Website owner: James Miller
THE EVANGELICAL ASKS THE WRONG QUESTION AND CONFUSES HIMSELF 3/96 The evangelical (Baptist and many others) asks the wrong question. They ask, "Is he saved?" or "Is he born again?" By this question what they really mean is, "Has he at some time in the past performed a certain act (which they term 'being saved') which involves making a profession of faith in Christ?" It is something like a ritual that supposedly gives a guaranteed ticket to heaven. The question they should ask is, "Is he a righteous, God-fearing man; a man who loves God and is faithful to him?" The criterion they use for deciding if a person is a true Christian or not, a true child of God or not, is wrong. They may claim that if a person is "truly" born again he automatically loves God and is faithful to him. But in fact their actual test is an act, a ritual (albeit quite possibly a sincere one at the time). They are engaging in specious logic and being deceived by their own sophistic arguments. As often happens with complicated doctrine, difficult logic often leads to conclusions that don't square with practical facts and Reality. Because evangelicals ask the wrong question they see other people wrong and they see themselves wrong --- they see everything wrong. They are the deceived. These basic assumptions cause them to make fallacious judgments with regard to others and themselves. Their basic assumptions distort and warp their vision of others, of themselves, and of spiritual truth in general. They are children of Error; the Self- deceived. Salvation is a question of spiritual substance not one of having said some magic words, performed some mystical act, had some mystical experience, or complied with some magic formula. God is not a God of sham or farce, not a God to be fooled. He looks at substance. It is not what you say but what you are that counts. It is important that we judge others and ourselves according to substance and not according to some past act. This makes making judgments of others more difficult because only God really knows the heart, only God can really judge substance (the evangelical has a very easy time passing judgment on others because his test is very cut and dried and easy to apply --- you just need to get the answer to a simple question). All this is not to say that it is not important for a person, at some time in his life, to turn away from sin and the ways of this world and to turn to God. That is important and constitutes a very important act in your life, but it is not that act that saves you; it is your love of God and faithfulness to him that saves you. It is of critical importance that one understands that salvation is a question of spiritual substance and not of past actions or past religious commitments (even if sincere). Being faithful to God is a hard road requiring self-denial, restraint and discipline. It is doing right and eschewing evil out of faithfulness and loyalty to him because we love him. It is a road that creates character. It is a road exemplified by such Biblical characters as Abraham, David and Job in the Old Testament.