05 January 2012

The "pious heretic" dodge (NEXT! #28)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: Anyone who does good works in the name of Jesus must be acceptable to God. Especially if they're really-really good.

Response: ...and the man who rapes your daughter but gives her car an oil change because he "loves" her so much should be acceptable to you?


(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature

56 comments:

dac said...

your challenge is ripe for a riposte, but instead your response seems like a non sequitur

Tom Chantry said...

Some of the NEXT! posts have resonated (with me) more than others, but this is the best yet.

Dac, it's not a non sequitur, it's a parable. Those often sound like non sequiturs until you examine them closely. The challenge has to do with a sinner and an offended God. Start fitting the pieces of the parable together - it's an excellent response.

Jeremiah Halstead said...

I'd still like to know which particular good-works-doer brought that on.

DJP said...

Yes, this would be a good time for a word to those new to the blog, and/or those who have never read any of the preceding 27 Next! posts.

It is as a rule important always to note hyper-linked texts in posts. In (virtually?) every Next! post, there are at least two hyperlinks. Both are essential. The word NEXT! is always hyperlinked, taking the reader back to the first in the series which explains the series. The second usually gives Biblical basis/bases for the pity point being essayed.

Strong Tower said...

To speak the truth in love first it must be established what is the truth. For a man to be free from the guilt of raping another's conscience he must first know that his word's are built on the right foundation and conform to what he has received, not what he has not. Seeing that you have received Christ walk in him, for his words are truth, and he who is in him must by definition, speak as he does. The Scriptures testify of Jesus, just as he does. If your testimony is about you or mankind like you, there is an immediate problem, and by definition, no matter how tasty the treat looks or tastes, it is laced with what has been a killer from the beginning. Or succinctly, "You are of your father the devil... his works you will do because he also speaks of himself."

Tax Collector said...

According to Matthew 7:21-23, the works must be based on the objective truth of God's Word.

Daryl said...

Until I realize that my sin of not glorifying God as he really deserves is infinitely worse than the sin of rape, I will never really understand the cross...

...and will continue to believe that teaching Sunday school or giving a kid my lunch is to the worship of God what an oil change is to rape...

It took me a moment to see what you were saying, but I echo Tom, this is one of your best NEXT's yet.

DJP said...

By the way, some background reading on this post:

Overall

Applied

The latter in particular really offended some people who, it seemed to me, really needed to be offended.

Solameanie said...

"Pity Point." That phrase alone is worth a T-Shirt or a pin-on button. A song-writing friend once wrote a tune called "Pity Pity Poor Poor Me" that would go hand in glove with this "NEXT."

Btw, I also enjoyed the post linked in your "applied" below. I had read it when you originally posted it, but it's worth reading again. Quite a few in the professed church still haven't gotten the message.

DJP said...

Yeah, it was really a brilliant expression, wasn't it? For a lame misspelling of "pithy," I mean.

I like it better your way!

(c:

Cathy said...

Hmmm- makes me think of a particular revered nun, who seems always to be held up as the epitome of a disciple of Christ. She worked tirelessly for the poor and orphaned. She was kind and compassionate and she did talk of loving Jesus. However- her theology was a blend of Catholic works righteousness, Mary-idolatry, universalism, and "redemptive suffering." Many refuse to believe that such a person could be under God's wrath: "She was so good!"
I get why nonbelievers think this. I really don't get it when believers do. I really don't see how God could be more clear that knowing Him how He has revealed Himself, and then coming to Him on His own terms is the only way you can be made righteous or good.

DJP said...

Yep. And what all the fans don't get is that it really, truly trivializes the Cross, insults the Father's love for His Son and the sacrifice of the Son. I try to develop that at length in my first non-Driscoll-sexbook. If works and sincerity and all were sufficient, the Cross was a huge mistake and a travesty and (literally) overkill.

dac said...

tc - I thought these where proverbs, not parables?

I really enjoy Dan's book, and I think the challenge is a worthy target of a parable.


It just doesn't work for me. Your mileage may vary. I apologize if only fan boy responses were expected

Darlene said...

Ok, I'll take a shot at this since it's framed in a challenge.

"Anyone who does good works in the name of Jesus must be acceptable to God, especially if they're really-really good."

I don't quite get the "really-really good" part. Of course, one could ask (in this case moi), what if one thinks that even a genuine, committed Christian (some might say "spirit-filled"), & (not like the "pious heretic" example here), cannot do good works that are acceptable to God? That even this Christian's good works IN THE NAME OF JESUS (that's key = the REAL Jesus) are filthy and unacceptable to God? That EVERYTHING the Christian does is tainted with sin? What of this viewpoint? I've been around a few of these kind of Christians so I'm not speaking hypothetically here.

Moving on, I would have to ask, in the name of what Jesus? Who is their Jesus? The Jehovah's Witness Jesus, the Mormon Jesus, the Hippie Jesus, the...get my drift?

Now back to the "really-really" good part. I know there's that part in the gospel of Matthew that says "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" but I've got a sneaky suspicion you aren't referencing this text of Scripture. So who exactly would be this really-really good person apart from the above text (which doesn't imply "really-really good anyhow")? Of course, that's the point isn't it? In other words, no one fits the bill.

Now, on to the Response. "and the man who rapes your daughter but gives her an oil change because he "loves" her so much should be acceptable to you?"

Ok, I've gotta say this plain just doess't make sense unless there's implications of which I'm unaware - you know, loaded language and all that. Does he rape the girl and then give an oil change out of a guilty conscience? Or does he first give an oil change and due to his lust, then rape the girl? There is a difference as regards motive, but an evil act is an evil act nonetheless. But perhaps when you say "rape", you actually mean fornication. That would fit into the scenario a bit better.

Pondering this enigma a bit further I'd have to say that (forgive me in advance) it's a bit absurd as in illogical. I'd have to concur with the first commenter. Furthermore, the rapist isn't so much of a heretic as he is just a really-really bad dude, in plain terms - a sociopath. Now if the guy is sleeping with the girl, and she is a willing partner, the terms of the scenario are altered. The chances of a sociopathic rapist doing good works "in the name of Jesus" is a bit of a stretch. Maybe you're thinking of Ted Bundy, but even he didn't claim to be working "for Jesus" at the sucicide call center.

Your Response does not jive with the Challenge - it's an over-kill, in my opinion. You need to re-work this parable into something more believable, FWIW.

Darlene said...

"The sins of some men are conspicuous, pointing to judgement, but the sins of others appear later. So also good deeds are conspicuous, and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden."

Now that I'm thinkin' about it, maybe you had John Gacy in mind.

Darlene said...

Ah dac, it's good to have dissenting voices. It's what makes a blog interesting and lively. Who wants a blog = the Amen Crowd. That is the epitome of BOOORRRING!!!

Tom Chantry said...

@Dac,

OK, the fan-boy remark was mildly out of line, imo. I wasn't saying, "You have to like this post." As I think I indicated, some of the NEXT! posts haven't exactly resonated with me. (Of course, I don't feel a need to then post something like, "Hey, Dan, this one's not so good!" It's enough - for me at least - to say to myself, "Alright, I wouldn't answer that one that way, but so be it.") So no, there's no expectation that every reader will be a fan of each post.

But you said the response seemed like a non sequitur. That sugests that you don't understand the connection between the challenge and response - as though Dan had answered the question "How many roads must a man walk down?" with the response "Green."

So, if you don't understand, perhaps look at the response as a parable, and try to figure out what Dan is saying, then you can decide whether or not you agree.

Let me try to frame it for you again. The challenge involves a person who has done good works and we want him to be accepted by God, but there is a problem in that he has offended God by unbelief. Should his good works make up for that? Dan tells a parable: there is a man with a daughter and another man who raped her. (Two men - one who is offended, another who is the offender - we ought to be able to plug that into the initial challenge, right?) And, there is a good work (an oil change in this case). So the question is, will this offended father say, "Wow, you gave my daughter an oil change - you're such a nice guy! It's OK about you raping her and all!"

I know, it seems silly. But the person positing the challenge expects God to say, "Wow, you served a meal to some homeless people - you're such a nice guy! It's OK about you scorning my Son and rejecting His gospel!" Is that any different? Only to someone who imagines that rape is worse than rejecting Christ.

Now, Dac, you are welcome to hate this analogy and think it's foolhardy. I wouldn't want to force you to be a fanboy. However, it is most certainly not a non sequitur.

DJP said...

Tom, bingo. And I am a fanboy.

stratagem said...

especially since no one is really-really good!

Cathy said...

Darlene- this is exactly why I think of Mother Teresa in Dan's parable. Most people think of her as "good."
But who is she in this parable- she's represented by the rapist. Why? Because she committed a heinous crime. What was her crime? Rejecting the grace of God through Jesus Christ. She spent her life trying to be good enough and work hard enough to be acceptable to God while claiming love for Jesus. All of her "good works" amounted to nothing more than an oil change.

Scooter said...

I'm trying to figure out if Dan addresses 2 different problems with this NEXT! The first one would be Christians who say "Lord! Lord!" but bare no fruit. The second is in general the view that good works = acceptable to God as if these works cause God take to an eraser to the bad works.

Either way, the idea that man can and should decide what constitutes a good work is laid bare, revealing that God is not the center.

This truth seems simple, but I'm continuously surprised that it isn't so in my own life.

Scooter said...

Stratagem - not true. My mom always said I was good, and she seems pretty unbiased.

G Money Funk dog said...

Tom, or maybe like me he has a right to not be a fan-boy without one of the fanboys feeling like he has to defend what some others may disagree with. Otherwise comments should only be allowed by the fan-boys if you dont want to hear negative responses.

Furthermore, the creator never required us to be Calvinists so it is quite acceptable to Him for people not to agree with all Christian sects (YOU). Personally I think the post was beyond a foolish waste of time, I mean seriously. Do yall have lives??

DJP said...

Scooter, there may be multiple applications, but I primarily have in mind folks, including evangelicals, who are so dazzled by good works (helping the poor, being pro life, working in the inner city, etc.) and a good reputation in the world that they aggressively insist that we must wink at little details like rejecting the gospel of grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, or the Trinity, or suchlike.

Tom Chantry said...

Hey, anonymous fake-name commenter #2, just so you know, anonymous initialled commenter #1 often comes here and actually interacts, sop when he said "it's a non-sequitur," I assumed he didn't comprehend the post, not just that he didn't like it.

As for you, who stomped on your joy today?

* note to all and sundry - how did I know that would be a blank profile? Does anyone ever go around and say, "Hi, I'm John Johnson of Waco, TX and I think you're a bunch of morons!" No! It's always the secretive dive-bomber - who think's we're wasting our time!

Scooter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scooter said...

Ahh, so the premise of these folks is not, "what is the will of God?" but "How can I please the world so they will like God?" or something like that.

My thanks for using small words. My mind is having an extra slow day.

Daryl said...

Can I say, to those who are suggesting that this post is an example of over-kill...that it's actually an example of under-kill.

To call it over kill is to suggest that sinning against a creature is more vile than sinning against the creator.

I think not. Although I understand the gut reaction to the word "rape".

Do we not need to get to that same gut reaction to the phrase "rejecting Christ".

On the other hand...we do tend to be understanding and merciful, even piteous toward the unbeliever for his fate in hell, and less merciful toward the fate of a rapist, no matter the fate.

Is that normal and right? Or is it an example of our man-centredness.

I think Phineas and Moses would say we're too man-centred. And that case wan't even rape...and it wasn't just the guy who got the sharp end of the stick...

Solameanie said...

For what it's worth, I tend to start out with a rather key point in Scripture, i.e. John 3:18. Those who do not believe are "condemned already." It doesn't matter how many "righteous" works they do. None of them will count one iota.

Therefore, someone pleading before God that He should let them into heaven because they did A, B and/or C will not be accepted. If they don't show up at the wedding clothed in Christ's righteousness, the bouncer will show them the door.

Strong Tower said...

Each one dropped their stone and walked away.

But later... "You are doing the works your father did." They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.”

"And you're trying to kill me, why?"

Darlene said...

I will clarify something I alluded to in my first comment. From all that you've said about this guy, he doesn't seem to be a heretic at all. Heretic necessitates the act of choosing, and choosing with the full knowledge of doing so. They return to the vomit and the mud after they were delivered from their sins. They willingly choose to turn away from the living God, having once known righteousness as is described in II Peter ch 2. It seems this person was a fake all along - posing as the real deal, but fake through and through.

Along the line of good works, I'll reiterate again what I said in my first comment. There are those Christians who think that any good works done by Christians (not non-Christians, false brethren, tares, any number of synonyms along this line), GENUINE/REAL DEAL CHRISTIANS, are still tainted by sin and in effect as filthy rags. Does anyone give merit to such a viewpoint? Having been around Christians with this viewpoint I can tell ya that works are basically unimportant to them. Nevermind that Christ said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your Good Works and give glory to your Father in heaven." And then there's that chapter in James, which I won't bother quoting.

I would say that works matter plenty when it comes to the Real/Bonafide Christian.

DJP said...

OK, so, you're saying that my guy, the guy in my post, the guy that I made up, the guy that I said is a heretic - is not a heretic? That I'm wrong about the guy I made up?

This kind of clues the issues you're having with a 47-word post. The others have already explained it, pretty much. It wasn't a mystery. The only mystery is why evangelicals go all limp in such cases.

Darlene said...

Cathy, all I have to say is that there are distinctions when it comes to sin. I am aware that there are many Christians who do not subscribe to this line of thought. However, one only need to look at the parable of the servant who received the light beating as opposed to the servant who received the severe beating. Why the distinction? Because as Christ said, 'And that servant who KNEW HIS MASTER'S WILL, but did not make ready or act according to His will, shall receive a severe beating. But he who DID NOT KNOW, and did what deserved a beating, shall receive a light beating.

I don't presume to know the eternal destiny of Mother Theresa though many Christians have argued and disputed over this matter.

Noah said...

Darlene,
Read that passage in Luke 12 carefully. The servants you reference are not believers.

Darlene said...

DJP,

So you're saying that this guy, who some would call really-really good, who did good works in the name of Jesus, but it turns out was really a rapist, was a heretic? I would call him a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Perhaps we differ on our definition of heretic. I would suggest that Demas, of whom St. Paul referred to in II Timothy, is an excellent example of a heretic. He deserted the apostle Paul, turned away from the Christian faith, after knowing the truth. The rapist that you describe as having done works in the name of Jesus never seems to have known the truth in the first place. It seems he is just using Jesus for his own benefit, yet never having experienced genuine repentance.

Now it's possible that I've completely misunderstood your depiction of this "pious heretic." I'll grant that. Or perhaps it is as I'v said, we differ on our definition of heretic.

Strong Tower said...

Darlene, for your information, many here either subscribe to the 1689 or the WCF, or parts and portions, or confession like them. I do, and because I believe Scripture, I subscribe to the imputed works of Christ who has become for us both our sanctification and our justification. Let me quote for you:

...when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants; and because as they are good they proceed from his Spirit, and as they are wrought by us they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's punishment (judgement, WCF).

Yet notwithstanding the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him; not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God's sight, but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.

Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.


The works we do are not in and of themselves acceptable. Where they are righteous, they are purely the work of the Holy Spirit, where they are done by us, they are sinful. What is accepted is what is pure and unmixed, however, what is impure is accounted as righteousness, not that they are acceptable in and of themselves, but because Christ has satisfied any debt for our sins so we are accepted in him. Our best works will be tainted, and in the process of sanctification, as both confessions state, the imperfections are judged/punished and put to death, but because we are accepted in the beloved, even our imperfection is seen by the Father as perfect works done by the Son. The sincerity that is spoken of is that sincere faith. The contrasting paragraph is the point of the post. It is Christ's cross, an not our works which justify us. Even where those works proceed from the Holy Spirit in us, it is not that which justifies, and further away are those who are not regenerate. To claim a share in the kingdom based on our works, or even a reward based upon them, though they surely will be rewarded, is to deminish what Christ has purchased for us on Calvary.

Justifying for salvation, or even excusing temporally, because of "goodness of works" is an abomination to God. God brings all sin into judgement and punishment that we might be presented to Christ, Hebrews 12. So we look to the author and perfecter of our faith, for even that, as it proceeds from us is weakened by sin. Indeed we are punished with floggings... in this life... but we are not to forget just who it was who bled and died on our account.

Tom Chantry said...

Heretic: a person who believes false doctrine

Apostate: a person who renounces his faith

Just sayin'.

Darlene said...

Noah,

I beg to differ with you on that parable. However, the issue I'm making isn't one of whether or not these servants were unbelievers or believers. Rather it is the matter of distinction that I wanted to emphasize. God does not judge all sin the same. And as regards Mother Theresa, I contend with Cathy's comment of lumping the actions and deeds of a rapist with the actions and deeds of Mother Theresa. Such a comparison is sloppy, in my opinion. Furthermore, if one builds upon your premise that the parable in Luke is speaking about unbelievers, then all the more we should hesitate to lump the rapist in with Mother Theresa. Which one knew their master's will but didn't do it, and which one didn't know? I don't know in which category Mother Theresa would belong, or if she would belong in either one of them. I leave that judgement up to God. However, when we are comparing one kind of sin against another, and then lumping it altogether, the distinctions are obscured.

So as to clear up any possible misunderstanding, I am in no way saying that some sin is ok while other kinds are not. Or that some sin will be overlooked by God while others will not. Or that one sinner should deem him/herself better than another because he/she doesn't commit the ugly sins, only the itty bitty ones. We all stand as sinners before a holy God and should cry as Isaiah did when in God's presence, "I am a man (woman) of unclean lips."

Tax Collector said...

I think the example of the ‘do-gooder’ rapist is quite accurate.
The lack of love (not to mention reverence, respect, esteem etc.) displayed by the rapist toward his victim is the same that all unregenerate people have toward God by refusing to believe that He is who He claims to be.

I mean, how much does someone actually mean to you if you are willing to trample all over that person, regardless of all the token acts of generosity?

DJP – I went back and read the ‘overall’ link and it really helped.

Darlene said...

Strong Tower: Well there ya go. Now I understand the miscommunication. I don't subscribe to the WCF, or the 1689 Baptist confession, or the Heidleburg Catechism, or the Belgic Confession, or any of the Reformed confessions.

We're thinking on different planes here. Glad we've got that cleared up. :-)

Daryl said...

Either way, WCF or LBC or no, Scripture is clear that we are saved by grace alone and the righteousness credited to us is that of Christ, not us.

The works we actually do are evidence of our salvation, not the cause or improvement of it.

But Dan's parable related to 2 unbelievers. Both vile, both hell-bound, one seemingly acceptable in the eyes of most, the other, in the eyes of none.

It bears repeating...excellent post Dan, although perhaps a little understated...

Tom Chantry said...

I am utterly horrified by the sub-theme in this thread which suggests that we are discussing a mere difference between Calvinists and other evangelicals. While ST quoted a confession, his point is not unique to the confessional reformed.

Let me state it as basically as I can. All men have sinned and incurred God's wrath. The Scriptures teach that only the sacrifice of Christ can atone for that sin, and only through faith in Him will that atonement be received. Thus there is no way for a person to be saved except through faith in Christ.

The challenge issued at the beginning of this post is essentially this: what if a heretic (by proper definition a non-believer in Christ) does good works, certainly that will atone for his sins, right?

And the biblical (not exclusively reformed) answer is: by no means! The good works of men are thoroughly unfit to atone for their sins, only Christ can do this. To try to offer up your best works as payment for your sins is like a man trying to offer up a free oil change as though it atones for rape - it is absurd and it won't work!

If some of you still haven't understood that this is what the post is all about, very well - please read the post and thread again. On the other hand, anyone who disagrees with this point, who thinks that the good works of unbelievers will somehow atone for their sin in the absence of faith in Christ, then please stop pretending that your difference with us is about Calvinism. It is not. Any decent Arminian, any decent Lutheran, or any decent Charismatic could tell you that your issue is with the gospel.

DJP said...

The meta unintentionally illustrates my point in composing the post, no?

"Oh my gosh, rape is HORRIBLE! You're just talking about doctrinal stuff! Totally out of proportion!"

Yeah, but not the way you think; as they'd see if they read the linked posts, above.

Tom Chantry said...

Speaking of which, I was busy earlier today with other stuff (like, ministry) and didn't get to read the background posts you linked in the meta. Pretty funny that the first one is all about how there is a hierarchy of sins. Just thought that ought to be mentioned.

Darlene said...

I don't like the parable, what can I say?

"The good works of men are thoroughly unfit to atone for their sins. Only Christ can do this."

Agreed. No one else but Christ paid the ultimate price and shed blood for the sins of the world.

On the other hand, anyone who disagrees with this point, who thinks that the good works of unbelievers will somehow atone for their sin..."

Don't believe that either.

However, it's always easy to point the finger at those bad unbelievers. However, the verses and references I gave regarding good works have nothing to do with unbelievers, but rather those who are the real-deal, bonafide Christians. I've observed a belief among certain Christian folk - one that thinks all good works done by Christians are tainted with sin.

I'll say it for the record here. I think that viewpoint is distorted. Christians can and must do works that are pleasing to God. I'm not talking here about earning anything. But good works/good deeds, nonetheless, reveal - as in shine forth - and point to our faith in Christ. And such good works can and do glorify our Heavenly Father.

Tom Chantry said...

I've observed a belief among certain Christian folk - one that thinks all good works done by Christians are tainted with sin.

You've observed that . . . where?

If here, please point it out. If not, thanks for so doggedly making that point on this thread, which is about something else entirely.

Sir Aaron said...

Well I think this thread is a success. Nobody called you Phil and nobody asked what grade motor oil was used by the rapist in your example. Although, arguing over viscosity ratings makes more sense to me then arguing about the undeniable logic of your response to this challenge.

Tom Chantry said...

Sir Aaron,

Whaaa....?

I thought Phil handled himself quite well, thank you very much.

Darlene said...

Tom: I've observed it among...well...I gotta say it. CCCaaalvinists! Can you believe it? Antinomianism is alive and well in some quarters. I've heard it said, by those who call themselves Reformed, those whom I have personally known, that there's nothing we can do to please God. Well, I was thinking when I heard that one, you mean Christ saved us and yet we remain as hampered and ineffective as before - no change, nada? I'm glad to hear of it that folks who frequent this arena believe otherwise. That folks here believe we can actually please God by works inspired and led by the Holy Spirit.

I brought up the whole matter because I have noticed that Evangelicals seem to harp on the fact over and over and over that works are bad, works are evil, we can't earn our salvation, etc. And this particular entry was about a person doing "good works" in the name of Jesus - and a "really-really good" person at that.

If I could count how many sermons I've read and listened to about the inability and impotence of works to procure our salvation, and I received a dollar for every one of 'em - let's just say my savings account would be quite lucrative. If, on the other hand, I could receive a dollar for every sermon I've read or heard about the righteous deeds of the saints, about good works that are pleasing to God - well, let's just say I wouldn't even have filled up a child's piggy bank.

So, yes, I think to harp and harp and harp about works that can't save, works that unbelievers think will get them to heaven, yada yada...can become an excessive diatribe. There comes a point when I say: How many times have I heard this now? Whew! I think I've got it down pat. Could we possibly leave the elementary doctrines and move on to maturity?

Over and out.

Noah said...

Darlene,
I'll say it again a different way.

Read that passage in Luke 12 again and ask some questions about it. Chew it around for a while. Pray over it. Diagram it or phrase it to see what Jesus is teaching. Consider the context.

When you do that, I am confident that your conclusion will be different. That servant that Jesus speaks of is in fact an unbeliever.

Darlene said...

Noah: Oddly enough, when you responded with your comment, I asked my husband who he thought the parable was referring to. I read it out loud to him and he also thought that Christ is speaking to believers. We had a discussion about it and we weren't able to come to any other conclusions.

I think it might have something to do in particular with an aspect of soteriology, whether or not one holds to OSAS or some variation on that theme.

Nonetheless, I will read it again. Very carefully. :-)

Noah said...

Darlene,
Try these questions:

Where else in the Bible is it said that believers will be "cut in pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers" (v.46)?

Also, where else in the Bible is it taught that believers will receive physical punishment (or any punishment at all) when the Lord Jesus (Master in the parable) returns (vv. 47-48)? (The only passage I can think of that is close to that thought is 1 Cor. 3:12-15, and there is no mention of believers being physically punished there, only the works going through the fire.)

If you're willing to listen to a sermon on the passage that was preached only a few weeks ago, I'd be more than happy to send it to you. If you're interested, email me: noah dot hartmetz at gmail dot com

Darlene said...

Noah: I'm specifically referring to St. Luke chapter 12, verses 42 - 48. No where does it say anything about cutting anyone into pieces. At least in the version I'm reading - RSV. I'll look at some other versions

Sir Aaron said...

Yeah, but Tom, you didn't say "great post, Phil" so it doesn't count.

Tom Chantry said...

Grear post, Phil.


And great comment, Sir Brass."

laloumen said...

If the weasel words "really-really good" mean "genuinely good" then it's pretty clear. If someone does a genuinely good work then that person is necessarily saved, since "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (Rom 14:23) and "we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). So, the performance of even a single _genuinely_ good work presupposes salvation by grace through faith. And such a person is by definition acceptable to God through Christ.

On the other hand, if the weasel words "really really good" don't mean "really really good" but only "relatively good" then the response is still ad hominem and relatively useless in furthering the understanding of anyone.

How much better it would be to show from Scripture that good works presuppose faith and faith presupposes regeneration? (Romans 8:7-8)