Using the NT to refute Campbellite errors regarding lost salvation

Discussion in 'NT Epistles' started by JasonGoodwin, Sep 19, 2005.

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  1. JasonGoodwin

    JasonGoodwin Puritan Board Sophomore


    If any of you could help me out with something, I would really appreciate it. I don't care if you're RB or Presbys. I am just seeking the Scriptural means to refute some errors of the Campbellites. I am married to one, and she continues to tell me that my theology is wrong -- especially with regards to eternal security.

    The Campbellites teach that the Bible says we can lose our salvation. They constantly refer to Hebrews 6:4-6 as the basis for their argument. I'm sure we all know that their argument here is flawed (to say the least). Yet, they insist that it means a Christian can lose his or her salvation.

    If that is the case, how can they possibly weigh that in the balance of Romans 8 and Ephesians 1-2? They can't! It is all based on a false premise that, to my understanding, is taught nowhere in Scripture. I have never read any account of anyone in Scripture losing their salvation after they had been saved.

    As for Hebrews 6, I have come to understand that it deals more with hypocrites who gain some kind of head knowledge of not just Scripture, but theology as well. I came to understand this as I was reading the latest issue of Free Grace Broadcaster (Fall 2005), in which the subject matter was Hypocrisy. It seems to me that when we take a closer look at vv. 4-6, it says that those people were enlightened. It says that they were partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come. However, it does not say that they were saved.

    Something else to consider: if the Campbellites continue to insist that we can lose our salvation, would that mean that they would also have to completely disregard Gal. 2:20-21?

    Furthermore, how would they know if someone did lose their salvation? Wouldn't that be tantamount to judging someone, which runs counter to Matthew 7:1-5? Considering how Jesus told us not to judge, wouldn't judging someone be considered a fruit of the flesh and not of the Spirit? I know that's taking the original subject off on a tangent, but I included this to justify my refutation of a serious Campbellite flaw.

    Any comments, thoughts, etc. are welcome.

  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    You might want to get ahold of Grudem's recent article on Hebrews 6. I think he does a pretty extensive study of the text, and the historical (Rabbinical) use of the terms there.

    Owen is also very helpful. If you'd like, I'll make a pdf of the relevant section ad post it here.
  3. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie Puritan Board Freshman

    Hebrews 6:4 is interesting. My question would be: are the "unsaved" also made partakers of the Holy Spirit? If they are, this could explain the verse. The context of the Book of Hebrews seems to detail the New Covenant (as well as the changes to the ceremonial law).

    If Hebrews 6:4 is talking about those who have been made partakers of the New Covenant, this could seem troubling.

    As far as the giving of the Spirit, it looks like to me that this is one of God's provisions to the elect as part of the New Covenant.... "I will put My Spirit within you." All this may also be connected to Hebrews 10:26-29. I don't know.

    I would try and find NT examples where God's Spirit has been given to certain individuals to accomplish acts other than for one's sanctification.

    Also take a look at Exodus 32:32 and Revelation 3:5. These scriptures may also be used by a Campbellite pointing to one loosing salvation.

    My questions (to a Campbellite) concerning this topic:
    1. How does one loose his salvation?
    2. How do you get your name blotted out of the Book of Life?
    3. What is the condition placed on the believer under the terms of the New Covenant?... i.e. obedience to the law?

    Christ paid the demand of the law which requires your death (this is one's justification). I am assuming Campbellites believe they are now indebt to Christ. Perpetual disobedience to the King, who has paid the penalty for our death, now has authority to blot out His sheep who disregard the laws to His Kingdom. Is this what they believe?

    Interesting subject. Hope you get lots of responses.
  4. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Right. Verse 9 makes it clear that they were not saved:

    "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner."
  5. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Is an OT example sufficient?

    [Edited on 9-20-2005 by poimen]
  6. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  7. BrianBowman

    BrianBowman Posting Priviledges Revoked

    . . . also, with any "proof text" argment like this there is usually a panoply of ignored presuppositions surrounding historical context, exegesis, and just plain ole seeing God's immutable nature of sovereign grace woven throughout Scripture. I don't believe the Hebrews 6 verses teach the loss of salvation, but at the same time, trying to demonstrate this to someone who will only take this text (and ones like it) at "face value" is along the same lines as a "free grace dispensationalist" (FGD) saying that John 5:24 "seals it" for easy believing with eternally secure results. The FGD may even appeal to the Perfect Active Indicative of metabaino (continous action with ongoing results as a fact) in the John 5:24 closing phrase ("... but has passed from death unto life"). For what it's worth, those who I've known who come from Cambell's perspective usually don't even attempt exegesis or appeal to historical frame of reference.

    I know this trite, but I would just love her and pray for her, especially Paul's prayer in Eph 1:17-23.


    [Edited on 9-20-2005 by BrianBowman]
  8. JasonGoodwin

    JasonGoodwin Puritan Board Sophomore

    Please do. I'd love to read it.
  9. SmokingFlax

    SmokingFlax Puritan Board Sophomore

    Can anyone relate to me which denomination the "Campbellites" are? Is it Church of Christ?

    [Edited on 9-20-2005 by SmokingFlax]
  10. BrianBowman

    BrianBowman Posting Priviledges Revoked


    The Churches of Christ, but also the Christian Church and the The Disciples of Christ (DOC). The DOC are for the most part now liberal apostates. I believe that the Christian Church is "middle of the road". The Churches of Christ are for the most part conservative and "fundamental". However, the "Boston Movement" which moprhed into the International Church of Christ (ICOC) is basically an extreme "sect" borderlining on a cult.

    It is my understanding that a couple of years ago the ICOC suffered devestation on the heels of its senior leadership being exposed in sexual immorality. The same thing happen to the former "dispy sect", Greater Grace World Outreach (GGWO) that my wife and I were a part of. Although, GGWO is *not* very similiar to any of the Cambell movements/churches, it had much the same "little flock" mentality that the ICOC was reputed for.

    [Edited on 9-20-2005 by BrianBowman]
  11. JasonGoodwin

    JasonGoodwin Puritan Board Sophomore

    The Church of Christ got their start from Thomas and Alexander Campbell, a father/son team originally from Scotland. They claim to be undenominational, but their teachings run all the way across the "board" (meaning from church to church). There isn't much deviation from what the Campbells taught, unless, of course, you attend Max Lucado's Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, TX (another post-modern evangelical). The only difference is that they have no denominational central headquarters. However, as far as I'm concerned, parallel teachings make for a denominational label (even for your independent Charismatics), and there is no denying that.

    I'll give the Campbellites credit for being "conservative" from a social standpoint. However, I would have to give them a thumbs down rating for being inconsistent, in that, while being conservative, their theology is seriously defective ("suspect" is not the word).
  12. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Here it is.Owen on Hebrews 6:4-6 (PDF format)

    [Edited on 9/21/2005 by fredtgreco]
  13. sola_gratia

    sola_gratia Puritan Board Freshman

    I use to be a member of a church of christ. But, by God's grace, some kids I met invited me to their bible study and they watched lectures by Sproul at their bible study. I began to take an interest in theology and before too long...I could no longer accept the things being taught at the CoC and I left. It's not easy, I wrestled with it for a long time, and they even had someone try to convince into coming back, but by that time I had already come to accept DoG and there was no convincing me to come back there. My advice would be just to be patient with her. I can almost guarentee she is struggling with the issue on the inside. Just keep using lots of scripture too.

    I'll keep her in my prayers.

  14. JasonGoodwin

    JasonGoodwin Puritan Board Sophomore

    They have a nasty habit of cherry-picking Scripture to suit their teachings, don't they?:banghead:

    The odd thing about them is that they have "political" and familial leanings. They have a habit of playing the family guilt trip. "How do you think this will affect your family, who are all members of the CofC?" is one of their arguments. (The papists do the same thing.) However, even Jesus said that if we cannot follow Him on account of our family members, we cannot be His disciples.

    Levi, I'd be interested to see what you have to have to say about this.

  15. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    As some of you know, my maternal roots go all the way back to Thomas and Alexander Campbell. The vast majority of my extended family is involved in the Church of Christ. To properly understand them you have to know the mileu in which they lived. What the movement has become now would appal them.

    Let me clarify one thing. The Disciples of Christ is in no means anything remotely similar to the Independant Christian Church or the non-instrumental Church of Christ. They originally were a part of the same movement, but they broke decades ago and most are truly apostate. Most, not all. And, yes, the ICOC / Boston movement is a cult. My father was a very good friend to the founders of that movement when it actually began in Gainsville, FL. It was called the Crossroads church at that time. It is tragic what has become of that group. I still weep over some of my friends who have been destroyed by it.

    Sweeping generalisations of the movement are impossible to make. Their are a great variety of theolgocial differences within the movement. The general stances are usually lumped around certain university or preacher training school positions.

    Jason, please do not debate with your wife. Love her. Don't attempt to sway here. Live out the security you have in Christ rather than to try to berate her for her error. If her family is attending a Restoration movment church she is probably already catching heat from them. She doesn't need any more.

    Is their family pressure to 'keep folks in the fold' Oh, yes. But I have not seen any church type that did have that. So, let's not point fingers.
  16. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    My two cents. You can think of people in three categories. First, you have spiritually blind unbelievers. They do not recognize Jesus as the Christ. For examples, Jesus prayed for his murderers that they be forgiven because "they know not what they do." Similarly, Paul says he was forgiven his persecution b/c he acted in ignorance. 1 Tim. 1:13.

    Then, you have a class of people who have been enlightened somewhat by the Spirit, although never to saving faith. They have what Calvin called "temporary faith," which does not have all the benefits of salvation. Our Confession describes the Spirit's work as "common operations of the Spirit." These are like those who recognized Christ but would not follow Him b/c they preferred the praise of men and like those who blasphemed the Holy Spirit by ascribing Christ's work to the Devil even though they knew better. Bottom line - these people were never truly saved but were enlightened beyond the normal unbeliever. If you think of saving faith as having two elements (some propose more) of (1) intellectual assent and (2) trust, this class of people only have element (1).

    The third class is the those with saving faith, which include union with Christ, perseverance, etc. Or, as Hebrews 6 says, the things that "accompany salvation." Allot of people ignore the second class of people and so their exegesis of Hebrews 6 and related passages becomes difficult and not persuasive to Campebllites and those like them. Focusing on class 2 people and the reality of apostacy may help your discussions, because it takes the texts seriously and does not seem like an attempt to dodge a hard text.

    Here are a few relevant items:

    "¢ Westminster Confession 10.4: "œIV. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved. . ."

    "¢ Calvin´s Commentary on Hebrews 6: "œBut here arises a new question, how can it be that he who has once made such a progress should afterwards fall away? For God, it may be said, calls none effectually but the elect, and Paul testifies that they are really his sons who are led by his Spirit, (Romans 8:14;) and he teaches us, that it is a sure pledge of adoption when Christ makes us partakers of his Spirit. The elect are also beyond the danger of finally falling away; for the Father who gave them to be preserved by Christ his Son is greater than all, and Christ promises to watch over them all so that none may perish. To all this I answer, That God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate; for they are renewed after his image and receive the earnest of the Spirit in hope of the future inheritance, and by the same Spirit the Gospel is sealed in their hearts. But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts. Otherwise, where would be the temporal faith mentioned by Mark 4:17 [and Matthew 13]? There is therefore some knowledge even in the reprobate, which afterwards vanishes away, either because it did not strike roots sufficiently deep, or because it withers, being choked up."

    "¢ Calvin´s Commentary on Matthew 13. "œThis class differs from the former; for temporary faith, being a sort of vegetation of the seed, promises at first some fruit; but their hearts are not so properly and thoroughly subdued, as to have the softness necessary for their continued nourishment. We see too many of this class in our own day, who eagerly embrace the Gospel, and shortly afterwards fall off; for they have not the lively affection that is necessary to give them firmness and perseverance. Let every one then examine himself thoroughly, that the alacrity which gives out a bright flame may not quickly go out, as the saying is, like a fire of tow; for if the word does not fully penetrate the whole heart, and strike its roots deep, faith will want the supply of moisture that is necessary for perseverance. Great commendation is due, no doubt, to that promptitude, which receives the word of God with joy, and without delay, as soon as it is published; but let us learn, that nothing has been done, till faith acquires true firmness, that it may not wither in the first blade."
  17. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    Curious, for those who believe that one can loose their salvation, at what time does, or by what sin causes, the Spirit of Christ to finally depart? Is it after 200 consecutive sins, or after a "œbig" sin is committed? At what moment does the Spirit of Christ indwell and at what moment does He leave, and then at what moment does He come back?

    And if this is the case, then what was John thinking when he said, "œThey went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19). How would John answer such questions as to when He came and when He left and when He comes back?

    Honestly, I am curious. I am sure they have an answer to such a question because if this is true, then we all should know the answer or at least be concerned about what the answer is.
  18. Scott

    Scott Puritan Board Graduate

    The people I have heard have said that it is wilful and deliberate (not in a fit of anger) renunciation of Christ.
  19. CalsFarmer

    CalsFarmer Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear Jason,

    My hubby is coc. When I married him I had NO idea. He was atending a PCA church with me..then there were problems.....then.....

    Its like talking to a brick wall. A reformed pastor spent months with him in study and all he wanted to do was argue. May I suggest some time off?

    She is in Gods hands as hubby is.

    What you have here is the classic double bind situation. If she is right you are going to hell. If you are right she is going to hell. In the coc SOMEONE has to go to hell.

    My prayers are with you...oh I know your shoes and steps....

    You can u2u me if you would like to discuss more quietly.
  20. JasonGoodwin

    JasonGoodwin Puritan Board Sophomore


    I really appreciate everyone's feedback. You have given me plenty to think about AND pray about.

    Lawrence, thanks for exhorting me to cease the arguments. I would have to say that more is accomplished through prayer and patience than by useless debate. I know that it is easier said than done, but I pray that if I sense that there's about to be a debate on theological matters between someone Reformed like me and a Campbellite like my wife, then I need to have the courage to say, "I'm not going to debate this."

    Fred, I have not had the chance to read Owen's writings on Hebrews 6 yet. I will get back with you when time permits. Thanks for sending me the link.

    May God be with us all.

  21. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I have read through the exchanges. Lawrence makes many valid, important points which I agree with. I have studied the COC and am familiar with them. I am well aware of their leadership (Kip MCKeon) and the offshoots (Boston Movement). The concern of mine is obviously the situation with your wife and your headship over her. Prayer is paramount. However, what would Christ command of you in regards to the situation, your wife and children (if there is any)? Is she teachable; it seems as if the COC has done what they do best (brainwashing).

    There is a lot to consider here. As I have earlier mentioned, and as we have talked about privately, your job is at the root of this. I understand God has called you to provide for your family, bt if us husbands are not at the helm to oversee, the ship can run aground. Woman and children are the weaker vessels, they need us to come up alongside them and help; of course gently, compassionately, with kindness.

    There are many isues here that cannot be expressed in these dialogs. My heart goes out to you. I have struggled along with you and your needs in this situation (you know I am familiar with much of it by our off-line discussions). It is my opinion that the church (if you had one) should step in to help you; financially or whatever, until you find gainful, typical employment. However, you do not have a church really. <what to do????>

    A few people mention 'prayer'. Obvioulsy. Under the circumstances, based upon the trend, I do not see much you can do above that at this point. This is going to be a long road; much repaving must be done. I will keep you in prayer.
  22. LawrenceU

    LawrenceU Puritan Board Doctor

    Just for the record: Kip is most definitely NOT in leadership in the mainstream CofC. He is in the International CofC ie, Boston/Crossroads. He is considered apostate by the mainline CofC churches.
  23. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Thank you for the clarification. The majority of my experience has been with the Boston mov't.
  24. JasonGoodwin

    JasonGoodwin Puritan Board Sophomore


    I appreciate your feedback. At least you understand what kind of pickle I'm in.

    To everyone who has written on this thread: thank you for all of your prayers. I know that there have not been any visible results at this time, but we never know when our prayers will be answered.
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