Proposition: “The New Testament Scriptures teach that unregenerated sinners are saved by grace through faith alone, before and without water baptism.” Keith Saare affirms; Allan Turner denies.
Turner’s First Negative (posted 10/18/06): I readily acknowledge that salvation “by grace” means that it is, as such, totally unmerited. Thus, salvation is not something that can be earned. This means I have absolutely no problem affirming that one is saved by grace through faith and not by works (or man’s perfect doing), lest anyone should boast (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9). Even so, it is clear that this verse does not teach what Keith Saare claims it teaches, and this is that a man is saved by “faith only.” In fact, the Bible, in James 2:24, says that a man is “justified by works, and not by faith only.”
Repentance And Belief Are Not Synonymous
I'll deal with Keith’s explanation of James 2:24 in just a moment, but first I want to comment on his argument that repentance is “synonymous with belief.” Notice that Keith cites no Scripture for this claim. In fact, he simply pulled this idea out of theological thin air. Therefore, he tells us, when using the terms “faith only” or “faith alone,” he does not mean to exclude “repentance or believing,” as he put it. Therefore, Keith wants to make it clear that he believes “three actions” (faith, belief, and repentance) make up his "faith only” claim. But dear reader, you have to ask yourself, Why? Because, it is quite clear that the Bible teaches that repentance (or turning from sin) is a condition that must be met before one is granted the remission of sins by God (cf. Acts 2:38; 3:19; 14:15; 26:18; 26:20). But because this sounds too much like something one needs to do before he can be saved (i.e., a work that must be done), Keith wants to define it as being synonymous with belief, thus making faith and repentance “two sides of the same coin.” Again, Why? Because this is what his doctrine teaches, that’s why. I know this is true because (1) I know his doctrine, and (2) I know the Bible says absolutely nothing about his doctrine, except to refute it (cf. James 2:24).
Actually, I don’t have near the problem with Keith’s description of “faith only” as he might think. As a matter of fact, I have argued, and will continue to do so, that genuine saving faith encompasses (1) believing, (2) repenting, (3) confessing, (4) being baptized, and (5) continuing to meet the conditions of God’s grace until death. But Keith must reject such a view, for such would, in Keith’s way of thinking, make salvation dependent on man’s doing (i.e., work), and Keith, being the good Calvinist he is, could never admit to such a thing. But because it is a fact that repentance is so clearly presented in God’s word as a condition that must be met in order to be saved, Keith, along with his Calvinist cohorts, must somehow accommodate this concept, making it equivalent to faith/belief. Thus, he equates repentance with belief, corralling both within the “faith only” doctrine. He attempts to justify this by arguing that both take place “within the mind, heart, or will.” But just because two things take place in the heart does not make them equivalent, unless one is willing to argue that love and hate are actually synonymous, and who in his right mind could believe such a thing? Consequently, the idea that says repentance is synonymous with belief, and thus should be viewed as the “flip side” (as some have called it) of faith, must be totally rejected. Instead, the integrity of these distinct mental states must be preserved, as they are in Mark 1:15 and Acts 20:21. Yes, repentance and belief are related, as they most certainly are within the framework of saving faith, but from a biblical standpoint, they are just as clearly not the same thing.
As Keith has correctly pointed out, the English word “repentance” is from the Greek word metanoia and conveys a change of heart that ultimately leads to a change in action or conduct. Thus, the challenge in God’s word to bring forth works “meet for repentance” (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20b, KJV). The NKJV translates “meet for” as “worthy of.” So, a person who has repented has changed. Again, that this change will be demonstrated by those who are exercising true saving faith is not a problem for me because this is exactly what I believe the Bible teaches. But this in no way argues that belief and repentance are synonymous, as Keith claims.
According to Thayer, the faith, belief, or believing that is a prerequisite for salvation (cf. Mark 16:16) is defined as: “To think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in 1a) of the thing believed 1a1) to credit, have confidence 1b) in a moral or religious reference 1b1) used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul 1b2) to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith 2) to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity 2a) to be intrusted with a thing.” This is not, of course, the definition of metanoia (repentance), and Keith knows it. Belief and repentance mean different things. Thus, they are not synonymous, as Keith claims, and his argument is directly refuted by the truths taught in God’s word. Although Keith fancies himself the expert, he’s not, and it is high time he stopped deluding himself. If belief and repentance were actually synonymous, then instead of just claiming this is so, as he’s done, he could have cited the evidence. But by now it ought to be clear that he can’t cite the evidence because, in point of fact, there isn’t any.
More Of Keith’s Made Up Definitions
Citing “additional definitions for concepts” he intends to use, Keith defines justification as:
the act whereby a redeemed sinner is declared righteous before God or other people. It does not make the sinner righteous, but is a declaration of the righteousness already possessed.
How convenient. Keith creates a definition by some sort of exegetical magic and then turns around and uses it to make an important hermeneutical point—namely, that justification does not mean what the Greek authorities say it means (unless and until you get to the tertiary definition), but is nothing more than a term that declares something has happened that has already happened. This is his point when he says, “In beating Mr. Turner to this punch, I remind him that the immediate topic of James 2:24 is justification, a declaration as defined above, not the salvation which I am affirming in my position.” Well, who died and made Keith the Pope? Although Catholics allege that when the Roman pontiff speaks ex cathedra he is actually speaking for Christ and that his edicts are, therefore, not only binding, but infallibly so, I’ve never really known a Baptist/Calvinist, until now, who thought he had the authority to just make it up as he goes.
Consequently, Keith continues to create primary definitions of Greek words mostly out of the blue. His definitions are not substantiated by those who are the actual experts in the Greek language of the New Testament. Thus, the idea of justification, derived from the Greek verb dikaioo, according to Thayer, primarily means: “to render righteous.” As has already been noted, it is not until one gets down to the tertiary definition of this word that one finds a definition that begins to form the backdrop for his argument. But if the primary definition of justification is really nothing more than declaring something that has already happened, as Keith so boldly claims, then what does this say about the blood of Jesus as described in Romans 5:9? There, Paul wrote, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” How could the idea of justification here mean what Keith claims it means? For if it did, it would be teaching that Jesus’ blood did not, in fact, render us righteous (i.e., it merely declared as true something that was already effected). Of course, this would, in turn, make the blood of Jesus serve as a formal declaration that man was already righteous (i.e., truly saved), not the very thing that effected that salvation.
But this is not the first time the blood of Jesus Christ has thrown a monkey wrench into the midst of Keith’s hermeneutical shenanigans. In Matthew 26:28, Keith rightly believed eis aphesin hamartion should be translated “for [that is to say, unto] the remission of sins.” But in Acts 2:38, he wanted to translate the same Greek prepositional phrase as “for [that is to say, because of] the remission of sins.” I demonstrated then that he did so, not because this was the consensus of the Greek scholars, but because it fit his theological construct, which is Calvinism. So, I now point out, once again, that Keith appears more than willing to play loose and fast with the definition of a word that, if accepted, would denigrate the precious blood the only begotten Son of God shed for the remission of our sins. Is this not now quite clear? And if it is, does this not help one to see the error of Keith’s proposition?
Keith’s Misinterpretation Of James 2:24 And His Bogus Claim Of A “Red Herring”
Keith’s lot in this debate is to affirm a proposition that argues man is saved by faith alone and to do so in view of a clear Bible passage that contradicts what he is affirming. So what does he do? Does he exegete James 2:24 and it’s context? No! What he does is try his best to explain away a verse that says, “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). But in his feeble attempt to do so, he arrogantly taunts, “Though he [speaking of me] may feel an urge to blur the distinction between justification and salvation (as with the translation and interpretation of eis in Acts 2:38), I choose to follow the grammatico-historical method of interpretation by observing the finer nuances of key biblical concepts.” If this was not such a serious issue, this unbelievably haughty statement would be downright laughable. What audacity! He is arguing here, if you can believe it, that I’m the one playing loose and fast with the meaning of eis aphesin hamartion, and because of this I will be tempted, he claims, to “blur the distinction” between justification and salvation. He goes on to say:
Henceforth, if Mr. Turner will submit himself to the finer distinctions of systematic theology, he must remain silent from arguing James 2:24 against my proposition since this would introduce irrelevant material to our debate. A “red herring” if you will.
The charge of “red herring,” also known as a smokescreen or wild goose chase, is a bold move by someone who is trying to explain away James 2:24 by means of his own red herring. For those who may not know, a “red herring” is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of "reasoning" has the following format:
- Topic A is under discussion.
- Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
- Topic A is abandoned.
Clearly, this sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim. But that this is actually what Keith, himself, is guilty of is exposed by his attempted out of hand dismissal of James 2:24. Thus, if Keith thinks I’m going to roll over and play dead on such a critical point, then he’s got another “think” coming. James 2:24, as was pointed out previously in this debate under the first proposition, is a passage that has stuck in the craw of many a Calvinist debater, and it is most telling, I think, that after all these years the best they can come up with are feeble attempts to explain it away, thinking the whole context in which it is found to be nothing much more than “a right strawy book,” as Luther once called James’ epistle.
In James 2:14, the rhetorical question James asks is, “Can faith save him?” The very context of this question explains that the “faith” that is the subject of this question is “faith alone.” In others words, James is asking a question where the expected answer is “No, faith alone cannot save him.” Thus, it ought to be quite clear that Keith is defending the wrong answer in this debate. In fact, how could this be any clearer? But by my pointing this out, Keith hopes you will think that I am committing the fallacy of the “red herring.” But where is there any honesty in such a tactic? And is it not true that the one who would do such a thing is really the one who is the proper subject of a verse like Romans 2:1, which says, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things”?
With this said, I want to return to Keith’s claim that he believes I will “feel the urge to blur the distinction between justification and salvation.” Keith, once again, is wrong about this. My “urge” is not to blur anything. Instead, my desire is to show what the Bible, not Calvinism, teaches on this subject. After everything is said and done (i.e., the “finer nuances,” as Keith dubbed them), justification is basically the same as forgiveness of sins, remission of sins, and the washing away of sins, in the sense that God removes these sins from His book and doesn’t hold them against us anymore. This is made clear when one follows Paul’s line of reasoning from Romans 3:27 through Romans 4:8. Throughout this whole section, the following expressions are basically equivalent: “righteousness from God...through faith” (3:22); “justified freely by His grace” (3:24); “justified by faith apart from works of law” (3:28, RSV); “it was credited him as righteousness” (4:3); “justifies the wicked” (4:5); “faith is credited as righteousness” (4:5); “credits righteousness apart from works” (4:6); “transgressions are forgiven...sins are covered” (4:7); and “whose sin the Lord will never count against him” (4:8). Notice that Paul proves his point by citing Psalm 32:1-2, which says: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.” This shows, convincingly, that justification and forgiveness are one and the same. That is, God justifies sinners by forgiving them, by not holding their sins against them, if you will. Therefore, and because of the basic equivalence of these expressions, one must never draw a conclusion to the meaning of any one of these expressions, as Keith has done, without considering them all together. Otherwise, one nullifies the blood of Christ, whereby we have been forgiven or justified (cf. Romans 5:9).
Faith Vs. Works
Furthermore, although Keith’s point that Paul and James actually stand back to back is true, the claim that they do this while fighting “different battles” is false. Paul and James are fighting, in point of fact, the very same battle. Both are defining the nature of the faith that saves and how (1) in Paul’s case, this faith doesn’t relate to works and (2) in James’ case, does relate to works. Although there are those who see such as a paradox, and Keith has used this term to describe these two accounts, when it comes to the truths taught in God’s word, there are no real paradoxes, only perceived ones. Let me explain. The Bible makes it clear that the primary condition for receiving and retaining God’s saving grace is, and has always been, faith. If Keith thinks I’m going to deny this, then he’s been spending too much time trying to refute a concocted “straw man” rather than paying attention to what I’ve actually been saying in this debate. The theme of the book of Romans is that “a man is justified by faith apart from works of law” (Romans 3:28; see also 1:16-17; 3:22,25; 5:1-2; 10:9-10), and Abraham, as in Genesis 15:6, is cited as the continuing paradigm of such justification (cf. Romans 4:1; see also Galatians 3:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 2:16; 3:26; Ephesians 2:8; 3:17; and Philippians 3:9). The basic words for faith in the New Testament are the noun pistos and the verb pisteuo. When these are used to represent faith as a condition for salvation, they include three basic connotations: assent (or belief), trust, and obedience. In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll examine each of these.
Assent (Or Belief)
Assent (or belief) is an act of the mind, a judgment of the intellect that a particular idea or statement is true. But not every statement accepted as true is a matter of faith; for some things we know to be true via personal experience or logical reasoning. Ideas we accept by faith are those that enter our consciousness via the testimony of other people, and this applies to all ideas accepted on the authority of someone else’s testimony, whether they be secular or religious. Thus, when we are talking about saving faith, it means assenting to the claims of Jesus concerning his testimony about Himself as recorded in the Scriptures, as well as to the truth of the testimony of the apostles and prophets who bear witness to Christ in the Bible (cf. Ephesians 2:20). In other words, we believe the testimony is true, even in the absence of firsthand experience. This, in part, is what saving faith is (cf. (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:1). In biblical terminology, this aspect of faith is represented by the Greek phrase pisteuo hoti (“believing that”), that is, believing with the mind that various statements and claims are true. For example, Hebrews 11:6 says that we must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. In another place Jesus said that those who do not believe that He is who He claims to be will die in their sins (cf. John 8:24). I could go on and on, but I think this is enough to make the point that belief is an integral part of saving faith.
The second aspect of saving faith is trust. While assent is a judgment of the mind regarding the truth of a statement, trust is a decision of the will to act upon the truth assented to. It involves a personal surrender to the implications and consequences of said truth. Thus, I was at least glad to hear Keith give lip-service to “Lordship Salvation,” as opposed to “Easy Believism.” I would only that he really did—for if he did, he would be agreeing with James and me that “faith [and this is saving faith] without works is dead” (James 2:20). Trust, of course, is most often directed toward a person. In other words, to trust a person is to surrender ourselves to that person. For the Christian, this person is Jesus Christ. Like Paul, the Christian thankfully exclaims, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have committed to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). As we’ve seen, when speaking of assent, the phrasing is “believing that (pisteuo hoti). But when speaking of trust, the phrasing is “believing in (or on),” (pisteuo epi). We see this in places like John 3:16, which says, “Whoever believes in [eis] Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” Acts 10:43, which says, “Everyone who believes in [eis] Him receives forgiveness of sins,” Acts 16:31, which says, “Believe in [epi] the Lord Jesus and you will be saved,” and 1 Timothy 1:16, which says, “We believe in [epi] Him for eternal life.”
The issue of obedience, no doubt, will be where Keith and I will be the furthest apart, for he believes that if a man is required to do anything in order to be saved, this would be “work” and, therefore, totally unacceptable. Nevertheless, James makes it quite clear that “faith by itself...is dead” (James 2:17). Consequently, we know that “faith by itself” is not the faith that saves. At the same time, we know that saving faith is “made perfect” by works (James 2:22). What Keith and others fail to understand is that James is not saying that perfect works are a means to salvation, for if he were, he would be clearly contradicting the apostle Paul in Romans 4:1-5 and Ephesians 2:8-9. In these passages, and other places, Paul makes it clear that when it comes to works, man has failed miserably and completely. Therefore, no one has earned, nor will anyone ever earn, their salvation. In other words, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” This means that no one, not one single person, has ever merited salvation. Now, if one were to perfectly do everything God commanded, his “salvation,” if it be fair to call it that, would be a wage earned, according to Paul in Romans 4:4. Therefore, the works being referred to by Paul and contrasted with the faith that saves are those contained within a system whereby man is “saved” by perfect doing (or “works,” if you will). Because this “ain’t” ever going to happen (cf. Romans 3:23), the only avenue or means whereby man may be saved is by grace through faith, not his perfect doing. Thus, we can be sure that when James speaks of works perfecting faith and that these, somehow, save us, he is not addressing man’s perfect doing. Instead, he is defining the kind of faith that saves, and this kind of faith is a faith that works—anything else is not saving faith, period, and this is James’ point. Saving faith, then, consists of mental assent, trust, and the willingness to obey.
Is Faith A Work, Or Not?
According to Keith, “faith is not a work at all.” This statement indicates the extent to which Keith will stoop to overstate his case. And although he incessantly claims he is using the grammatico-historical method of interpretation, the fact remains that he has seldom referred to the Scriptures when coming up with his so-called definitions of things. I am certainly not amenable to Keith’s erroneous and slip-shod definitions nor his own peculiar systematic theology. And what he sorely needs to realize is that he doesn’t get to make the rules but, like me, is under obligation to obey them. Indeed, ideas have consequences, and if one is going to claim to be employing the grammatico-historical method of interpretation, then he must be willing to let the Bible and its writers define the biblical words, concepts, and terms being employed. As it happens, I am quite familiar with the method of interpretation he incessantly goes on about, but seldom applies, and have, I believe, consistently put it to use throughout this debate. If I have not done so, then he should be able to easily point this out. Instead, he resorts to making completely unsubstantiated charges like some second-year seminarian anxious to show all who will listen to him what “neat” things he has learned in his hermeneutics classes.
In fact, there is actually a sense—I’m wondering if this may have anything to do with those “finer nuances of key biblical concepts” that Keith has written about—in which faith is referred to as a work, and a sense in which it isn’t. The first is mentioned in John 6:28-29, which says:
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him who He sent.”
Notice that Keith tries to summarily dimiss this statement of Jesus as having any real bearing on the discussion at hand by saying Jesus was “merely making a pun to communicate that salvation is entirely free and that outward rituals were not required by God for entrance into Heaven.” Oh, really now? How, pray tell, does Keith know this? A pun is defined as “the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.” Where, in the context of John 6:28-29 (either immediately or generally), does he discover any such thing? He doesn’t; but in typical Keith Saare fashion, he simply makes it up as he goes. After all, the immediate context makes it quite clear that Jesus is talking about the “labor” (that is, work) one must do that “endures to everlasting life” (John 6:27). Verses 27-29 make it clear that the faith we exercise in Jesus Christ is the work (or labor) prescribed by God that we must do in order to obtain everlasting life. As the Jamison, Fausset, and Brown Commentary points out concerning these verses, faith “lies at the threshold of all acceptable obedience, being not only the prerequisite to it, but the proper spring of it—in that sense, the work of works, emphatically ‘the work of God.’” Thus, it is clear that, in a broad sense, even faith (and all this in direct contradiction of what Keith believes and teaches) is a work.
This, I think, is why there are so many references to faith being the very means of salvation in the New Testament, and contrary to the wrong words Keith presumptuously places in my mouth concerning one of these verses, I have no problem with, and do not wish to diminish in any way, all the many references to faith which Keith listed in his First Affirmative. However, this does not mean that I agree that these appear the way they do and as frequently as they do because “faith only” is the point being made. Absolutely not. As we’ve already seen, the Bible clearly and emphatically does not teach that man is saved by faith alone—in fact, just the opposite! Nevertheless, the Bible makes it clear that faith, not works, is the means to salvation. What, then, am I referring to when I use the term “means”? Simply this: “an agency, instrument, or method used to attain an end.” Thus, and this may surprise Keith, I do believe and teach that faith is the one means by which a sinner is justified or saved (notice that I use justified here in the biblical—not the Keith Saare—sense). I am convinced that the Bible teaches that faith is the receptacle for justification—namely, that it is the one thing that we do that directly touches the cross.
Let me illustrate what I mean: the power of electricity is available through numerous outlets to run various appliances in our homes, but this power can be accessed only when a specifically designed plug is inserted into an outlet. Likewise, access to the justifying power of Christ’s blood is possible only through faith which, in this case, is the only compatible means.
Now, does this mean that I believe that man is saved by faith alone? No, it does not. The Bible makes it clear that faith, in addition to being the means whereby one is saved, operates along with several other things (viz., repentance, confession, and baptism) as conditions that must be met in order for one to be saved by God’s magnificent grace. But I found it interesting that although Keith denied that there was any sense in which faith could be described as a work, he nevertheless acknowledged faith as a condition that must be met in order to be saved. So, even Keith is willing (or so it first seems) to argue that salvation is conditional. This one condition, according to Keith, is faith. The Bible, however, teaches there are, in fact, several conditions which must be met if a person is going to be saved. But here’s my point for now, although there is disagreement between us as to what the condition/conditions is/are, we both argue that salvation is conditional, or at least that is what Keith would like for us to think. But other than the obvious differences in our positions concerning the conditional nature of salvation, I, unlike Keith, will argue my position with consistency. Keith won’t.
How do I know this? It is not just because I’m very familiar with his doctrine and its claims and, therefore, making a prediction. No, it is because he has already argued this point out of both sides of his mouth. This is a strong statement, I know, but it is absolutely true. In what can only be described as a typical reflection of Calvinistic presuppositions, Keith argues that “biblical Christianity is the only form of ‘Christianity’ in which salvation is 100% free,” thus, “even faith and repentance are freely bestowed by God!” Well, it is certainly free, all right, but it isn’t cheap, either for God or for man. What I mean by this is that if God was going to save man, and thank God this is what He decided to do, He was going to have to do something (cf. Romans 3:21-26, especially v. 26), and that something involved the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. At the same time, if man was going to be saved, he was going to have to do something, as well—namely, he would have to meet the conditions God specified in order to accept the free, but not cheap, gift of salvation. But although Keith argued that faith was a condition, making it appear he believed that man actually needed to do something in order to be saved (i.e., exercise faith), he then turned right around and said that faith is not really a condition at all, but a gift “freely bestowed by God.” As I’ve pointed out before, this is totally consistent with Calvinistic think-sos, for the genuine Calvinist does not believe that man is required to do anything in connection with salvation, for if he were, then he would be admitting that man is saved by works and not by faith only. This is why I have not hesitated to call Calvinism a “Do Nothing Religion,” for when all is said and done, Calvinists argue that man must not (indeed, cannot) do anything in order to be saved. If he did, according to them, that man would be earning his salvation.
The Other Conditions
But in spite of what Keith believes and teaches, the Bible teaches that in addition to belief, repentance is a condition for receiving and retaining salvation. This is made clear by Jesus when He said, “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5). In other words, our only choices are “to perish” or “to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In spite of what Keith believes and teaches, the Bible teaches that confession, specifically, a confession of one’s faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, is a condition for receiving salvation. In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before Men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” Paul taught “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). Finally, in spite of what Keith believes and teaches, the Bible teaches that baptism is a condition for receiving salvation (cf. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21).
Something About The “Deafening Silence” Of Which Keith Spoke
Keith claims I have exhibited a “deafening silence” concerning his reference to the “present active indicative in passages applying salvation blessings directly to the individual that believes only.” First of all, there isn’t a passage in the entire New Testament (not one) that relates salvation to one who “believes only.” Secondly, in my Second Affirmative under the “John 5:24” subheading, I dealt extensively with the present active indicative of John 5:24. I did so because Keith decided to argue a point that is really the subject of the Third Proposition to be discussed in this debate. Even so, he now has the audacity (perhaps it is actually unmitigated gall) to accuse me of a “deafening silence.” on the subject.
Keith’s Recounting Of John 3:5
Finally, by returning now to the arguments I made way back in the First Proposition, which he chose not to spend much time trying to answer at that time, Keith is, once again, completely out of order. And although he continues to claim a “deafening silence” on my part, he is, once more, just flat wrong. In fact, much of what I wrote in my First Affirmative had to do with why I thought the “born of water” statement of Jesus was referring to water baptism. Just because Keith doesn’t agree with me does not make everything I wrote a “deafening silence,” does it?
As I suspect there will be an opportunity to talk more about this as the debate continues, I see nothing that requires a response at the moment. In fact, Keith and I have already had an exchange on the new birth and water baptism, along with the Holy Spirit’s involvement. So, if and when he makes a new argument that I haven’t already dealt with, I’ll be happy to answer it then. But at the moment, I see no value in rehashing that which has already been discussed.