumerated acts and activities, they are themselves predicated upon the gracious work of God. So Paul also wrote:

"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (I Cor. 15: 10)

The writer of Acts says that people "believed through grace." (Acts 18: 27) And Paul says that people believe "according to the working of his mighty power." (Eph. 1: 19) Though it is the creature who does the believing activity, yet it is conditioned upon God's acting. Thus, there ought not to be any opposition seen between our acting for our salvation and God acting for our acting.

Now notice these words of the Apostle.

"That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Heb. 6: 13)

Notice that two things are named as conditions for obtaining "the promises." They are faith (belief) and patience. The Greek word for "patience" is "makrothymia" and means endurance or perseverance. Further, patience implies faith. But, Hardshells deny that there are any conditions or activities that people do in order to obtain the promises of God. What will the Hardshell do with such verses? Will he not try to say that the promises that are obtained by faith and patience are temporal promises only? Yet, in this he is simply bringing his presuppositions to the text. But, the text does not say "temporal promises" but simply "the promises," which includes the "promise of eternal life" (Titus 1: 2), and those in the context of the Hebrew epistle, including "the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9: 15)

Paul also wrote in this same epistle:

"For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise." (Heb. 10: 36)

Here the Greek word for "patience" is "hypomonē" and denotes steadfastness, constancy, and endurance.

So, how do we harmonize those passages which say that past, present, or future salvation is not "by" works? Is it not by the way I have shown? We are not saved by works that we have done apart from God's grace and working. We are not saved on the basis of our works but they are means that God has ordained and promised to work in his elect. Further, it is not the teaching of Scripture that we are finally saved because we believed, repented, loved, persevered, etc., but these are the things that are characteristic of those who have been chosen and called. If a man who professes Christ does not persevere, does not continue in the faith, then he manifests that he was never truly chosen and called.

I hope that this helps those Hardshells who are falsely reasoning on these things.

1 comment:

Kevin Fralick said...

Great posting Brother Stephen. This is nothing but the truth. It is far more God-honoring to see that any conditions for salvation are provided for by God, than to claim that they are part of another optional "time salvation" that we have to do for ourselves.