LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, October 31, 2008

Does Jesus clearly define disciples as believers?

In the great commission Jesus said:

Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

It is clear that our orders from Jesus are to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them to obey. In short Jesus is commanding us to make disciples that are baptized believers. He then instructs us to teach them to be obedient of his commands. Therefore, it seems from this very well know passage that Jesus is commanding us to make one call in evangelism. The one call is to salvation and discipleship. Jesus does not distinguish between the two.

Mark (Bluecollar) made this point in a debate thread on another blog when he said: “Scriptures like Matt.10:34-39, and Mark 10:13-31 show that the call to salvation, and the call to discipleship are one.”

And yet a follower of the Free Grace movement of Zane Hodges said the following: “if the biblical distinction between being "born" into God's family and the subsequent life of discipleship is not recognized, what results is "utter confusion" when it comes to evangelizing unbelievers. The consequences of this confusion can be devastating, not only for unbelievers but for believers as well.”

Who is right? Was Jesus right to command that we make disciples and baptize them as believers and then teach them to obey? Or, should we offer them the gift of eternal life without mentioning discipleship or giving them instruction on the call to obedience that Jesus gives in the above passage? Did Jesus command us to do something that results in utter confusion or was he the way, the truth, and the life?

Also: Should we believe that people are so stupid that they cannot handle the two concepts of justification by faith alone and a life of discipleship without being thrown into utter confusion?

9 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Should we believe that people are so stupid that they cannot handle the two concepts of justification by faith alone and a life of discipleship without being thrown into utter confusion?

I think not and evidently Jesus wasn't worried about throwing people into utter confusion either!

The person who made the "utter confusion" statement has been invited here to discuss this issue, but evidently he is like a football team that refuses to play anything but home games.

October 31, 2008 9:03 AM

 
Blogger goe said...

Jazzycat,

Having been one of the "stupid ones" who was confused for 20 yrs by those who do not make the biblical distinction in their preaching and teaching that I was referring to, I can assure you I do not consider this issue a "game" as you apparently do. Having also known people who went to their grave in this same state of confusion has further drove home to me the sobering responsibility that every preacher and teacher of the gospel has before the Lord Jesus Christ, both now and at His Judgement Seat, to "rightly divide the word of truth."
The gravity of making the distinction between justification by simple faith alone and any works that either precede or follow justification cannot be overemphasized, as Paul makes clear in his red-hot letter to the believers in Galatia. Indeed, Paul drew this dividing line everywhere in his epistles, as do the rest of the scriptures. For Paul, anyone who did not make this distinction was preaching a "false gospel" and exposing themselves to the wrath of God. You see, Jazzycat, not only can unbelievers be easily confused by false teaching, but believers as well-- even those who had been converted under the preaching of the great Apostle himself. Your glib statements about this just reveal that you are in a state of "utter confusion" yourself, as you have thoroughly demonstrated elsewhere in the blogoshere.

October 31, 2008 11:33 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"The gravity of making the distinction between justification by simple faith alone and any works that either precede or follow justification cannot be overemphasized, as Paul makes clear in his red-hot letter to the believers in Galatia."
================
Gary, I've been watching free grace blogs for years now. To me there is utter failure to make a case that works that are the fruit, and not the root of authentic saving faith, are a requirement for salvation. There is NO mainstream L/S Calvinist preacher or teacher who teaches works righteousness, NONE. How is it that your side keeps claiming that L/S makes works the root? Perhaps you can walk us through this in order to fill in the holes that all L/S people see in your logic.

October 31, 2008 11:56 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

I invite you to share your testimony here of your transfer from L/S to free grace. Please share THE WHOLE picture, including your relation to Classic Dispensationalism.

October 31, 2008 12:00 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

Mark,

What I am referring to is when these distinctions are not clearly drawn by some in their presentation of the gospel to unbelievers- most, if not all of whom have little understanding of spiritual issues and theology. An unbeliever is not capable of making fine theological distinctions such as the one you are describing. Most people are already predisposed to believe good works are necessary to be right with God. Much preaching of the Gospel I've heard over the years just reinforces this misconception in the minds of unbelievers, making it impossible for them to see and understand the grace of God and His free gift of eternal life. In other words, we must be careful in what we are communicating to those who hear us. I don't have time at the moment, but later I will use my personal experience as an example that I think will illustrate what I'm talking about. Thank you for inviting me to do that. Best wishes to you, jazzycat, and ten cent.

October 31, 2008 12:23 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Friends,
I want Gary to feel as comfortable as can be when he shares here. I will NOT poke at him or his theology. I so much wish to get to the bottom of this whole debate - and that would not be possible if we snipe at him.

Gary, please feel at home here!

October 31, 2008 1:07 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

goe,
I to like Mark wish to treat you with respect here and I am glad you showed up here. I would certainly as Mark has stated like to discuss this subject.

However, in your comment to me you totally ignored the subject of this post, the great commission, and gave some general opinions about the writings of Paul. I will ignore your personal attack on me in the interest of the points of this debate.

The fact that you were in a church that failed to make the Biblical distinction between justification and sanctification does not mean it cannot be made. Paul makes the distinction very well in the Book of Galatians that you cite and I agree that anyone that does not make the distinction is in grave error. You will not find any statement that I have made that makes sanctification a part of justification. If I am in utter confusion, then surely you can find one quote where I add works to justification.

This does not mean that believers who Paul describes as being new creations in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) have no divine inspiration to be sanctified. This does not mean that believers who Paul says are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14) can totally resist the Spirit and live an unchanged life. No, what Paul teaches over and over again is that sinners are justified by faith alone and are so changed by regeneration and the indwelling Spirit that they respond due to the work of God. They do not do so perfectly, but they have been born again by the power of God and thus have new desires that they respond to. To reduce sanctification to the power of human decision is to miss what the N.T. conveys in many places. To assert that a saved regenerated believer can totally resist God’s grace and have absolutely no change in his life is to believe that the prayer of Jesus in John 17:17 could go unanswered. This has nothing to do with adding works or obedience to justification. This has everything to do with God using his power to change the hearts and lives of those he has already justified and adopted as his children. Saved regenerated people respond to God’s grace.

I am not responsible for anyone who fails to distinguish or blurs the doctrinal meaning of justification and sanctification. If this happened to you in a Calvinist church, that does mean they had Calvinism right and thus Calvinism teaches faith plus works. It means they got it wrong!

October 31, 2008 4:09 PM

 
Blogger Maalie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 31, 2008 5:52 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
I couldn't help but notice that no one of the Free Grace group has dealt with the meaning of the great commission in this post where Jesus clearly calls on us to make believing disciples with not the slightest hint that their might be several different combinations of believers/disciples.

Their “big guns” as referenced at the other blog are certainly welcome to come here and deal with the text of this post.

November 02, 2008 12:14 PM

 

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