The following is from a comment thread on [deleted] blog. It will make better sense if you visit there and read the whole post and thread. Feel free to comment here on it all.
Hello Again, Chris and All,
This comment will be long. It's merited here though. Bear with me, Chris. Have faith in God's work with your readers. Hearts do not have to harden through this discussion. They can actually soften. It's a choice.
My direct reply to your last comment, Chris:
The rest of my immediately prior comment indicates that I was not agreeing with your position on chronological order and grace versus faith concerning salvation. It does matter, just not in the way you think. That's my position. My point was that it matters that people believe they are holding with truth but still not compelled to bring forth. Lack of that compulsion is indicative of lack of truth. Grasping the point and then refusing means sin remains. All of that is what I meant and mean by "it" and "matters." It is not necessarily condemnatory to say that people are failing. Jesus edifies, not condemns.
A man fell in a well. He yelled for help. Another man came and saved him. The first said, "Thank you for saving me." The second said, "Thank God your strong voice saved you." They agreed with each other. Both were right. Then they discovered they were long-lost brothers. The grace of God shows here through and through. Surely you can see that. Salvation came here by a man, a man's voice, and God. These are different contexts all speaking of the one same thing at the same time in the same place all in order with each other. God was/is in the men, living. There's no confusion here. There's no false teaching. No one is misled by it. It trips no one who loves truth. It's light.
You stated above that you've been tempted to delete or otherwise conceal or at least obscure this discussion. That wouldn't be in the spirit of asking, seeking, and knocking or in leading the fold to truth. Wrestle (debate) with your conscience. Didn't Jesus debate them in the center of the world, as they thought of Jerusalem and the Temple building at the time? I love his spirit that did that. They murdered him for it. He also told his disciples to ask questions while he was there with them. Why are you not happy when the light of truth shines through on your blog as a result of the back and forth in comments? If you kill this discussion and questions and answers, you will be hiding the light.
There isn't anything here over which anyone who recognizes and loves Jesus's voice will trip. It will only trip up those who don't love the truth and who therefore hate God. That's their problem. We can't force them.
You have said that people who believe that faith in God saves them are practicing idolatry. You also want people to believe that you have not judged the hearts of those you've labeled idolaters. How is this different from addressing my points, especially concerning the weightier, such as the Christian Commons? I don't see it. If saying that people are practicing idolatry isn't judging hearts (and I am not saying it is in the sense you mean it), why is saying that people are failing the commandment to feed the lambs and sheep and to give all and to share all judging hearts in a way that is not the same as concerns idolatry? What's the difference?
I don't judge or condemn. Jesus doesn't judge or condemn as in punish. This whole discussion is highly contextual, as it should be. Connotations are critical.
Kevin came and commented to shoot down sola scriptura (scripture alone) and sola fide (faith alone). He came to defend apostolic succession. He came to shoot down the Protestant Reformation. He wants everyone to return to the notion of the infallibility of the tip of his brand of hierarchy in matters of faith, something I find impossible. Although, I'm not a Protestant in that I'm not Lutheran, Reformed, or Anabaptist. I am more radical than even the Anabaptists. So was and is Jesus.
Apparently, Kevin does not believe in the concept of the priesthood of all believers. I believe in the priesthood and kingship of all believers. I do not hold with Paul concerning women and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I do not need nor do I want or uncritically accept the interpretation of the Roman Catholic Popes or anyone else. They have never brought forth in full (only in very isolated, half-hearted ways and places). I know them by their fruits. Is that judging their hearts? In a mundane way it is. I'm not going to torture them though. That's Satan's kingdom. I don't live there.
By clear implication, Kevin has said that you do not have any right to hold any position contrary to what his orthodox tradition tells you to believe and to do. I don't know every distinction between Catholic and Orthodox churches. Kevin may not be Roman Catholic, although I doubt it at this point. He seems out of character for a member of any Orthodox church.
Where will Kevin end up as a result? Jesus says there are many mansions. People conceive of levels from the Highest on down into the bottomless. To what will Kevin's works (fruits by which he will be weighed and measured and sorted) have amounted? Will he arrive in the 11th hour and receive the full penny?
Luther was right that the indulgences (works of a kind) had been a means of grave abuse and utter corruption. Many Protestants overshot though and dispensed with deeds entirely and in direct contradiction of the plain teaching of Christ. They threw the baby out with the bathwater. Hyper-antinomianism contains prime examples. It has been used to excuse blatant preoccupation with material possession and with other manifestations of harmful lust.
As for bitterness, I was speaking for myself.
As for offense, it is offense that the people haven't brought forth. It's a sin against God. That's the truth.
Chris, deeds were and are so much more important to Jesus than is being stressed today. Jesus talks about doing deeds over and over and over. He talks about bringing forth. He never mentions grace. He talks a great deal about faith and deeds. Paul mentions grace almost one hundred times in his letters.
Now, in all fairness, Paul says, "Who will render to every man according to his deeds." (Romans 2:6 KJVR) He also says, "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1 Corinthians 3:13 KJVR)
But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever." (2 Corinthians 9:6-9 KJVR)
It's not as if he didn't know about deeds/works. He goes to great lengths to make his case about the ritualistic laws and grace and works, etc. What he doesn't do though is emphasize feeding all in body and soul. He mentions it but not as Jesus emphasizes it. Jesus, in John's Gospel, drives it home three times to drill it in (to root it).
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17 KJVR)
That cannot be separated from the fact that they all live from one purse and that the disciples held all things as common possessions. Now, I say that the Christian Commons is wholly consistent with this. What say you? Is it an offense to ask? Is it an offense to answer in the affirmative? I can't see how.
You're Pauline. I'm not. Paul did not put the emphasis upon feeding the lambs and sheep that Jesus put upon it to Peter (and the others). I won't say Paul was against it. He just didn't lead to it. He didn't lead to the churches he founded holding all things in common as Jesus did with his disciples (and Jesus is the example we are to follow to the best of our abilities). Paul's emphasis was on the mystical without bringing forth the tangible fruit in the here and now, as Jesus did. Jesus meant his Church do it (feed the whole flock and more) in both the flesh and the spirit. It hasn't happened yet. That's a fact. Certain stubborn Pauline Christians lean all over Paul's letters and elsewhere in offering up excuses. That's offensive. It's sinful. I say it. It doesn't mean I'm perfected yet.
You and I are built differently. That's not bad, per se. I've written things on your blog that perhaps are foreign and may take awhile to click, if ever.
The thing that strikes me right now is how are you going to get into the "meatier stuff" and not be open to what you might take to be challenges? From my perspective, I figure if my beliefs won't hold up, then I'm wrong and the Holy Spirit isn't giving me what to say.
Chris, isn't Satan a clever debater? I just saw an atheist's blog whereon he was lauding Christopher Hitchens' performance in a debate with Al Sharpton that was apparently held at the New York City Library. I'm not providing links here, because of your preferences concerning that. Hitchens, according to this atheist, was convincing that belief in God is actually immoral. The day before yesterday, I left a comment on a high-traffic site in opposition to that same false conclusion posted there by a university professor who is somewhat fringe but does get the microphone and spotlight and camera to lead souls astray. I will be returning to see any responses and to defend Jesus. I don't do that for ego's sake. I do it for the sake of those who, failing to hear any voice stating the error, may fall further or remain lost. If Christians won't do it, who will?
I don't leave your blog, Chris, shaking the dust from my feet.
God will tell you what you need to know. If you ask him in the name of Jesus, he won't tell you I'm lying.