Was Jesus a Friend of Sinners?
By James P. Shelly
“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:14)
We read in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.‘” The Greek word rendered “company” means, association, conversation, companionship, intercourse, or communion. We are here taught that evil companionships, or “friendships” with the ungodly, will have a destructive influence on our moral behavior. There is a direct correlation between a person’s character and the company he keeps. Few would disagree, even in the unbelieving world, that such is undoubtedly the case. It is, therefore, a common practice among loving parents to forbid their children from being friends with other children whom they think would be a bad influence. Would we expect our heavenly Father to have any less concern for His beloved children and not prohibit them from friendship with sinners? We read in Proverbs 13:20, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” We read in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “…what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? …Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” If Jesus was a friend and companion of sinners would He not, according to these and many other passages, be living contrary to Scripture and setting a dangerous and perilous example for his followers? Continue reading Was Jesus a Friend of Sinners?
Christ is the Cause of Salvation; Faith & Good Works are the Conditions
(The efficacy of the death of Christ consistent with the necessity of a good life)
by William Paley (b. July 1743 – d. May 1805)
Our first argument to support the thesis stated above is that although the Bible clearly represents Christ’s atonement as efficacious for the salvation of mankind, it also clearly teaches the necessity of our own efforts toward virtue and good works for salvation’s sake. But the Scriptures go further than that. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Scriptures, foresaw that as the death & atonement of Christ was revealed to Christians as being instrumental to salvation, that this would lead some Christians to the [mistaken] opinion that mankind’s own works, their own virtue, their personal efforts, were to be set aside or done away with. In other words, the Holy Spirit foresaw that some Christians would [mistakenly] conclude that if the sacrificial death of Christ was effective for salvation, that this would mean that all the moral efforts or good works of mankind were unnecessary for salvation. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Scriptures, foresaw that some Christians would draw this [mistaken] conclusion from certain teachings that are now located in the New Testament and so He, through the Scriptures, provided a remedy for this erroneous interpretation. Continue reading Christ is the Cause of Salvation; Faith & Good Works are the Conditions
In order to complete my M.A. in Church History/Historical Theology, I had to take an Essay Exam, and one of the topics to be written on was that I had to select what I thought were the 3 most important developments in Christianity during the Modern Period (c. 1650-present), explain why I chose those three developments, and explain their emergence, significance, and their lasting impact on Christianity. The article which follows, which I have entitled “Strong Delusion,” is the essence of my answer. It discusses the following three developments in Protestant Evangelical Christianity during the Modern Period: (1) the supposed need for a dramatic, convincing conversion story or a crisis-conversion; (2) the supposed requirement to know without a doubt that you are saved; and (3) the globalization of Easy Believism or Security-in-Sin.
The reason I selected these three developments in Christianity during the Modern Period as being the most important is because of the negative (and potentially deadly) combined or cumulative effect I believe they have had upon Christianity, myself included. Understanding how they developed is helpful in escaping their negative influence. Continue reading Strong Delusion