Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Two Simple Words

Last night, I revisited an old “eternal security debate” online at youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLz0U9wqs-4) that I watched some months ago. It is good to study the eternal security debate; but sometimes, it’s even better to see others debate the issue. This allows the viewers to listen in and critique what each side does, give strategy for what one side could have used against the other, etc. I think that these debates prepare us to face those in our sphere of life who will challenge us on this and other theological issues.

In any case, the two men, both preachers, were named Jake (Baptist preacher) and Andrew Richardson (Church of Christ). Jake defended eternal security, while Andrew defended conditional security. The debate is an eleven-part debate, so I recommend that you set aside at least three hours of time to watch each part at Youtube and talk about it with those around you who are just as interested in the debate as you are.

One of the texts used by Jake to defend his view is Mark 10:28-30---

“Peter began to tell Him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed You.’ ‘I assure you,’ Jesus said, ‘there is no one who has left house, brothers or sisters, mother or father, children, or fields because of Me and the gospel, who will not receive 100 times more, now at this time---houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions---and eternal life in the age to come” (Mark 10:28-30, Holman Christian Standard Bible).

Jake insisted that this text “guaranteed” those it mentions eternal life, since “this is the promise of the Lord Jesus,” Jake seemed to say incessantly. Jake’s interpretation of the above verses was that, if someone has given up houses, people, possessions, etc. for Christ, then they will receive eternal life. He said, “If you’ve given these things up, then you’re in, according to the words of Jesus.”

But Jake forgot two simple words: “with persecutions”! Those who give up everything to follow Christ receive blessings from the Lord; but those blessings do not come without persecution...rather, the blessings are often mixed with persecutions such that the blessings could be seen somedays as persecution and the persecution could be seen on other days as actual blessings!!

The words “with persecutions” implies that there is more to an abundant life than just gaining possessions or people. The Lord desires that we experience abundant life in Him while on earth, but this does not come without trials and tribulations. And yet, all Jake could do was take these verses and interpret them as saying that “if” a person gave up these things at some point in their lives, then they would be guaranteed eternal life.

Andrew seemed to entertain Jake’s hermeneutical madness, instead of pointing out these two words that would aid his own defense. Since Mark 4 discusses the Parable of the Sower and the seeds and soils, this would have served as a great time to say, “See what the person receives with a life in Christ? Not only are they blessed by God, but they are equipped to suffer for His name sake.” Even suffering is a privilege given by God, and it is given to all who name the name of Christ (Philippians 1:21).

I think the debate is a great one to watch. I encourage all of you to check out the site provided above...and enjoy!

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