|Argument by works based salvationists||Response|
|If you don’t believe salvation is obtained by man having done these things, then you teach good works is not important.||This is false, and a cop-out. Because even they will argue that water baptism etc are not works, but in the same breath, they will accuse you of teaching against good works. I think they very well know that many of us who disagree with their teaching, absolutely believe good works to be important, just that we believe good works are the result of true faith/belief.|
|The Bible does not teach water baptism, confession, repentance etc to be works.||In order to harmonize their teaching with Ephesians 2:8, they will claim that water baptism etc are not works, and may say they are parts of the process or catalysts. Whatever wording we use, whether we say “work”, “catalyst”, “part” does not matter because even John 6:29 calls believing a work.|
|Are you making yourself out to be smarter than those from the past who taught this doctrine?||Don’t get into that argument. It is based on a false presupposition, a false start. If they understand from Scripture the colour dark green, and we understand light green, then no matter who follows after we will see as we did initially.|
|You are not relying on the Bible alone.||Lots of people when they don’t hear what they want to hear will say this. Particularly when you are trying to explain your understanding of what Scripture is teaching. But in reality, everyone when explaining themselves,
use words or phrases which are not verbatim in Scripture. You can always point the person back to their doctrine and point out words which are not found in the Bible but used in their doctrine. Obviously they believe what is written in their doctrine is supported by Scripture, and same for your own statements of faith. If they are honest, they won’t argue on this.
Someone might ask, well aren’t these valid talking points?
They are misguided. Let’s address his message and see. I will not address whether the US is still or no longer a Christian nation. Or whether or not the nation should be ruled via Christian principles. What I will address are the passages that Obama misrepresents. For some Christian, he sure doesn’t seem to have much faith in what’s written in the Bible. But that too I won’t bother to get into.
Whose Christianity would we teach? Biblical Christianity. Explain scripture with scripture, and things iron out very easily. So then it is not JtM’s Christianity or Obama’s Christianity, but Biblical Christianity that’s important.
There are some things which, with a non-seared conscience (1 Timothy 4:2), people just know inherently are either morally right or wrong.
“Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, do by nature what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the Law, since they show that the work of the Law is written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts either accusing or defending them. ” – Romans 2:14-15
It really is something else that Obama would stand there and suggest that the Bible is condoning the cruel form of slavery that we know of today. If it did, then why even bother to free the Israelites from the Egyptians? Scripture makes it clear about how we are to treat others.
“And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him” – Ephesians 6:9
So obviously, if a passage seems to be speaking favorably of someone owning slaves, then there are also rules on how those people are to be treated. And once we understand these rules, we see Scripture is in no way condoning mistreatment of others. So the slave-master relationship, is really as we have today an employee-employer relationship.
Back then, they didn’t have the methods of cooking or certain sciences (at least not without divine revelation) as we do now. Shellfish needs to be prepared properly.1 God wanted to prepare a healthy heap of people to bring the Messiah out of. Not a set of sickly people. Who would listen to the Gospel from a bunch of miserable looking people?
“And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.” – Daniel 1:15-16
Daniel’s testimony influenced the Babylonians. A sick looking Daniel would have hurt the mission.
Straying from the faith
I suppose he is referring to Deuteronomy 21:18-21. Obviously it is not referring to no light rebellion since: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4
This obviously lets us know how parents are to treat their children and how to train them up. So if a parent were to be stoning their child to death, obviously it is concerning serious matters.
In fact, Obama’s quotation of the passage is in err since the verse is not even talking about straying from the faith, though obviously someone in such rebellion has already strayed. If straying from the faith was the problem, then what’s up with the story of the Prodigal Son? Obama makes it seem as if the Bible is saying if a child decides to no longer be a Christian, they are to be stoned. Sorry Obama, but that’s Islam.2
If Obama is speaking of Deuteronomy 13:6-10 in regards to leading people away from the faith to worship other gods, then we know from other areas in Scripture that idol worshipping often involved human sacrifice and other forms of wickedness.
“He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites.” – 2 Kings 16:3
“They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal–something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.” – Jeremiah 19:5
Even so, how could the Messiah come from a people who were busy worshipping idols? Who would even recognize Him? They struggled to recognize Him even when they were at their “best” or “most religious”.
“Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” – John 14:8-9
“Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” – John 8:19
I don’t see anywhere in Scripture which teaches that people are to be stoned for straying from their faith; strays can be found. Stoning is the punishment for a deeper, much more treacherous kind of rebellion. Even if there were such teachings about stoning for “straying from the faith” in the Old Testament, then it is clear from the New Covenant, that Christ’s sacrifice offers mercy for the stray, which was so beautifully described from the story of the Good Father, normally called the Prodigal Son.
The Bible must be read full-circle. Can’t just pick out a bunch of passages and call it George or call it a day.3 It is very easy to fall into the lime light or same line of thinking if we are not careful to study or do the research ourselves, even if the talking points are favorable for our own worldview or ideology.