Darrell's T/F Questions
In the first statement, Darrell poses this scenario: "Agunda, a member of an uncontacted tribe on the Brazil-Peru border, looks at an awesome waterfall and thereby believes in a creator or creators (he cannot be sure if there is one or more) and begins to search for the creator or creators. Agunda is saved. True or False?" Paul declared to the Athenians, "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 'For in Him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are His offspring'" [Acts 17:26-28]. Our awesome Creator has made Himself known to His creation in a number of ways, and He has done so in order that all men, wherever they might be, might come to know of His existence and His nature. Those who seek for Him and reach out for Him will find Him. They may not possess the exact same level of light that you and I have (for the simple reason they don't have access to the greater revelation we have), but what they do have is sufficient for them to find God and come to know His nature. "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" [Rom. 1:20]. Those who perceive this Creator, and who embrace Him to the best of their ability and understanding, given the nature of their more limited revelation, are embraced by Him. Those who reject this revelation of the Creator are without excuse, and they are thereby rejected by Him. Is Agunda, in the scenario described, saved? I would answer: NO ... not at that particular point. Why? Because he has only just become aware of some Creator and only just begun his search for Him. Thus, at this point he has no understanding of God, has not found God, and thus has no awareness of how to live in such a way as to reflect this Being in his own life. He is a seeker, but he has not yet found, and certainly has not yet entered into any kind of relationship with, the One whom he seeks.
In the second scenario and question, Darrell states: "As Agunda begins to walk away from the waterfall he slips and falls down the waterfall and is killed. Agunda is saved. True or False?" As I have sought to explain above, I do not believe Agunda has yet attained unto, and certainly has not embraced, that degree of awareness of God's revelatory light that would be salvific. He has some vague suspicion that there may be some creator or creators, but beyond that he has no awareness. He is at the very early stages of his search, and at this primeval stage has not even become aware of that which he seeks. Now, if God, in His infinite grace and mercy and compassion, should look into Agunda's heart and perceive a sincerity and yearning that you and I could never perceive therein, and if He should decide, based upon that divine awareness of the intent of this man's heart, to save this lowly seeker of greater Light, then I would not in the least be upset. I leave that in His hands. He knows Agunda better than I, and will do what is best and most gracious for this man.
Darrell continues: "Magui was with Agunda at the waterfall. he too believed in one or more creators and began searching for the creator or creators. After watching Agunda fall, Magui was captured by illegal loggers and subsequently relocated in Valparaiso where he met Wilbur Pickering, who assisted Magui in his search for the creator or creators. Pickering taught Magui about Christ and shared John 3:16 with him. Magui now believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for his sins. Magui is saved. True or False?" Did Wilbur Pickering also teach Magui about the ban on instruments in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16? Did Wilbur teach him to remember the Lord's sacrifice by participation in the Lord's Supper only on Sunday, and never any other time? Did he instruct him about the regulations pertaining to the church treasury? What about cups and classes? If not, can Magui or any other man truly be saved?! Remember: It is Jesus plus _____ that equals salvation. Right, Darrell? Okay, seriously -- I believe we can say that at this point in Magui's spiritual growth he is certainly well into the process of realizing that joyous saving relationship with the Lord God. I personally, as you know, am not willing to isolate the precise split-second this salvific relationship is entered. God knows a man's heart better than I. I know that we are saved by grace through faith, and not of ourselves; not by any meritorious effort. It is all a gift [Eph. 2:4-9]. I know that we are to manifest this faith we have in Him daily throughout our lives. Repentance, confession, immersion, faithfulness, and the like are all manifestations of this faith.
At exactly what split-second within this process we move from lost to saved I am unwilling to seek to specify. Certainly those desirous of being saved, and indeed those who are saved, will be seeking to manifest this fact throughout their walk with Him. However, once again I would say that if God, who examines the heart and its true intent, should determine, based upon that divine awareness, Magui is one of His children at this point in the process, then it wouldn't distress me, nor would it even surprise me. That is the nature of our loving Father. By the way, just as an illustration, I loved and accepted all three of my sons before they were born. There was a nine month process from conception to birth when they were growing and developing into what I hoped and desired for them to become (indeed, many years later they are still growing and developing). But, they were my sons even before they took their first breath. Was their actual birth and first breath essential to them personally for their further growth and development? Of course!! But they were my sons before that, and they were also my sons after that. Each stage and point in the process of their development was very vital for their own individual physical development, but their actual sonship was not conditional upon any of these stages or points. They were my sons because I had chosen to be their father. Later, as they grew and developed and matured within this relationship, they increasingly affirmed and displayed their love for their mother and me, and also for their siblings.
Darrell Broking wrote: "After learning about Jesus from Pickering, Magui left Pickering's place of abode. As Magui approached the street he saw several chickens escaping from a cage which was on top of a bus. Magui was so intent as he watched those chickens that he failed to yield to the bus and he was subsequently killed. Magui is saved. True or False?" Once again, we have a loving, merciful, compassionate, gracious Father who will look into the heart of this man, and our Father will make the determination as to whether he is saved or lost. If I've perceived the true nature of my heavenly Father, however, and if the heart of Magui was genuine in its love of and faith in the Lord Jesus, then I have no doubt whatsoever that this man would be welcomed into the loving embrace of the Father. The same would apply to the case of Yulelanda, who was blessed with additional revelatory light pertaining to what the Father has done for His creation through the gift of His Son. In question number five Darrell wonders if she is saved while responding to the invitation and walking down the aisle to be immersed. In the eyes of our God, who examines the intent and genuineness of the heart, I would say that she is. In question number six, Darrell asks: "On her way to the baptistery, Yulelanda had a heart attack and died. Yulelanda is saved. True or False?" I would answer True.
Darrell, of course, would affirm that in each of the above scenarios each of the persons presented to our view were eternally condemned to the fires of hell. Since, in his view, baptism is the precise point of one's salvation (no exceptions), if one misses it even by seconds, it will cost them eternally. This is clearly seen on page 29 of his fourth affirmative. Darrell answered True to my following scenario and question: "If a penitent believer, having confessed Jesus as Lord, dies of a massive brain aneurysm as he is standing in the waters of the baptistery, and just two seconds prior to being immersed, he dies in a LOST condition. True or False?" In fact, I have no doubt that Darrell would also state this person to be eternally condemned to hell if he died one second before his nose broke the surface of the water on his way up. This is not only the epitome of ultra-legalism, it is a strong delusion that engenders blasphemous doctrine. Readers, this is really all about one's perception of God Himself!! Is He a God of love or law? Is salvation about grace/faith or about meritorious works performed precisely? Is God awaiting us with open arms or scrutinizing us with a stop watch in His hands? Does He want to embrace His penitent children or squash us like a bug for the least infraction? I serve a God who judges willing hearts, not just wet bodies. For example, when did God determine Abraham had fully obeyed Him after he was ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac? Did God wait until the deed was done to justify him? NO!! He accepted the intent of his heart as sufficient. In his heart, Abraham had already made that sacrifice; the fact that it was never actually performed was irrelevant ... at least in God's sight. Abraham was justified by the Lord God in spite of the fact that the command was never actually carried out to its completion. This ought to teach us something about the nature of our Father!! Darrell Broking's questions, however, as well as his pernicious doctrine, clearly reveal that he has yet to learn this vital truth about God. It is my prayer that God may one day open his eyes!
Darrell's Responses to my Questions
In the view of Darrell Broking, and others of his legalistic mindset, Cornelius was still a man "doing evil" and in a lost condition even after God had poured forth His Holy Spirit upon him. Cornelius, as he was "exalting God" and speaking with tongues [Acts 10:46], was "no more saved than was Balaam's ass" (Darrell's very own words -- p. 29). Thus, the condition of Cornelius' heart meant absolutely nothing to God. It was only when the nose of Cornelius broke the surface of the baptismal waters that God finally accepted this man of faith and devotion. Before that split-second he was no more saved than a donkey. Or, so says Darrell Broking. Thank goodness Darrell admits (in response to my sixth question) that he has NOT correctly interpreted every single word, phrase, sentence and passage within the entire Bible!! I believe we can all unanimously agree, based on our reading of his four affirmatives, that Darrell has most assuredly answered this question correctly!! With regard to God's acceptance of this man, the apostle Peter seems to have a vastly different perspective on the matter -- "I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation accepts the man who fears (reveres) Him and does what is right" [Acts 10:34-35]. Later, Peter told his fellow Jews back in Jerusalem, "If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?" [Acts 11:17]. Peter finally came to realize what Darrell apparently still does not -- when God poured out His Spirit upon Cornelius, He accepted him; this man was now one of His own. Was Cornelius expected to demonstrate this saving faith by being immersed? Yes ... and he did so. But, let's be honest enough to admit the teaching here, brethren, even if it does fly in the face of what we may have always been taught to believe -- God accepted this man based on what was in his heart, and He did so prior to this man's immersion. This ought to tell us something about where the focus of our Father is!!
But Darrell doesn't stop with Cornelius. His strange theories extend even to such noted giants of faith as Moses and Elijah. According to Darrell, when Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the mount at the transfiguration, they were at that time still "in their sins." Moses had died in his sins, and those sins had NOT yet been forgiven. Would that not equate to him being LOST, in Darrell's view? Doesn't the Bible have something to say about those who "die in their sins"? Elijah, of course, was spared death, so I guess that wherever he was he was still "living in sin." Neither of these two men would have their sins removed (says Darrell) until Jesus shed His blood, which at the time of the transfiguration had not yet occurred. Thus, they were both sin-filled wretches!! Yet, Luke speaks of them "appearing in glorious splendor" with Jesus [Luke 9:31]. I guess they just borrowed the spotless garb for this special occasion! Darrell went on to declare, "If you have Moses and Elijah forgiven at the Mount of Transfiguration, then Jesus did not need to die. If the saints who lived before the death of Christ were saved before the blood was applied, then Jesus did not need to die for the sins of the world" [p. 15]. "Elijah and Moses had salvation in promise but it was not realized before Jesus substituted His life for theirs" [ibid]. In other words, Moses and Elijah had not yet attained unto salvation when they appeared "in glorious splendor" with Jesus. Moses was dead in his sins, and Elijah was living in his. Neither of them had yet realized salvation. I'll leave it to the reader to decide if Darrell's insight is valid. I think you know what my judgment is. Yes, there were future promises (the new heavens and earth, for example) that they died without realizing [Heb. 11:13, 39], but "gaining the approval of God through their faith" [vs. 39] was not one of them. They were indeed approved, and they were indeed justified. Approved and justified by God equates to being saved in anyone's book (except perhaps in Darrell's).
Maybe we should examine what these Old Covenant saints understood about forgiveness of sin. The prophet Isaiah realized his own sinfulness in the sight of God, but to assure him, "one of the seraphim flew to me, with a burning coal in his hand which he had taken from the altar with tongs. And he touched my mouth with it and said, 'Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity IS taken away, and your sin IS forgiven'" [Isaiah 6:6-7]. It doesn't say it will be hundreds of years after you're dead. Those sins ARE gone! In Psalm 32 David said that he had confessed his transgressions to the Lord, and as a result, "Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin" [vs. 5]. Indeed, the psalm begins with this great assurance: "Blessed is he whose transgression IS forgiven, whose sin IS covered" [vs. 1]. David's sins were removed right then, not centuries after he "died in his sins." "Thou didst forgive the iniquity of Thy people; Thou didst cover all their sin" [Psalm 85:2]. "For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee" [Psalm 86:5]. David wrote, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us" [Psalm 103:12]. Isaiah wrote, "Thou has cast all my sins behind Thy back" [Isaiah 38:17]. None of these passages (and many, many more could be given) look to some distant future realization. God dealt with their sins under the Old Covenant; when they were forgiven by Him, they were completely removed, never to be remembered again. The problem under the Old Covenant was that the sacrifices had to be repeated as new sins accumulated. This is the point clearly made in the book of Hebrews. Under the new and better covenant made with mankind, one great sacrifice was made that forever forgives ALL sins. No longer must we continually offer up sacrifices to receive forgiveness; that has now been taken care of "once for all" by the sacrifice of our Passover Lamb, that great Atoning Sacrifice. WAS there forgiveness under the Old Covenant? Of course there was. But the covering (propitiation) provided under the New Covenant is far, far superior in that as long as we are walking in the light, where He is, we have continual cleansing of ALL our sins [1 John 1:7]. No more rushing to offer up the blood of bulls and goats every time we sin. We are now continually regarded as spotless by the covering brought about through the sacrifice of Jesus. Praise God for His grace and mercy!!
In response to my third question, Darrell declares the day of the week upon which the Lord's Supper is observed to be a salvation and fellowship issue. It must be Sunday ... every Sunday ... and only Sunday ... and only once on Sunday. This is all "inferred" from a single example. However, in a great many more examples of the observance of the Lord's Supper ... indeed in every example of the observance of the Lord's Supper ... it was only and always observed in the evening. There is absolutely NO "biblical authority" (if authority is established by "approved apostolic example") for observing the Lord's Supper at any other time than in the evening. Therefore, I asked Darrell if a morning observance today violates "the pattern"? No, says Darrell. The day is essential, but the time of day "is incidental and a red herring!" [p. 29]. This is just another example of the "pick and choose" patternism of the legalists. This is essential, but that is incidental. And the seeds of division and factions and schisms in the Body are planted, for each little sect of legalistic patternists has a different list of what is essential and what is incidental. For some, one cup is absolutely essential; for others it is purely incidental. We could list countless other examples, and these respective legalists each employ the exact same "logic," and the exact same CENI hermeneutic, to prove their inferred practices to be part of the pattern and all other practices to be the biblical manipulations of malicious apostates. The end result is a dismembered Body, a saddened Savior, and a satisfied Satan!
Darrell's Fourth Affirmative
After wading through all 39 pages (20,300 words) of his final affirmative, I have to admit that I am in full agreement with the following sampling from our readers: "Broking's fourth affirmative is such an affront to cognitive communication as to defy comprehension" (a reader in Arkansas) ... "I read Darrell's 4th affirmative and was dumbfounded" (a reader in Texas) ... "I just read Darrell Broking's fourth affirmative in the debate. I hope that you can make some sense of it!! After reading his post, I did not understand about 75% of what he was saying (or trying to say). Maybe you can understand his ramblings more than I was capable of" (a reader in Texas). Well, not really. It was indeed a genuine effort just to read through it, as it was a rambling theological mess. I would literally need an arsenal of weapons and a truck load of ammo just to hunt down and kill the plague of rabbits he unleashed for me to chase through the forest. All of which, of course, leaves the reader wondering what any of it possibly had to do with actually affirming his first proposition in this debate. Let me remind the reader once again what that proposition is -- "The New Covenant writings ARE the divine pattern which must be followed for both fellowship and salvation." In other words, as Darrell Broking has admitted more than once, every single word of the 27 New Testament books constitutes "the divine pattern which must be followed for both fellowship and salvation." So, every single word must be followed if we are to have fellowship and be saved. When Paul speaks of having to write with large letters ... when he asks that a cloak and books be brought to him ... these are salvation issues. These are particulars of the pattern that we must follow to be saved. No, dear reader, I'm not making that up!! That is the affirmation of Darrell Broking. Notice again his following responses to two of my previous questions:
To establish the truth of this first proposition, Darrell must convincingly demonstrate how every single word within these 27 New Testament writings is absolutely critical to our own salvation and fellowship. Each word, each phrase must be shown conclusively to be part of the "pattern" pertaining to eternal salvation. Since he has declared that every single part of these writings constitute that pattern -- every word of them -- then if even one word or phrase can be shown NOT to be a "pattern particular" essential to salvation and fellowship ... well, his whole premise collapses upon itself. By making such an absolute statement, Darrell Broking has cornered himself, and his only defense is to attack. This will inevitably lead to even further ridiculous and irrational statements, with the readers very quickly seeing through his delusion to the absurdity of his theology.
How does Darrell Broking get around this dilemma, you ask? With some deft slight of hand and misdirection. He declares, "Denial of factual material in the Bible is sin because the Bible is the Word of God" [p. 3]. I have a wooden plaque on my desk that reads -- "God said it, I believe it, that settles it." If something is stated as fact in Scripture, then I have no problem with that generally, although we must clearly allow for the use of figurative language. Paul said he wrote in large letters. That is either true, or Paul lied and that lie was preserved in these inspired writings, which makes the Spirit of God a liar. Thus, I accept as fact the statement by Paul that he wrote in large letters. However, this really has no bearing upon whether that statement with regard to Paul's writing technique is a part of some pattern pertaining to my own personal salvation and my fellowship with other believers in Jesus. Yes, if I call Paul a liar, then I do indeed have a problem. But that is not what this first proposition in this debate is about. It is about whether or not some statement provides a guiding pattern for my own attitudes and actions that has a direct bearing on whether or not I will be ultimately saved. What, therefore, is the guiding pattern in Paul's use of large letters? What is the guiding pattern for Al Maxey in September, 2008 when it is declared that Paul wrote in large letters? For Darrell Broking's premise to be valid, there must be some great truth that I must employ in my life if I am to have fellowship with my brethren and be eternally saved from hell. Frankly, I fail to see what that truth is.
On page 22 Darrell makes a desperate attempt to show how Gal. 6:11 and 2 Tim. 4:13 are vital aspects of the pattern essential to one's fellowship and salvation. It is an effort that would almost be humorous, frankly, if not so pathetic. First, they're part of the inspired writings, so this statement is "in one way or another beneficial to mankind." Well, yes ... up to a point. It does reveal something about the personal life of Paul. But, does my eternal salvation really rest upon the fact that he wrote in large letters? It is indeed good historical information, but hardly salvific. Second, "Gal. 6:11 is an example of service, love, and compassion, without which no one can be saved, and as an example it is binding." Yes, the apostle Paul was a great servant. We certainly should be servants of the Lord also. If we aren't, we will be called to account for this failing. I still fail to see how font size is a salvation issue. "Those who tell God that the verse is not essential to the New Testament are not worthy of fellowship." Well, I don't think we are suggesting the passage has no value. It does indeed serve to personalize Paul. However, again, I find nothing there that directly impacts either fellowship or salvation. What about this phrase: "They went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus" [Acts 13:4]? Maybe this: "Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia" [Acts 13:13]? Perhaps this: "There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together" [Acts 20:8]? And this: "We put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary" [Acts 27:4]? These are great historical insights, and provide good information. But, are they essential particulars that you and I must follow in our daily lives to be saved? I fail to see how. And yet, for Darrell's proposition in this debate to be valid, every single word of these 27 books MUST have some direct bearing on our fellowship and salvation. Thus, these passages must be more than merely informational. They must be salvific. They are NOT, however, and no amount of manipulation of the text will transform them into such. Darrell has tried, but he has failed.
The proverbial "red herring" here is Darrell's suggestion that I might not regard such historical statements of fact to be an integral part of the inspired biblical record. That, of course, is completely fallacious. No one is denying that these statements are "God-breathed." No one is denying their legitimate place in the New Covenant documents. No one is denying they serve a purpose (if they didn't, they wouldn't be there). What is being denied is that their purpose, by divine design, is to provide some guiding principle or specific pattern that must be practiced precisely by disciples of Christ the world over, and until the end of time, in order for these disciples to experience sweet fellowship with one another and ultimately to experience eternal salvation. If one asserts this to be the purpose of these various statements (and many hundreds of such examples could be given), then he/she must demonstrate conclusively and clearly a direct connection between these various statements and our fellowship and salvation. Darrell Broking has utterly failed to do this, thus he has NOT been able to affirm his first proposition. He has NOT proved, despite his claims, that the New Testament writings (every single word of them) ARE the pattern that must be followed in our daily lives for us to enjoy fellowship and receive eternal salvation. Saying it is so, and proving it is so, are two separate things (and simply declaring something to be true, as Darrell has done, does NOT thereby constitute confirmation of said declaration).
Darrell Broking wrote, "In this affirmative I demonstrate that Al Maxey failed to do what he set out to do, that is to refute the point I am pressing in this debate, i.e., the New Testament is the pattern for salvation and fellowship." Of course, Darrell left out of this statement what he has declared repeatedly throughout all four of his affirmative posts -- "every single word of it." Only the readers may determine if I have failed to refute his assertion; only the readers may determine if Darrell has proved his point. Darrell and I both believe we've accomplished our goal in this first half of the debate. However, it is you, the reader, who must ultimately decide. If Darrell is correct, then you must search Scripture scrupulously to detect (by means of human inference and assumption) the particulars of THE pattern that is hidden away in every single word, phrase and sentence of these 27 New Covenant writings. You dare not miss a single one of them, for they ALL constitute the fullness of this pattern, full compliance with which is essential to both fellowship and salvation. Jesus told the legalists of His own day, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that IN THEM you have eternal life; but it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me that you may have life" [John 5:39-40]. This is the basic difference between Darrell and me. Darrell believes the NT Scriptures themselves ARE the pattern that leads to life. I, on the other hand, believe them to be revelatory of that LIFE: who is our Lord Jesus Christ. The legalistic patternists got it wrong two thousand years ago, and they are just as unenlightened today. Darrell Broking is still searching the Scriptures for a pattern, when the Pattern stands right before him. The NT documents are NOT the pattern, but they do contain and reveal that Pattern. It is this I will seek to affirm in the second half of this debate.
Returning to the issue of the forgiveness of sins, I found it interesting that Darrell Broking quotes Mark 1:4, which says, "John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins," and then asserts that the people who repented and were baptized by John were not at that time really forgiven of their sins. Indeed, they would not be forgiven for years. He wrote, "As already noted, remission of sins was only possible after Jesus shed His blood and purchased the church. ... What about those people who were baptized with John's baptism while it was still valid? When the remission of sins was realized, their sins were remitted. ... the group already baptized by John were forgiven when the church began" [p. 16]. This raises an interesting question: what about those who, after having repented and having been baptized by John "unto the remission of sins," subsequently "died in their sins" prior to the death of Jesus and the establishment of the church on the day of Pentecost? Were they lost? Can one who dies in their sins be saved after the fact?
Darrell makes yet another glaring interpretive blunder when he writes (with regard to those baptized by John), "This is why the 3000 baptized for the remission of sins at the beginning of the church age were 'added unto them' (Acts 2:41). They were added to the group already baptized by John and forgiven when the church began" [p. 16]. First, Darrell should know by now that the use of italics in the KJV suggests the words italicized do not appear in the biblical text -- they were added by the translators. Thus, Darrell Broking is basing his interpretation here on an addition to God's inspired writings (an addition that is false, by the way). In my opinion there has been a great deal of misunderstanding, and subsequently much misinformation, with regard to the matter of the identity of that to which we are added when we obey God's "plan of salvation." Typically we declare that when one "obeys the gospel" this person is then added "to the church." I do not believe that is a completely accurate statement.
Some, in an effort to refute what I have stated above, will quote Acts 2:47 (KJV) which reads, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." The phrase "to the church" is not in the original text. It has been added. In fact, to my knowledge (and I checked dozens of other translations) there are hardly any reputable translations that have added the phrase "to the church" to this passage. It is an incorrect and false rendering. The original Greek here literally says -- "And the Lord added together daily the ones being saved." The passage does not tell us specifically to what or to whom those being saved were added. It merely states that all those being saved were "added together" or "numbered together." I believe that our brother Hugo McCord, in his translation, has captured the original very well when he translates it as follows: "The Lord was adding together daily the ones who were being saved." That is exactly what the passage declares in the original Greek. Again, the phrase "to the church" is an addition to the text of the Bible. Even the NKJV (New King James Version) has placed a footnote here informing the reader that this phrase is omitted in the Greek (which leaves one to wonder why they went ahead and added it anyway! Was their loyalty to the original Greek text or to the KJV?!!).
Some perhaps might argue that if God is taking all the saved ones and collecting them together into a common group, then this seemingly suggests the addition is to the group itself. If there were no other biblical teaching on this matter, this might very well be a logical conclusion. However, there IS further teaching on this issue that suggests that the saved are added to something else entirely, and that all those who are thus being added to this "something else" are then "numbered together." Even if the assumption of the translators were true (that those being saved are then added "to the church"), such is nevertheless not stated in the biblical text, and for translators to impose their own interpretation upon the original text (however true that interpretation might be) goes beyond the work of a translator. The result, therefore, becomes more commentary than translation.
Acts 2:41, in the KJV, reads, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." At least in this passage the phrase "unto them" is placed in italics in the KJV. It is thereby acknowledged that this phrase has been ADDED by the translators to the text of the Bible. In the original Greek the latter part of the verse literally reads: "And there were added in that day about three thousand souls." The verse does not tell us to what these 3000 believers were added. It only says they were "added." Again, the KJV translators did some assuming and inferring, and then they did some adding to the text. It is assumed by some that it was to the other saints they were added (i.e., the church), however this is merely an assumption. There is no question but what they were "numbered together with" the other saints, but is it possible there was something else to which, or perhaps to whom, these saved ones were added? If so, what or who was it?!
I believe the answer is found in Acts 5:14. Again, notice the KJV (which in this passage gives the correct translation of the original): "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women." Some translations continue with the concept that it was "to the church" that the believers were added. The NIV, for example, reads, "more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number." This is not a correct translation of the original. However, the KJV, ASV, RSV, and even the LB (and other translations as well) all correctly translate the original here --- "added to the Lord." In my view, this is a concept which has been largely overlooked in our preaching and teaching. We tend to proclaim that when a person "obeys the gospel" they are then added to the church (and, of course, by that we mean the Church of Christ church). Therefore, it becomes very important, especially to the legalists, that these saved ones get into the right church --- i.e., our church; the only true church; the Church of Christ church!! Such preaching and teaching totally misses the mark. People are not added to the CHURCH, they are added to the LORD. All who are added to the Lord are then "numbered together" with that great, universal One Body. It is God who does the adding of people to something, and He adds them to the Lord. All those who are being saved -- who are being added to the Lord -- are then numbered among the family of God: His One Body universal. God does not add anyone to a particular group (Baptist, Methodist, or even Church of Christ), rather He collects them all together into One Body, and the common bond which they all share is: they are "in Christ Jesus" -- having been added to HIM.
I believe that once we truly comprehend this, we will begin to change the thrust of our preaching and teaching. Rather than trying to get people into the CHURCH (and, of course, we mean by this OUR church group), we will instead focus our energy upon seeking to get them into CHRIST. Someone, like Darrell Broking, will invariably declare, "But that person over there isn't worshiping God in OUR group; he's worshiping God in some OTHER group. Doesn't he realize that he can't go to heaven unless he worships in our group and according to our pattern?" The fact is, however, if he is worshiping God "in Christ Jesus" and "in the Spirit," then that is sufficient. If he is truly "in Christ," then he is automatically in the "right group" -- the One Body. This confused, and almost comedic, concept of "right groupism" is nothing more than sectarianism!! John learned this lesson the hard way (Mark 9:38-40; Luke 9:49-50) when he tried to hinder the work of a certain man "because he was not following US." Jesus had to point out to John that walking about in their own little group was not what determined one's place in the kingdom. Being in a relationship with the Lord was the critical issue, not whether one was "following us." Many need that same lesson today!
Somewhat similarly, Darrell continues with his teaching that salvation is in a place (or a pattern) rather than in a Person. He wrote, "In the same sense that salvation from the Genesis flood was in the ark, salvation from sin today is in the church" [p. 18]. Yes, the saved are collected together and numbered together in that great universal One Body, but their individual, and even collective, salvation is in Christ Jesus. We are not saved by being in the church, we are saved by being in Christ. Some might consider this a rather fine distinction, but the distinction is there nonetheless, and it's an important one. Failing to make that distinction will alter the focus of our preaching and teaching to a religion rather than a Redeemer; a pattern and place rather than a Person; a sect rather than a Savior.
Darrell declared, "The Lord Jesus Christ must authorize all that is done in spiritual affairs. The participation in any matter not authorized by Jesus is sin" [p. 2]. "The Word of God teaches that in Christian work and worship Christians may only do that which is authorized by the New Testament" [ibid]. I wonder if Darrell's little congregation in Tennessee, where he preaches and serves as an elder, has a Sunday School program. I wonder if, when they sing to God, they use song books with musical notation included, and if they employ four-part harmony. I wonder if they observe the Lord's Supper only in the evening (as per the pattern; after all, every example of the NT church observing this memorial meal was in the evening ... didn't Darrell write on page 6, "Examples are binding. They reveal that which God has authorized in His Word"?). So, I have to wonder: do they also use multiple thimble-sized plastic "cups" with unfermented grape juice, all arranged nicely in metal trays? The Bible is "silent" about all of these "godless innovations" (and yes, there are legalistic patternists, who employ the exact same hermeneutic as Darrell does, who would condemn Darrell to hell for his "unauthorized" additions to God's Word). Darrell is convinced that Col. 3:17 substantiates his teaching on this, a passage that he has brought up previously in this debate. "Thus far Maxey has not adequately dealt with this argument. Maxey, by the nature of his teaching, has to deny the teaching of Col. 3:17" [p. 2]. No, Al Maxey does not deny the teaching of this inspired passage; I simply deny Darrell's UNinspired interpretation of it. And yes, I did indeed refute his argument from this passage in my previous posts. Darrell even alluded to this: "When asked to refute what the Bible teaches in regard to Col. 3:17, Maxey suggested that those interested read an article in his Reflections archive. Why not just try to offer a rebuttal?" [p. 20].
Actually, I did "offer a rebuttal" to both Darrell and to the readers of this debate. That rebuttal was in the form of an in-depth study I had earlier done on this very passage (Col. 3:17). It went into great depth, and presented a wealth of biblical evidence why Darrell's view was not valid. That rebuttal was Reflections #325 (dated Nov. 9, 2007), a study that was over 3200 words in length. Not wanting to turn my third rebuttal into a novelette, I simply informed Darrell and the readers where they could find this information. I'm not surprised that Darrell wondered where my rebuttal of his view of this passage was, however, as he went into my third rebuttal, prior to it being placed on the ContendingFTF Internet group, and deactivated all of my links to my referenced Reflections articles, thus preventing any of the readers on that web site from clicking on those links and reading my proffered materials. So, I guess one can say that Darrell was right in saying I had offered no rebuttal ... for Darrell Broking had taken it upon himself to deactivate all of my links within my 3rd rebuttal [even though David Brown had given me his word, prior to the beginning of this current debate, that such an act would never, ever happen. In his email to me of June 13, he wrote, "I will say that regarding the posting of the discussions that absolutely nothing will be altered, changed or edited about them. The posts will appear on ContendingFTF just as they left each disputant's email to us." I appealed to David to reverse Darrell's censorship of my 3rd rebuttal; it was an appeal for him to simply honor his word. He refused --- so much for honor and integrity among the legalists].
On page 3 of Darrell Broking's recent tendentious tome, he wrote, "One of the major problems with Maxey's pattern is that it views matters of obligation as matters of opinion." Needless to say, Darrell and I differ greatly on what constitutes a "matter of obligation." If God commanded it, then it is a matter of obligation. If Darrell inferred it, then it's a matter of opinion. The former is binding on mankind, the latter is not. The legalists do not accept this view. In their view, if they infer, assume or deduce something from the Scriptures, even in areas where God Himself has said absolutely nothing, their conclusions carry equal weight with God's commands. Indeed, 99.9% of the factional feuding and fragmenting in the church today is over these innumerable opinions of fallible men that they seek to bind upon the rest of the One Body as divine obligations. As I will attempt to demonstrate in the second half of this debate, the genuine obligations of our God are rather few in number. On page 6 of his last affirmative Darrell further notes, "the anti-patternist does not like to acknowledge the concept of keeping commandments." Quite the contrary. In fact, the characterization "anti-patternist" is not even accurate. We all acknowledge there is a pattern of attitude and action prescribed by our God, we just differ as to what it is. I am more than willing to acknowledge the need to keep our God's commandments ... indeed, we must. However, I have no desire whatsoever to be bound to the countless commandments of mere men. Indeed, Jesus condemned the legalistic Pharisees for seeking to bind just that -- "teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" [Matt. 15:9].
With respect to inferences drawn by men from the Scriptures, Darrell believes there is a "need to make inferences from the Bible" [p. 6]. "Inference is necessary and important, and God expects people to make inferences from the biblical text" [p. 7]. I am in full agreement with Darrell on this point. This exegetical principle is not only true of sacred hermeneutics, but also of our efforts to interpret any document. Our understandings are not only based upon explicit teaching, but also that which may be termed implicit (that which is not plainly or clearly or specifically expressed, but which may be necessarily implied by the text or logically inferred by the reader). This is the "NI" part of the hermeneutic known as "CENI" (Command, Example, Necessary Inference). Please do not overlook the importance of the qualifier "necessary," for a good many inferences drawn by fallible men from the Scriptures are anything but. Yes, it is natural to draw inferences from that which we read and study. There is nothing wrong with this. What IS wrong, however, is when we seek to elevate these inferred understandings of fallible men to the level of divine decree, and then seek to bind them upon others as terms of fellowship and conditions of salvation. This I oppose, as have biblical scholars for centuries!! Inferences, assumptions and deductions (especially those drawn from silence) were most certainly never intended by our God to be regulatory in nature, as we are all finite, fallible men subject to countless fallacious assumptions, inferences and deductions. Darrell would most likely not want my assumptions governing him, thus why would I want his (or any other person's) governing me? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. This reality was stated quite eloquently in the year 1809 by Thomas Campbell in his now famous Declaration and Address:
With regard to the specific day upon which the Lord's Supper may be observed, Darrell believes that Sunday is the only day upon which disciples may participate in this memorial meal. Indeed, Darrell declares it to be a sin to observe it on any other day. "There is no authority in Scripture to observe the Lord's Supper on any other day of the week" [p. 10]. "By faith the Lord's Supper cannot be observed on any other day or in any other setting" [ibid]. "No other day is even alluded to in regard to the observance of the Lord's Supper" [ibid]. Actually, a good many biblical scholars, and I am among them, would differ with Darrell on this. Some very reputable scholars, as a matter of fact, believe that we find at least an allusion, if not more, in Acts 2 to a daily observance of the Lord's Supper in the early church. Extra-biblical sources have also confirmed this practice. I have provided this evidence in my previous rebuttals, so won't engage in any redundancy here. However, suffice it to say that Darrell does not have the weight of biblical scholarship on his side in the above assertion of his assumption.
I found it somewhat amusing (but far more sad) that on page 13 of his fourth affirmative Darrell Broking observed, "If Christians would unite on what the Bible says and stay away from practices not found in the Bible, then we would not be having this debate." This statement, word for word, could have been written by the one cup brother to Darrel Broking. It could have been written to Darrell by one who sees no "authority" and no "pattern" in the New Testament writings for "dividing the assembly" into Sunday School classes according to age. Some might even write those words to Darrell if he uses PowerPoint presentations on the Lord's Day to illustrate his sermons. If Darrell would just stick to what the Bible says, and stay away from those practices not found in the Bible, then those other brethren would not be having that conversation with him. Such is the continuing dilemma of the legalistic patternists. In each of their own minds, they and they alone have perfectly and properly perceived the New Covenant pattern, and all others are godless apostates hell-bent on destroying the blood-bought church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Is it any wonder that the Body of Jesus Christ has become so horribly divided? With every newly discovered particular of this elusive pattern, yet another faction is formed. How our Lord must weep over His family!
Darrell Broking wrote, "From 1 Cor. 1:10 comes a command that all Christians speak the same thing and also the Lord's condemnation of religious division. Maxey on the other hand glorifies religious division as healthy and condemns those who seek unity based on the truth of God's Word" [p. 30]. This statement is an absolute absurdity, and doesn't even begin to reflect my actual convictions and teachings. At the risk of giving Darrell yet another link to tamper with, let me encourage him to carefully and prayerfully read my analysis of the very passage to which he referred above: Speak Ye The Same Thing: A Challenging Apostolic Exhortation -- Reflections #251. In this study I have analyzed in some depth the significance of Paul's phrase "speak ye the same thing," and I point out that the passage does indeed speak out against division in the Body of Christ. Indeed, I have been speaking out against such division for decades! I hardly glorify division "as healthy." If Darrell Broking had actually been reading my writings over the years, instead of just reacting to what he thought I taught, he wouldn't be making such outrageous and fallacious assertions.
In his response to one of the readers who wrote to him, and whose letter he published, Darrell made this observation, "As far as the psallo argument is concerned, please note that the psalms were not sang (sic) with mechanical instrumental accompaniment. There were interludes in some of the psalms during which mechanical instruments of music were played" [p. 35]. Due to a wide variety of musical expression among the ancient Israelites, it is most likely true that there were occasions when instruments were employed during such interludes. No argument there. However, it is equally true that there were times when they were employed while the singers were singing. In other words, the instruments actually accompanied the singing of praises to God in a worshipful setting. This appears to be something that Darrell seeks to deny (and for obvious reasons). Darrell pointed out that the psalms were also to be sung, and he provides 1 Chron. 16:9 as an example: "Sing to Him, sing praises to Him." What Darrell doesn't quote, however, is verse 42 of this same chapter, which speaks of "the instruments for the songs of God." Psalms 149 and 150 are also quite instructive as to what the Lord approved "in the congregation of the godly ones" [Ps. 149:1]. Clearly there was singing, dancing and the employment of instruments throughout. And our God approved. Darrell might still contend, however, that the singing was UNaccompanied, and the two took place separately from one another. Therefore, may I suggest to him a reading of the following inspired words:
As per the previously established rules governing this debate, the final rebuttal in each half of this exchange on patternism will not be allowed to include the six T/F questions/statements to the "disputant" taking the affirmative position. Therefore, in keeping with this ruling, the six questions normally posed at this point will not be presented. Instead, I will pose six new challenges to Darrell in my first affirmative to the second proposition, a post that will appear in the next few days.
The first half of this debate is now completed. Darrell has had four opportunities to affirm his proposition, and I have had four opportunities to refute his arguments. Each of us are convinced we have done our best to present our respective views in such a way as to help the readers better appreciate why we believe as we do. Clearly, Darrell Broking and I live in vastly different theological universes. Obviously, we can't both be right, as our approach to the Scriptures and our view of the Father are at complete odds with one another. Darrell has tried hard to convince you that every word of the 27 New Covenant documents IS the pattern that must be followed precisely in order for us to have fellowship with one another, and also to experience the joys of eternal salvation. I, however, believe these documents are indeed "God-breathed," but I do not believe they were ever intended to BE "the pattern" upon which both fellowship and salvation ultimately depend. Rather, they reveal that pattern, which is far more limited than Darrell is willing to admit. In the second half of this debate I will seek to affirm my position, and Darrell will seek to refute it. Please keep us both in your prayers as we seek to share with you these two perspectives regarding God's will for His people, and may God give us all the wisdom we need to truly perceive His will and experience His grace.