Vol. 1 - No. 12
Is There Anything I MUST Do?
by R. L. (Bob) Craig
Controversy seems to be raging among gospel preachers, in particular, concerning some Calvinistic concepts that should have been settled in their minds years ago. Now, if they are as confused as they seem to be, then they need to back off, study this thing through, get their arguments straight, be sure their actions are sincere, and then go and join one of the denominations they, at present, seem to be parroting. But, instead, they are confusing the minds of many people with their coined phrases and their own confused thinking. Churches have been divided, yea, destroyed, because of all the double talk and spiritual gobble-de-gook that is taking place.
So, in this article, I am just going back to the basics. We will just forget about so-called “grace preachers,” “Christ's imputed righteousness,” “transferal,” “coverings,” “he wants hearts, not bodies,” etc., etc. If a person MUST understand all this theological double-talk, then most all of us will be lost and that, then, would fly in the face of their own doctrine that MORE of us are going to be saved than any of us ever imagined. What shall it be, brethren? Grace and salvation for the many, even for those ignorant of all this babble of voices, or confusion, division, chaos, and ALL lost because of strife and discord which you brethren are fomenting.
I firmly believe that most of these men (I haven't heard or read from all of them) still believe the basic things of the gospel which I believe. Now why they want to launch out into these weird positions they are espousing, I am not sure. I have my ideas but they are my own judgment, therefore subject to error, so we will just let them lie.
But, it is NOT my own judgment that there is something that MUST be done in order to be saved; that is an established Bible fact. Every responsible individual can understand the answer that Peter gave the believing Jews on Pentecost: “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins...“ (Acts 2:38) There are MULTITUDES of people who do not BELIEVE that but there are NONE who misunderstand what was said. Then these 3000 people were REQUIRED to live godly in Christ Jesus. We have lists of specific sins, including fornication and adultery, in many New Testament passages: Romans I; I Corinthians 5 includes both believer and unbeliever; Galatians 5; Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15 and others, for which failure to comply with will cut us off from our inheritance in heaven and bring us to eternal torment.
I am not opposed to the phrases -- plan of salvation, scheme of redemption, way of salvation, etc., because the idea behind each of these is in the New Testament. Perhaps we do use phrases so regularly that people get to associating these phrases with the “church of Christ,” but that doesn't make them UNscriptural. I remember that several years ago, if you used the term “obey the gospel,” you were immediately marked as a “Campbellite,” but that didn't make me to be a Campbellite, did it?
Now, I have presented in simple, basic Bible terms, how a person finally gets to heaven. Of course, we MUST include worship “in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:24) call it “5 items” or whatever you wish. We must obey the gospel from the depths of our hearts (he wants our bodies just as he wants our hearts), we must worship in harmony with New Testament precepts, we must, by faith, live a godly life, and we must call on God to forgive our sins when we commit such (1 John 1:9). If one falls in the category of the above, he has the blessed assurance of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that heaven will be his eternal abiding place.
SO, WHO WILL DENY IT?
If someone does want to deny it, I will meet him in public debate and contend for what the Bible teaches. But, remember, I am not talking about entering into or providing a medium for endless wrangling about technical or theological words and phrases. We have had too much of that. The people are sick and tired and confused -- me too!
Now, if they do NOT deny what I have said, then just what are they talking about?
Don't you think this is a good way to separate the wheat from the chaff? If a preacher who calls himself a gospel preacher DENIES what I have presented, then the congregation with which he works can't afford to keep him for if they do, they will be a partaker of his false ideas (2 John 9-11). But, if he agrees, then the elders of the congregation with which he works, need to stop his mouth (Titus 1:11) and have him get on with the preaching of the simple gospel of God's Son.