One of our new friends, MSweat has pointed up one of the real difficulties in trying to find the right words in talking across a range of Christian traditions. A Lutheran, he has done what all Christians should do when they feel misrepresented, he has corrected those doing that (me) and helpfully told me how it is for him. As I appreciate his correction, and agree with him, I want to elevate his words from the comments and put some of them here:
I thought I had found friends from a community of believers here who were more interested in the repercussions of our disagreements, but it is turning evident, that you are more interested in silly things such as “Blah Blah Blah… “he thinks because he walked down to the front of the aisle and said “I give my life to Jesus.” as arguments that the evangelistic community produces no true disciples of Jesus.
If I have given that impression in our dialogue with Bosco, then I can only apologise, as such was not the intent at all, and I have erred greatly. One of my favourite preachers, as regular readers will know, is Pastor Gervase, from whose sermons I gain great comfort and some wise words, and he is an Independent in the Baptist tradition, so I hope that no one will think I think that the evangelical community produces no true disciples. My dear sister in Christ, Lyn Leahz, is another Evangelical Christian in whom the Spirit moves strongly.
Nor is this a version of ‘well, some of my best friends are Evangelicals’. There is, it seems to me, a clear difference between those who say they are ‘saved’ and yet seem to spend their time attacking other Christian traditions, and those who confess Christ and in whom the Spirit manifests itself in their witness.
I am more than happy when Mike corrects my misunderstandings:
Yes, I think you fully miss our point. We, no more than you, insinuate that it is impossible to be saved and not be transformed.
A little bit different than you, we acknowledge that it is entirely God’s work…. not ours. Truth, we believe, only comes from God. If God does not give us truth, then we will have no truth. (hence, the Islamic community and their attack against the faith known as Christianity.)
The reason I am more than happy, is it allows me to correct a misunderstanding implicit in what Mike writes. There is no difference between me and him in thinking that any transformation is entirely God’s work. Neither myself, nor I think anyone who posts here, believes we have part in our salvation – that is entirely a work of Grace through God.
But I do not believe, and I’d be really interested to know what Mike (and others) think here, that being saved is a one-off event. The love that is in me for Him inspires me to want to serve Him, and, as St. Paul says, to ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’. That is not, as Palagius wrongly thought, a statement that our work earns salvation; indeed, I know no one who thinks that. It is rather a statement that having received Christ, I can no more refrain from trying to walk in His footsteps than I can from singing His praises.
I’d like to thank Mike for his gentle correction, and am very happy that he’s helped give me an opportunity to explain that this is, indeed, another point of unity – in addition to the ones previously mentioned – a willingness to accept correction at the hands of a brother in Christ.