Darrell began his brief second rebuttal with the following question and statement: "Where is Maxey's affirmative? He signed on to this debate to affirm his teaching. Maxey is running out of time to make his case." No matter how clearly or completely I affirm my position, it most certainly will be found lacking by those who have embraced the opposing view ... just as I feel Darrell's attempts have fallen short. The reality here is: neither he nor I will likely ever convince the other, nor will we be overly impressed by the other's arguments. That is just a given. Thus, we will both express our heartfelt convictions on this topic, provide what we each feel to be valid reasoning and solid exegesis of the inspired Scriptures, and then the readers must decide for themselves who has best perceived the divine teaching on the matter. There are readers of this debate who believe I have made my case; there are some who do not. The same applies to Darrell. One reader, after he had read Darrell's second rebuttal, wrote him (sending a copy to me) rebukingly, "He's done that already. Where have you been?" Yes, many feel I've more than adequately "made my case." And yet, to be fair, Darrell could easily produce reader responses that wonder why Al Maxey simply can't grasp the truth proclaimed by Darrell Broking. This exchange is really for those whose thinking is still in a state of flux; who are leaning one way or the other in the matter of the place of patternism with respect to both fellowship and salvation. It is my conviction that, when the dust settles after this debate is over, more wavering disciples will be attracted to liberty than to law. Therefore, the walls of exclusion and entrapment will continue to crumble, and more precious souls will abandon the confines of darkness to embrace and enjoy their newly found freedom in Light.
Darrell's Comments Clarified
In his Introduction, Darrell opined, "Maxey says that ... salvation is a free gift and men do not have to do anything to receive it. It is amazing that Maxey is actually allowed to preach this kind of mixed up mess from the pulpit where he preaches." IF that was what I was actually preaching and teaching, then I would agree with Darrell on this point. But, once again, Darrell has misstated my position. He does this quite frequently, unfortunately, which has led several to write, "Does this man even read what you write?!" Yes, Darrell, our salvation most definitely IS a free gift. Scripture makes that clear. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" [Rom. 6:23]. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" [Eph. 2:8-9]. A "free gift" cannot be earned, since any personal effort performed would result in "wages due," not the bestowal of a "free gift." However, a gift ... even a free one ... must still be received. It is here that Darrell has greatly misrepresented my position. He says I teach "men do not have to do anything to receive it." That is simply not accurate. We receive this free gift by faith. And this faith must be a visible faith, not just a mere empty profession left undemonstrated. James said that "faith without works is dead" [James 2:26] and "useless" [vs. 20], therefore he was determined to show his faith [vs. 18], rather than leave it in the realm of mere hollow profession.
We evidence our faith in a number of significant ways, as I have repeatedly stated in this debate, as well as in my preaching, teaching and writings for years. Darrell has attempted, in his second rebuttal, to equate these demonstrations of faith with meritorious works, suggesting that I proclaim a "Jesus + _____" doctrine. Where Darrell has missed the mark in this attempt, however, is in the failure to realize that a demonstration of faith is NOT something men perform so as to EARN God's favor. God's grace is a gift; salvation is a gift; even His Spirit within us is a gift [Acts 2:38]. These gifts are received by a faith so strong that it reaches out gladly to embrace what the Father offers. Our God has specified the visible evidences of this saving faith, and I have spelled them out repeatedly. Turning from a life lived in sinful pursuits (repentance), acknowledgement of the claims of Christ (confession), and submitting to a symbolic act that depicts unto those about us the reality of our salvation in the sacrifice of Jesus (immersion), are all ways in which we evidence this saving faith. There are several other ways, as well. When we show our love for others, when we show compassion and kindness, when we praise His glorious Name in both word and song, when we share the Gospel with those who've yet to hear it, or who may not fully grasp it, when we surround His Table, when we lift up the fallen, when we minister to the widows and fatherless, and on and on and on, we thereby daily demonstrate our faith. Saving faith is NOT a passive faith, it is active. It is visible. It is a light set upon a hill pushing back the darkness. It is salt and yeast, permeating that into which it is introduced. Are these actions that save? No, they are actions of the saved. They are not works that save, but rather works of the saved. Paul phrased it this way -- "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" [Eph. 2:8-10]. This is all simply part of "walking in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called" [Eph. 4:1].
"Walking worthy" is simply a visible, day-by-day expression of a state of mind and a Spirit-filled heart. It really can't be quantified, as it is a quality of being. Thus, my expression of the devotion of my heart may differ from yours, and yet both are accepted by our Father as sufficient unto divine acceptance. This is, in essence, the message of Paul in Romans 14. One man may express his faith in one way, another may express his faith in another. We must learn to accept one another, for our Father has accepted both. Human nature stubbornly insists that one must be "right" and the other "wrong," which has led to the innumerable factions within the Family of our heavenly Father. This fallacious perception has done more to dismember the One Body of Jesus Christ than just about anything else. When we finally cease promoting a "party pattern," and simply proclaim the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ (which includes His clearly stated precepts and principles), then we will begin to realize the joys of unity, harmony and fellowship for which our Lord prayed on the night of His arrest [John 17].
Yes, I did say the precepts and principles of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although Darrell doesn't seem to believe it, Al Maxey does acknowledge that the Lord has required us to evidence certain qualities of heart and mind, which then dramatically demonstrate in our daily attitudes and actions that which benefits others and glorifies the Father. These evidences of our faith affirm our saved state, and invite others to come be a part of this joyous relationship with our Father. And, yes, I did indeed say "relationship" rather than "religion." The latter tends to suggest a system of meritorious actions designed to appease one's God and earn His favor, whereas the former is simply a life lived in visible gratitude for the undeserved, unmerited gift of everlasting life; a gift fully and finally received by faith. What are these qualities of heart and mind that display themselves within our daily lives? "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" [Gal. 5:22-23]. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" [vs. 25]. I would say that is good advice! Even this, however, falls under the "golden umbrella" of LOVE. "For you were called to freedom, brethren ... through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" [vs. 13-14]. When we love God, and love our neighbors as ourselves, the fruit of the Spirit (who indwells and empowers us) becomes second nature. We thus evidence the reality of our saving faith, and the reality of His Spirit within us, by these daily demonstrations of a transformed heart.
Sadly, Darrell Broking, has a "check list" mentality. Salvation will be granted unto all those, and only those, who are able to "check off" all the boxes of some elusive list of laws and regulations formulated by fallible men from their scrupulous scrutiny of the inspired Scriptures. Of course, each party and faction within Christendom has a somewhat different list, and, of course, if one doesn't follow their list, then one is LOST. This is why you will find these legalistic patternists fussing and feuding with one another constantly. They can't agree on the list of particulars of "the pattern." And God have mercy on the poor soul who dares to ask these people to ever actually provide that detailed list of particulars. I have been asking for well over thirty years now, and not one single person has ever provided it. Indeed, they will attack me without mercy for even asking for it. Why? Because they know as well as I do that if they actually tried to compile such a list, they would (1) be attacked by every other patternist for having a list that added to or deleted from particulars on their lists, and (2) such a list would document the fact that the vast majority of particulars were nothing more than personal or party preferences, perceptions and practices formed largely from assumptions drawn from biblical silence. Yes, they are more than aware of the consequences of providing such a detailed listing of patternistic particulars, and that is why it will never be provided. They, at best, will provide a vague listing of areas, but don't ever expect an exhaustive detailing of specifics. Such would only serve to expose the fallacy of their theology. This is why Darrell danced all around questions 2-5 from my last affirmative. He wasn't even willing to acknowledge whether his list of pattern particulars was greater or lesser than 25 in number. Instead, he referred me to a previous section of this debate in which he greatly generalized the requirements of our Lord God. Well, when fellowship and salvation depend upon precision of practice of a precise pattern, it seems to me the least the patternists could do is specify the number of particulars, and then state them. After all, just how many of these may one be ignorant of, and thus potentially transgress, and still have fellowship with the saints and eternal salvation? Is that figure 20%? 30%? 12%? 0%? What is it, Darrell? If it is 0%, then we need them ALL. If it is higher, then what specific particulars of the pattern may be set aside as "optional," and WHO gets to decide which ones? THIS is a question these patternists cannot and will not answer. Will you answer it for us, Darrell? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
The reality is -- the New Covenant is not one characterized by "check lists." Frankly, there is now no need to ever compile such a list at all. The "score" of what Al Maxey must DO in order to be eternally saved is 0% ... the "score" of what God has DONE for Al Maxey to be eternally saved is 100%. I may either accept this free gift or reject it. The choice is mine. God will not force it on me, but it is there for the taking. If I choose to receive it, I receive it by faith. That receiving faith is visible in nature, and it also daily motivates me to loving acts of gratitude throughout the remainder of my life here on earth. Darrell Broking wrote, "Maxey has yet to do what he mockingly challenges patternists to do. Where is Maxey's short list? Before this debate is finished I pray that Maxey will complete a numbered list of essentials which are required for salvation and fellowship with God and the redeemed. Because Maxey affirms that there are 'just a few things' that man must do to be saved, it should be an easy task for Maxey to compile a numbered list of essentials. Maxey give us your short list, please!" Very well, Darrell, here it is:
Both of these are responses of faith. "We have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us" [1 John 4:16], and so "We love, because He first loved us" [vs. 19]. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" [vs. 11]. Yes, love for God and love for those around us is a response of faith. You and I love because we have come to believe in the eternal value of love as evidenced toward us by our Father. Thus, we respond in love, both to Him and to His children ... as well as to those who are "children in prospect." "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" [vs. 7]. Darrell wants a LIST of all the specific details of how, when, where, to whom, etc. we are to daily show love to God and man. This is entirely unnecessary. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to regulate one's love; by its very nature it must be free to express itself unfettered by law. Indeed, this is all our God has ever desired from man -- a loving relationship with His children, and the expectation that this love would be demonstrated toward their fellow siblings. The purpose of LAW was to address those occasions when our love faltered and failed. When love rules, law retreats!! This is why, after Paul gave the various evidences of the fruit of the Spirit, he stated, "against such there is no law" [Gal. 5:23].
One of the primary lessons conveyed by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5 is -- We are Free in Christ Jesus [I would refer Darrell and the readers to Reflections #202 -- Epistle to the Galatians: Magna Charta of Christian Liberty]. With this gift of liberty, however, comes great responsibility. We are free, "therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery" [vs. 1]. Yes, we are free, "only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" [vs. 13]. Yes, we are liberated, but we are still under a type of rule .... one not governing ritual, but relationship. It is LOVE, not LAW, that characterizes the New Covenant. "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" [vs. 14]. Thus, those who seek to be justified by law have fallen from grace [vs. 4], they have been severed from Christ [vs. 4], and Jesus is of no ultimate benefit to them [vs. 2]. Christ died to set us free, therefore there is no greater betrayal than to return to slavery. Those who seek to live under a legal code are under obligation to keep it perfectly [vs. 3], which, of course, they can never do.
Thank God we have been set free! Those of us who have accepted His gift of liberation, and who allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, are no longer under law [vs. 18]. Rather, we abide under the Rule of Love; we walk by the spirit of law rather than the letter of law. This is not just a covenantal change, but it's also a conceptual change. We are "servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" [2 Cor. 3:6], and "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" [2 Cor. 3:17]. "Now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter" [Rom. 7:6].
Just as there is a responsibility not to become enslaved to a system of legislative restriction and regulation, so also is there a responsibility to place ourselves willingly under the guidance of the Spirit of our Lord. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" [Gal. 5:25]. With this surrender to His influence in our hearts and lives comes a divine assurance -- "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh" [vs. 16]. "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace" [Rom. 8:5-6]. "You, however, are controlled not by the flesh but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" [Rom. 8:9].
There is within each of us a war being waged. It is the carnal versus the spiritual; the lure of this world versus the leading of the Spirit [Gal. 5:17; cf. Romans 7]. If we give in to the former, we manifest the Works of the Flesh [Gal. 5:19-21], and we shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If we surrender to the latter, however, we display the Fruit of the Spirit [vs. 22-23], and we increasingly find ourselves being transformed daily by that Spirit into the very image of God's beloved Son [Rom. 8:29]. "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" [Rom. 8:14]. "Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" [Gal. 5:24; cf. Rom. 6:6].
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" [Gal. 5:22-23]. These nine godly qualities should be present and prospering within each of our lives. We are all familiar with them, and we've doubtless heard them listed numerous times, as well as heard countless sermons and classes on them. Many are able to quote the above passage by heart. But, I wonder -- How many readers realize that I didn't quote all of the above two verses? When we list the works of the flesh we generally quote the statement at the end which informs such persons that they will not inherit the kingdom of our God. However, most times when we quote the passage dealing with the fruit of the Spirit we completely fail to finish the thought given by divine inspiration. Verse 23 concludes with this statement: "...against such there is no law."
I have often heard this explained to mean that God hasn't made any specific laws forbidding any of the nine qualities which comprise the "fruit of the Spirit." In other words, God never commanded, "Thou shalt not love," or "Thou shalt not be kind," or "Thou shalt not practice self-control." Thus, there is no law prohibiting men from displaying these qualities in their lives. I wonder, though, if this is a failure to correctly perceive authorial intent. Is it possible this statement could mean, at least in part, that our God has not legislated against the specific methodologies of our manifestation of these qualities in our daily lives? For example, I may employ a different method of exhibiting love, kindness and goodness toward widows and orphans than another disciple of Christ. My demonstration of the fruit of the Spirit in my life may differ from yours in some areas of application. But, if I am genuinely meeting the needs of these widows and orphans in love, and in the process God is being glorified, can one truly declare as "sinful" such a differing methodology?
Let me be more specific. I recently heard some law-bound brethren strongly condemn those in a so-called "liberal" congregation for taking funds from their "church treasury" and sending it to their fellow disciples in another location who were suffering the effects of a natural disaster (such as those affected by hurricane Ike in the gulf coast region). Such a benevolent action was deemed unlawful, and thus sinful. For many generations we have all witnessed certain disciples condemning and castigating their brethren for acts of love and kindness toward widows and orphans, or in assisting victims of natural disasters, for example, and for no other reason than because the methodology employed by these "liberals" differed from their own.
However, Paul seems to be saying here that NO law has been given by God which stands "against" the manifestation within our lives of the fruit of the Spirit, nor against the particulars of the methodology of that manifestation. The Greek preposition used in this phrase in Gal. 5:23 is kata, which, when used with the genitive case (as it is here), means "down upon; against." Isn't it wonderful that God, in His matchless grace, has given no legislation which comes down upon or against any of His children in the practicing and displaying of any of the qualities of the fruit of the Spirit?! Brethren, we are free! We have been liberated from law; we are released from restrictive regulation. There is no law against the showing of love to orphans. There is no regulation of acts of kindness. There is no restriction on faithfulness, nor any limitation of joy. We have been liberated to "walk by the Spirit," rather than being shackled by restrictive law. If someone attempts to regulate by law your manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in your walk with the Lord, they're legislating where God has not. When you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law [Gal. 5:18]. "Against such there is no law" [vs. 23].
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, in its exposition of this phrase, asserts confidently, and somewhat naively --- "obviously no one would make laws against people who practice such things." I agree that no one should, but many do. Legislation is not conducive to spiritual growth and maturity. The fruit of the Spirit can only develop in a heart set free. Notice how the version known as The Message renders this phrase in question in verse 23 -- "Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way." Legalism quenches the Spirit in our lives; it puts the Spirit on a leash and restricts His operation. Legalism stifles spirituality. It makes the Spirit sterile and incapable of producing fruit within those in whom He dwells. It is for this reason our God issued no law against such. To do so would defeat His purpose for our lives. Again, let me boldly and confidently assert -- When love rules, law retreats!!
"But, what happens when we stumble and fall in our walk with the Lord?" God's LOVE ... God's GRACE. "But, Bro. Al, what if I don't perfectly meet His every expectation for my life?" God's LOVE ... God's GRACE. I love the way the Living Bible phrases Romans 8:1-2 ... "So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit -- and this power is mine through Christ Jesus -- has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren't saved from sin's grasp by knowing the commandments of God, because we can't and don't keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us." Gone are the long legalistic lists of patternistic, regulatory LAW, the precise keeping of which are said to result in fellowship with one another here and eternal salvation hereafter. We are free. Free to show our love for God and one another. Therefore, no law, no regulation, no pattern, no force in the universe "shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" [Rom. 8:39]. Yes, Darrell, it really is all about LOVE. We've been liberated from LISTS and from LAW. We are now free to simply LOVE.
Darrell wrote, "Al, is it the case that faith/belief in God and Jesus, and demonstrated love, are essential to our very salvation? If the answer to this question is yes, then is faith/belief in God and Jesus, and demonstrated love, human effort that is necessary to the salvific process?" As I have shown, Scripture makes it very clear that faith (one which doesn't hide, but evidences itself) is the commanded human response to God's gracious offer of this free gift of eternal salvation. I would not use the word "effort" because that tends to leave the impression that this is, in some way or manner, a "work" by man that "merits" God's favor. As Paul has clearly shown in the above passages, we are NOT saved by any effort on our own part, but rather by a "faith response." Receiving a free gift, and earning a wage are not even similar concepts. Love is a response of faith. Repentance is a response of faith. Our daily acknowledgement of Jesus in all that we say and do is a response of faith. Baptism is a response of faith. Being charitable and benevolent and compassionate and kind are responses of faith. Each of these, in turn, may be evidenced in numerous ways. There are countless ways to demonstrate compassion; countless ways to show love; countless ways to evidence our repentance. Yet all stem from that deep and abiding faith we have in our God and what He has done for us in Jesus Christ. Once that belief takes hold in my heart, I then spend the remainder of my days responding to His grace. None of that earns the gift of life, these responses merely reflect my love and gratitude for His free gift already received. How could I ever refuse Him anything, who has freely given me everything?!!
Those who think in terms of laws and patterns and lists, also think in terms of precise moments in time and space when our God, who, quite frankly, exists outside of both, considers something fully accomplished. He who regarded our Lord's sacrifice as accomplished even before time began [Acts 2:23], is now limited by the legalists to considering our own acceptance of that gift in terms of split-seconds. One second you are lost, yet the next you are saved. I dare not put such limitations upon the Eternal One. He knows His own ... and always has! From man's side of eternity (if I may use that term), we know what God expects of us in response to His offer of salvation by grace through the offering of Jesus Christ. He expects us to have and show FAITH ... and thus we respond in faith. That faith itself will grow and blossom throughout the course of our lives, and as it does our faith responses will mature visibly as well. To suggest there is a split-second in time when we are transferred from one state to another is really to miss the point altogether, in my personal view. In fact, to even think along such lines is simply to try and pin that split-second upon a particular practice, thus elevating it to preeminence over all other faith responses. Thus, you have people being cast into hell (according to the legalists) if they have the misfortune of dying a split-second before their nose breaks the surface of the waters of the baptistery. The state of their heart means nothing to these people, it is rather the relation of the tip of the nose to the surface of the water. That is insanity!! Worse than that, it is blasphemous!!
Darrell further wrote, "Maxey, since, according to your teaching, there is no specified time at which the Lord's Supper is to be observed, is the Lord's Supper really on your short list?" The Lord's Supper is a wonderful memorial that affords the disciples of Christ Jesus a time to "remember" Him who has brought them into saving relationship with their God and with their fellow disciples. Since this is a special spiritual meal for those already saved, and is observed with those with whom one is already in fellowship, I hardly think, therefore, it can be listed as essential to the acquiring of either. Perhaps one might argue that it is essential to maintaining both (and the legalists do argue this), but nowhere do the Scriptures themselves ascribe such significance to this event. I personally cannot imagine why a believer would not want to observe the Lord's Supper (and the more often one does so, the better). There are so many positive things that are experienced, as well as proclaimed, by it. However, the only thing truly commanded with respect to this event is that "as often as" we observe it, we are to observe it in remembrance of our Lord. The primary focus, therefore, is not upon the particulars of the practice itself, but rather upon what is happening within the hearts and minds of those who are observing it. The focus, however, is just the opposite for the legalistic patternists like Darrell Broking. That is why he is so willing to suggest one is "not obligated" to observe it unless, and until, all the minute particulars are "correct." Right number of cups, right day, right bread, right grain, right fruit of the vine, right ... etc. Again, it's all in the details for these legalists, whereas for the LORD the focus is the heart. Nowhere does Scripture make any of these particulars of any importance. Whenever you do it ... remember Him! THAT is how love responds. THAT is how faith responds.
"You also talked about confessing Christ. Please explain exactly what you mean by this," challenged Darrell Broking. I cannot help but think of Psalm 107:2 -- "Let the redeemed of the Lord say so." Those who believe in the Lord, as well as those who have been blessed by His grace, should say so. Genuine faith not only acts, genuine faith also speaks! It declares that which is true; it acknowledges Truth. If I believe in Jesus Christ, and in what He accomplished for me, I will confess this truth whenever and wherever I possibly can. The early church leaders were commanded by the Jewish leaders to "speak no more in the name of Jesus" [Acts 5:40], which command they issued after having them flogged. However, "they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" [vs. 42]. Their confident confession of their faith was NOT going to be silenced. They were redeemed by grace through faith, and they intended to say so. What a tremendous demonstration of faith. Did this confession save them? No ... they were already saved. However, had they refused to confess their faith in the Lord, and in who He was and what He had done for them (and what He continued to do for them), could they truly be said to be in possession of a saving faith? I think not. This is seen in John 12:42-43 -- "Many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God." They had faith, but it was a faith they were NOT willing to SHOW. A faith that will not respond to God's grace is a faith that will not receive God's grace. Again, this is not any kind of meritorious effort/work, but merely a demonstrated, loving response. These rulers were far more concerned with what men thought than with what the Lord God thought, thus they refused to evidence their faith. It would prove costly. Confession is also something that is ongoing throughout life. It is not just a "one time statement just before baptism" (sometimes called the "good confession"). Paul pointed this out in Romans 10:9-10 -- "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Paul clearly declares confession to be an evidence of faith. If you believe ... you say so. The second use of the Greek word for "confess" in this passage is a present tense verb, thus signifying continuing action. We keep on confessing Him throughout our lives. That is what faith does; that is what love does!
Darrell's Answers Examined
It came as no real surprise to me that Darrell tried to sidestep most of the questions I posed to him in my last affirmative. He doesn't dare quantify the patternistic particulars, as he would then actually be obligated to provide them. This the legalists will never do. His response of "True" to my first statement, however, I found somewhat enlightening. Why? Because I simply repeated word-for-word the second proposition to this debate (with only 3 words removed -- "few in quantity"), which I affirmed and Darrell denied. And yet, when I asked if this statement was true or false, Darrell said it was true. In other words, he agrees with me that "the New Covenant writings contain specific requirements and expectations of our God that are essential for both fellowship and salvation." So, on this point Darrell admits that my position is correct. The ONLY point of difference, therefore, is with respect to the quantity of these essentials. In my subsequent T/F statements I tried to pin Darrell down to a number, but he danced all around these statements. Frankly, I expected him to do this, so was not surprised at all. However, I asked the questions, feeling rather confident of his non-answers, so that the readers could see for themselves his unwillingness to be specific. It speaks volumes, and the readers ARE taking note of this fact. Jesus and Al Maxey declare the essentials to be "light" ... Darrell knows only too well that the burden is "heavy," and thus he hesitates to acknowledge the fact. If Darrell Broking was forced to enumerate the specifics of these lists of patternistic particulars for both fellowship and salvation, they would number well into the hundreds, and possibly thousands, and those who read over this long list would be astounded by the fact that they were both petty in nature and of human origin. The vast majority of the items that he would place on his lists are never specified in Scripture, but are inferred or assumed by mere fallible men.
With regard to my sixth question, concerning Jason Carlson and the very real condition known as Celiac Sprue Disease, Darrell wrote, "If Jason is eating bread other than the bread authorized by Christ, then the answer is true." In other words, if Jason brings rice wafers to the building so that he can observe this special time of remembrance with his fellow disciples, then Jason is sinning. He may ONLY, according to Darrell, employ "the bread authorized by Christ." I would challenge Darrell to tell us specifically what that bread "authorized by Christ" was. Was it wheat or barley? What exactly was it, and please provide the specific passage that states its composition, as well as the specific passage that states this particular grain, and only this grain, is forever mandated by law. Also, just how much water was used in the making of the dough? Was the grain processed or not? At precisely what temperature was it baked? For how long? What degree of browning of the bread is "authorized"? But, all of this is somewhat irrelevant for Darrell, for his solution for Jason Carlson is: you have a disease that prevents you from eating grains with the gluten protein, therefore "he is not required to eat the bread" of the Lord's Supper at all. He can just sit there while everyone else partakes. This is a situation beyond his control, therefore he gets a "pass." Those without vocal cords are not required to sing in worship, or so says Darrell. They also get a "pass." Therefore, I suppose Darrell would agree that the quadriplegic in a hospital bed who can't get anyone to immerse her, even though she desires it with all her heart, gets a "pass" too, right?! Or, is grace selective?! I suppose Darrell will clear this up for us.
Darrell's Six Questions
FIRST -- "Jesus + _____ is demonic doctrine. True or False?" I addressed this question at the beginning of this third affirmative.
SECOND -- "Maxey's short list of essentials must be obeyed in order for men to be saved and have fellowship in Christ. True or False?" Al Maxey doesn't have a list (short or long), but the Lord, when asked to produce such a list of requirements, gave only TWO -- love God and love one another. Are both of these heartfelt responses of faith essential for fellowship and salvation? Yes, they are. Again, see the explanation above in the body of this third affirmative.
THIRD -- "Jesus + obeying Maxey's short list of essentials that Maxey will compile in this debate is essential to salvation and fellowship. True or False?" Please see the above answer.
FOURTH -- "Jesus + obeying Maxey's short list of essentials is demonic doctrine. True or False?" See the above answers.
FIFTH -- "Jesus saves without man having to obey anything compiled in Maxey's short list of essentials. True or False?" Salvation is freely offered to all, but it must be received by faith. That faith is not passive, but active. It is visible. It responds. Paul calls this the "obedience of faith" [Rom. 1:5].
SIXTH -- "Al Maxey can and will provide the readers of this debate with a numbered short list of New Testament essentials required for fellowship and salvation. True or False?" True ... see the above third affirmative.
Questions for Darrell