Saturday, December 4, 2010

How long is ineptitude like this going to go on?

Hi James: You seem to have missed my point, if I am reading you write [sic]. I most certainly am saying that the Christian's deeds, recorded in the book, do indeed matter to their final salvation, hence the warning their names can be erased from the book. -Ben Witherington

Via Cf. comment number 12.

Maybe that anonymous comment was falsely said in the name of Ben Witherington. You can find comments like these all over Witherington's writings anyway.

There is a word for saying that a Christians deeds matter to their final salvation: heresy. Plain and simple. I dare say you cannot be a true Protestant and think that "He saved us, on account of righteous things we have done." That is a distortion of the movement of scripture and thus a blasphemy.

Today in neo-protestant circles the so-called "shibolleth" is "judgment according to works". There are precious few times when I actually want to use the F word. Reading the writings of those who think like this is one of them.

To say that ones deeds matter to final salvation is like saying that the first justification wasn't good enough. There needs to be more. We need to touch up the work a little with our "responses" and our "faithful obedience", the latter two being a condition of entrance into the kingdom of heaven and thus a legitimate work that merits or even earns the eschatological kingdom (all with the help of the Spirit, of course, which still provides no firm guarentee of the final outcome). This is exactly what works-righteousness is. There is no getting around it. God apparently no longer justifies the wicked but the righteous. We have ourselves a new God (and thus an idol). We have ourselves a God who promises us Heaven on the basis, not only of faith, but of the obedience produced by faith, which btw, better be a pretty fricking spotless obedience if it is to at all impress God.

Have at it, you sons of Pelagius!

"Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it."

There is your judgment, oh you righteous men who think that your final outcome will be weighed by your deeds. Good luck! Fan your faith into flame and quit stumbling, because if you do, you won't have any part of the law of Christ backing you. "If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker." Don't stop now! Are you certain that you are keeping all of the commands? Even the least of these? If you aren't, you are a feckless lawbreaker, and according to your own writings, lawbreakers will not inherit eternal life.

1 comment:

mr.scrivener said...

What about a position such as this, where one accepts that works have nothing to do with salvation, but that they are still expected, and essentially mandatory for two reasons:

(1) We represent Christ and His gospel to the world, and need to work at fulfilling that assignment.

(2) If we really are saved, signs should follow, like reasonable behavior and good works.

(3) We still have to discern (not 'condemn') others' true nature based on their public persona and behavior.

We have examined for instance the Pericope Adultera (John 7:53-8:11), which is essentially anti-nomian but still upholds law-abiding behavior, here on our research-site:

(and also our blog): (on John 7:53-8:11)