Luther Fundamentally Misunderstood St Paul, Part 6: Imagine

By December 27, 2015 Apologetics 42 Comments

Imagine I tell you a degree from Harvard will be granted to you the instant you express a sincere desire for it.

That’s right. From the moment you say “Yes,” in the eyes of the university you will be a Harvard graduate, credited with having faithfully attended all classes, completed all course work and passed all exams.

And then, imagine I also tell you, repeatedly and in a number of different ways, that in order for you to graduate from Harvard you must attend all classes, complete all coursework and pass all exams. Imagine I urge you, admonish you, plead with you to make sure  you don’t allow yourself to become entangled in attending parties and screwing around and not doing your homework “because,” I emphasize, “you will graduate from Harvard only if  you persevere in your studies to the end.”

Do you think you might be a little confused?

THEY BEAT HORSES, DON’T THEY?

Now, it’s not that I want to beat this horse to death. I’m going to beat it to death, mind you. But it’s not that I want to.

It’s more that (a) repetition is at the heart of learning, and even more that (b) every week there are many new subscribers to this blog (thank God!) and I’m eager to make sure they understand the key arguments being made.

In my next post we enter a new exciting chapter in the story and so I want to devote this post to summarizing where I stood on the issue of justification in the few years before the idea of Catholicism entered my mind.

During my twenty years as an evangelical Protestant, essentially every Christian I knew and every theologian I read was committed to the classic Reformation doctrine of justification, where justification is understood as the imputation (legal crediting) of Christ’s own personal righteousness to the account of the one who believes. It takes place and is completed the moment one looks to Christ in faith.

This is what I had been taught and what I believed. And yet the more I read the Bible, the more I began to have doubts.

THE ISSUE OF PATTERNS

First was this issue of a basic pattern I saw in Scripture and couldn’t get out of my mind.

I had been taught that the very idea that God would require us to trust him and obey him in order to receive his blessings was essentially an abomination and the very opposite of how God relates to us. This is “works salvation.” This has us “earning” God’s blessings and “saving ourselves.” This robs God of the glory that is only his when he accomplishes all the work. This leads to “boasting.”

And then I noticed that in the Bible everyone who was ever blessed by God had been required to trust him and do what he commanded them to do. I noticed that Noah had been required to trust God and build a boat in order to be saved through the flood. I noticed that Moses and the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been required to trust God and cross the desert in order to receive their promised inheritance. I noticed that Naaman the Syrian had been required to trust God and dip in the Jordan seven times in order to be cleansed of his leprosy. I noticed that the man born blind had been required to trust Jesus and wash in the pool of Siloam in order to receive his sight.

And somehow, no one seemed to feel this arrangement an “abomination.” No one was waving his arms and complaining that the man had “earned” his eyesight or that Noah was now “boasting” for all eternity about how he saved himself.

Protestantism was always drawing this radical distinction between faith and obedience. But as far as I could see, in the minds of the biblical authors there didn’t seem to be much difference at all between faith and obedience.

PASSAGES THAT DIDN’T SIT WELL

Then came all those passages in the New Testament that in one way or another created tension with the Protestant doctrine of justification, passages that didn’t “sit well” within the system of thought, passages that didn’t seem to “fit.”

For instance, I was taught that we have eternal life because the merits of Jesus Christ have been credited to us in the act of justification and that “our obedience is not a condition for receiving eternal life.” And then, lo and behold I find St Paul warning the church in Galatia that each person will reap exactly what he has sown and that it is those who persevere in “doing good” and do not “lose heart” who will reap the harvest of eternal life (Galatians 6:6-7). I found him confirming this exact thought in his letter to the Romans: “To those who by perseverance in doing good, seek glory, honor and immortality, God will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7).

*****

I was taught that at the moment of justification, all our sins are forgiven, including (this is key) all future sins.

A Protestant friend once told me that she found the idea of Christians making a general confession of sins every Sunday (“I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned…”) almost repulsive. Why? Because it seemed to her that this amounted to slapping God in the face, implying that he hadn’t already forgiven those sins.

This is an implication of Luther’s doctrine of justification — that every sin we will every commit is credited to Christ and forgiven at the moment his righteousness is credited to us. I was taught this. And then I found John writing, “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin; but if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Notice that John is writing to believers (“my little children”). He urges them not to sin (“I am writing this to you so that you will not sin”) but then he comforts them with the knowledge that if they do sin, there is a remedy (“but if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father…) and if only they confess their sins, God will be faithful and just and will forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). John seems to view the mercy of God in Christ as a fountain his children will want to return to again and again to receive forgiveness and cleansing along the path to eternal life.

On the other hand, because Protestantism envisions all sins as forgiven and done away with at the beginning, when it comes to the issue of Christians confessing their sins, it’s common to hear Protestant teachers say things like: “Well, technically speaking you don’t need to go to God to receive forgiveness for sins you commit (since God has already forgiven them) but having said that, when we sin it’s probably a good idea to take a moment to acknowledge that sin and to thank the Lord for having already forgiven you.”

The more I thought about it the more this convoluted explanation didn’t seem to rest naturally with what John is saying here.

*****

I was taught that once we has been justified by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, our salvation is certain. It cannot be lost. From that moment we are immaculately holy and blameless in God’s sight.

Then I found Paul telling the believers in Colossae that they will be presented holy and blameless before God “provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel” (Colossians 1:22-23). I found the author of Hebrews saying that we will share in Christ “if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end” (Hebrew 3:14). I found Jesus saying, “If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love” (John 15:10) and warning the Church in Ephesus: “But I have this against you. You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place, unless you repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).

Looking at this passage from Revelation, notice that according to Jesus, the Ephesians had love at one time.

The problem is that they have since “abandoned” that love and have “fallen.” Now they need to “repent” and “do the works” they did at the beginning and if they don’t, Jesus is going to come and “remove” their lamp stand.

This is according to Jesus. However, according to classic Protestantism, this cannot be. Since no one can have true love for the Lord and then lose it, the Ephesians must have only appeared to have had true love.

At this point I was not only feeling confused. I was beginning to feel exhausted by all the complicated and convoluted explanations required of passages that seemed fairly straightforward except for the fact that they “couldn’t” be saying what they were saying. And they couldn’t be saying what they were saying because what they were saying didn’t fit the Protestant view of justification.

*****

Finally, I was taught that because the sins we commit as Christians have already been forgiven and cannot possibly cause us to lose our salvation, while we should certainly avoid sin, sin is not something we should be overly concerned about. Instead we should focus our minds on how holy and blameless we are “in Christ” and understand that our righteous standing before God is secure.

And then I found the Apostle Paul writing, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). I found the author of Hebrews reminding me that in my struggle against sin I have “not resisted to the point of shedding blood” (Hebrews 12:4). I found him admonishing me to “strive” after holiness “without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). And if that wasn’t enough, I found St Peter saying, “If you invoke as Father him who judges each one impartially according to his deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile” (1 Peter 1:17).

And why should we take sin this seriously? Is it because sin may give evidence that we’ve never “really” believed in Christ?

No. We should take sin this seriously because, as the author of Hebrews tells us, it is possible to become “hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” and “fall away from the living God” (Hebrews 3:12-13).

GRADUATION DAY

It doesn’t require extensive training in logic to understand that it’s only when a diploma is something granted at the end of one’s college experience that it becomes natural to describe little things like attending classes and doing homework and passing tests as though they were requirements for receiving a diploma. If a diploma is something that is handed to me on the first day of school, and by that afternoon is already framed and hanging on my wall, then it seems highly unnatural to start telling me that I won’t receive a diploma unless I accomplish everything a student normally accomplishes in order to receive his diploma.

If this sounds confusing to you, well, this is the kind of confusion I experienced as a Protestant reading the Bible.

In a thousand and one ways, the New Testament authors seemed to me to be teaching that one’s salvation is not something that is settled at the beginning of one’s Christian life, but is the outcome of an entire life of faith, leading to obedience, resulting in blessing.

The Christian is described as experiencing profound peace and joy, because he knows that in Christ he has been given “everything he needs for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3), everything he needs to fight the good fight and lay hold of eternal life. All that is required is that he want it, and continue to want it, and continue coming to Christ for forgiveness and grace.

At the same time, the Christian is described as living with a profound sense of seriousness, because he’s aware that he possesses a will and that it is therefore possible for him to choose sin, become entangled in sin, lose the desire to repent and abandon Christ.

IMAGINE

I had to admit that this balance of peace and joy, on the one hand, and seriousness on the other, was exactly what I saw in the New Testament. And the thought occurred to me: Imagine that salvation is not settled at the beginning, and that it is more like the path of faith, leading to obedience, resulting in blessing we see exemplified throughout Scripture. If this were true, all of these passages that were causing me trouble would settle down and fall into place. They could all be read and understood in their natural sense.

Because, after all, the thing that made them “difficult passages,” requiring elaborate and convoluted explanations, was the assumption that salvation is settled at the beginning, that justification is a one-time legal event that takes place the moment one first believes.

Whether true or not, it was Luther’s doctrine of imputation that functioned like a theological wrench thrown into the works, clogging the system and making the reading of the New Testament so extremely confusing and complicated.

It was at this point that I asked the question for the very first time: Is it possible that Luther’s doctrine of imputation isn’t true?

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42 Comments

  • Debbie says:

    As a protestant, I absolutely believe what you are writing about in these articles……..The “Ifs” in scripture always stood out to me—“if you endure to the end”, etc. I always wondered why others in my Christian fellowship didn’t “get it”. Thank you for so clearly articulating your journey……you are speaking truth!
    On another note–I was for several years a worship leader at a “protestant” church that evolved into a convergence church-the blending together of the evangelical-liturgical-evangelical streams of Christianity. However, all the ministers of this church became priests within the Mexican American Orthodox Catholic church, and the Catholic side of the “convergence” became dominate. The people and leaders of this church are good people….but, I could not be at peace with many of the teachings of the Catholic church—such as transubstantiation….praying to the saints……to name a couple things. I like you, love to search the scriptures–I MUST search scripture– to learn what God is REALLY saying to us—as to how to live–how to be filled with His presence—how to touch others for His kingdom, etc. (His word is like food to me!) I can not reconcile some of the aforementioned Catholic teachings with scripture. Do you fully believe and practice all the tenants of the Catholic church? Are you Roman Catholic or Orthodox?
    I realize you may not want to answers these personal questions, but as my husband and I have been so pleased to see that a Catholic believer believes some of the same things we do, I would truly like your thoughts on my questions.
    Sincerely,
    D Smith Texas

    • Ken Hensley says:

      Thank you for your comments. I’m aware of that movement within evangelical Christianity. And yes, I am Roman Catholic. If you go back and read the previous posts in this series, you’ll see that. As to those other “teachings” of the Church, I do believe them and suspect I will be discussing them in the future in this blog, but if you peruse the website you’ll see recommendations of books and recorded talks on these issues and more. Look at the Answers page on the main menu and all the topics below that. I could give short answers here but I’d rather give them the treatment I’m giving justification.

    • Tyler Rowley says:

      Debbie, I would be happy to help you understand some of the teachings you are having difficulty with. I’m at your service: t3rowley@gmail.com.

      – Tyler Rowley

    • Dolores says:

      Hi Debby, I am a Catholic. This note is regarding “praying to saints”. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophets, prophets, patriarchs and saints are referred to as heroes. More importantly, their names and the actions that made them famous (works!) were memorized and repeated from generation to generation lest anyone should ever forget the faith and hardship endured by these elders. The readers must understand that they, too, pass on the faith by endurance. Did those Israelites “pray” to Moses or Aaron? Maybe. Maybe they said something like “Moses, give me your endurance!” Is that “praying to a saint”? Maybe. Is it idolatry? No. Catholics pray to saints, (“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”) because Catholics believe in eternal life. A priest that I know celebrates a funeral by telling the people that the funeral Mass is the first Mass their loved one is celebrating from heaven. It’s something about “what we will be”. When is the “will be” moment? Why not start from the funeral Mass.
      Thank you, Debby, for asking hard questions.
      Blessings Always,

    • Sharon says:

      We pray to the saints so they will intercede for us. If I said to you my cousin is ill and will be going in for surgery next week will you keep him in your prayers? You would probably pray for his surgery to have a good result. The saints are treated in the same way. We ask them to pray with us and for us, the same as we would ask our friends to pray for us. The difference is our friends don’t have the time to pray 24 hours a day, but the saints do.

  • Douglas Pearsall says:

    Ken,your experience and mine are so similar,I didnt grow up in church,when I was 21 I went forward for salvation in an Assembly of God church,I never really lived the Christian life and just was in and out of church,when I was 26 I had a real encounter with God but still didnt continue with Him.At 33 I remarried and after a few years started going to a Baptist church,reluctantly after some time I embraced the theology,but still didnt really ever live the life and my marriage and life slowly went down hill and was heading to disaster when I had another encounter,this time was different,I met God as my eternal judge and realized my destiny was hell and what I had always believed about the grace of God was a total sham.I came to a true repentence and surrender to God and asked Him to show me truth.Over the past two years I prayerfully studied church history and was drawn to the holiness preachers Leonard Ravenhill and David Wilkerson,I loved the passion they had against sin and their quest for truth,but still something was missing,no real structure of how to live the life except for their examples,even though I was for the most part had been living a life of true repentence I still struggled with sin from time to time.I totally rejected the teachings of grace propogated by Luther and blamed him for the once saved theology and began to listen to Catholic videos and found one named the Protestant justification lie.I was so enligtened that I began following Catholic teaching.I had studied every Protestant churches creeds and could find none I agreed with.Im still following Catholic teaching on the web and am praying for Gods leading on how to approach my wife with my new found faith and have already found a some churches Im praying about.I know I cant speak for all Protestants but for me the teaching on morality,of sin and death and salvation is what has drawn me to the church,the other teachings of the church do not bother me and so far I find no reason to have a problem with them.I guess what I mean is that perhaps if more Protestants were honest with themselves they might admit that the other doctrines of the church they say bother them is merely an excuse.For me once your enlightened to the truth you will never look back but just look forward to learning about all the beauty and wonderful blessings that have been as it were hidden from me because of my own ignorance,I dont care that I dont understand it all,I look forward to exploring Gods wonderful church.Amen

  • Matt Cerny says:

    Ken,
    I am a recent convert to Catholicism from being a life long Lutheran. I enjoy your writing and it is very helpful. I want to comment that you may want to clarify that Lutherans do believe that salvation can be lost ( although this doctrine is a confusing paradox ). You have only focused on the rest of Protestants that believe in once saved always saved.

    Thanks for your writing!

    • K says:

      Ken ,
      I am a convert also from a rather conservative Lutheranism WELS , of Wisconsin .
      We were taught similar that you can lose your salvation .

      However , never mentioned confession much , or sin , and what to do when you sin .

      Most hardly mentioned Luther writings only Justification and imputed righteousness . Never knew about his devotion to Mary .

      • Dolores says:

        Hi K, I am a Catholic and am thinking about confession. Sure we have all those Scriptures about “confessing our sins”, but how do we do this. For starters, we have the example of King David and his confessor. It was through his confessor that King David realized that he was found out, confessed his sin, did penance, suffered the death of the child, and was saved. I was part of a group that used to have a practice of telling their stories (confessing their sins) with no one able to say “Your sins are forgiven”. They just kept telling the sins over and over again in the hopes that someone would understand and that God would forgive their sins. May that is why so many Catholics don’t give their “testimony” about their past sins. Those sins are forgiven. Then someone realized that we were perpetuating gossip. Because there was no other plan, they started private counseling. But even a trained counselor cannot say “I forgive your sins.” Forgiveness of sin by Jesus is in the New Testament, “who can forgive sins but God alone.” This was scary for the Temple priests because not even they could forgive sins. All they could do was to put the sin on the back of a goat and slaughter the goat. I only God can forgive sin, why a priest? Jesus asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” He wasn’t asking “why are you persecuting the poor bloke down the street.” Jesus and the Church are one. It’s a crazy thought, I know, but that’s what he said and that’s how we live it. This is an example of reading our Bibles as a whole and not by parsing out lines one at a time. It’s also about a teaching authority that has been tested through the centuries.
        Blessings Always,

  • therese says:

    Hi Ken, love reading your posts after meeting you twice in MA. I am more of a “revert” having been sacramentalized, but not truly evangelized until several years ago by the grace of God pulling me out of the muck of life I had created. to Doug P above- may God continue to bless you in your search and help you be a model for your family.

  • K says:

    Ken , I thought of this also …, do some us Catholics ever think I can sin and just go to confession and all is good . ? Seems like a similar situation as once saved always saved … We as Catholics have to be careful also of mortal sin that we continue to repeat ?

    • Ken Hensley says:

      Yes, this does happen. However, the teaching of the Church is that confession must be sincere. It does not encourage one to believe he’s fine and in the clear if he goes to confession without a true desire to change his ways. This is a crucial difference.

  • annette melendez says:

    Thank you. I’m newer to Christianity than most . I’m a Jew, who has been secretly learning about the new testament for long time. I’ve been drawn to Catholicism for almost a year. It’s where I belong. It’s a long story. But I tried other churches 1st, lutheran, newer modern ones, and so forth. But Christ brought me home. Thank you for including me in your group. I’m alone on my journey, it will be great to hear you and others about their journey too!!

    • Ken Hensley says:

      Please take a moment to join our convert social network (under the Connection page of the site). It’s just getting started but I’m hoping it will become a place where converts can really make connection with one another.

    • Kris Engelsen says:

      @ annette melendez – You are not alone on your journey! Please check out the Association of Hebrew Catholics (http://www.hebrewcatholic.net/). You’ll find many stories of other Jews finding Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, and His Church – quite remarkable.

  • Ianessa says:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks a lot of this article. It enlightened me how to understand the Protestant view of justification. I am praying that you continue your blog as I find it inspiring.

    I hope you are okay if I share this to Catholic Facebook pages.

  • Ianessa says:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks a lot for this article. It enlightened me how to understand the Protestant view of justification. I am praying that you continue your blog as I find it inspiring.

    I hope you are okay if I share this to Catholic Facebook pages.

  • Andy DG says:

    Hi ken
    I am a convert to the one holy Catholic and apostolic church.
    I have never looked back. I was Baptized and raised in Calvinism, then parents and siblings experienced a moment of Gods grace ( born again as they call it) and the church hopping began from baptist, to evengelical etc etc etc. It’s been a wild ride for me. I married a cradle Catholic. The seed was planted.
    It took 16 years and I thank God every day for bringing me home.
    God bless this site.

  • teo says:

    Ken, nice writing. As a life long Catholic I appreciate understanding Protestantism. Very helpful, and i learn more about our faith. Thanks

  • […] This post at a Catholic blog helped me to clarify what it is. The “Relationship not religion” (RNR) trope misunderstands, among other things, justification and obedience. Bottom line, the RNR position grows out of exaggerating the “faith not works” language of Paul. It reduces Christianity to “knowing a guy,” to put it a bit crassly. Need tickets to get into heaven? No problem, I know a guy…. […]

  • Momofmany says:

    This was well written. I love apologetics but am always lost in the salvation/justification/sanctification arguments. They’re over my head so quickly. Thanks and great website.

  • Summer Frost says:

    Well done, Ken. As a Tiber Swimmer from Campbellism (churches of Christ) one of the absolutley sublime and ironic experiences that happens now and then is to hear or read a passage of Scripture and suddenly understand it in the catholic sense. And realizing pieces don’t need to be trimmed and fudged to fit. Keep up the good work!

    Debbie, praying to the saints is not really all that foreign to you. You ask members of your Bible study group, or women’s group, etc., to pray for you now and then, don’t you? Surely, you’ve prayed for them, haven’t you? Why not ask a friend already in heaven to pray for you? They are happy to do so. One doesn’t ask, or expect that the saints will “conjure” a miracle for us. We expect that they will pray TO GOD WITH us. A congregation here will “storm heaven” for a member with Cancer, for instance. Why not ask the heavenly congregation to pray, too? We don’t go to them INSTEAD of God, we ask them to accompany us.

  • David K says:

    As a “cradle Catholic” who “fell into thieves” and became a Lutheran pastor – now reverted home to the Catholic faith – I have to tell you this description is spot on. It also has enabled me to articulate clearly WHY my professors were WRONG, as was the book and theological tenet of Lutheranism drilled into our head: the teaching of justification by faith is “the article by which the church stands or falls.” Of course it is (for the ‘church’ of the protestants), because you MUST interpret every text in scripture in its light, leading to the convoluted arguments you cited. If you allowed them to be understood honestly, rationally, and historically, as the Fathers of the Church did, then you could no longer accept the protestant distortions. That’s why I had to return to the Catholic Church, not become a CAtholic again, because, really, I always was Catholic.

  • Chris says:

    Reminds me of telemarketers. For a while I was beset by calls telling me, “You have been selected to receive a free….” Cruise, condo, whatever. After that statement, I’d interject, “Great! I’ll be looking forward to it.” And then I would hang up. You could hear the, “But, wait, no….” before the handset clicked on the cradle.

    Very similar to the “faith alone” idea. They try to convince us we have it all.* Except for that pesky asterisk, that we ought to be doing some stuff, though we don’t technically HAVE to, unless you want to be a member of this church, or go to this college, or……

    Faith -> Obedience -> Blessing. I think you’ve nailed it.

  • Dear Ken, What a wonderful testimony. I too went through the same process of realizing that there must be a reason why scripture has so many warnings about falling away or losing faith. How wonderful it is to be in the Church Christ established.

  • […] seem to fit the pattern I saw in Scripture of how God relates to his people. It forced me into “explaining” passage after passage in the New Testament that appeared clear enough on their own and wouldn’t require explaining at all if not for […]

  • J.Danabal says:

    As regards transubstantiation and understanding the Eucharist, I would say that, though one cannot fully understand The Eucharist we can defenitely experience Jesus, if we could spend sometime with Him at an adoration or at tabernacle. There is a simple point to understand about the transubstantiation, Christ is the Living bread , that means His body and blood is immortal, Ho took upon mortality on Himself for salvation of sinful humans, that could not extinguish His Immortality. (God The Father is not the Father of dead people , for Him all are alive , as said by our Lord. Here those patriarchs were not resurrected but they are living as saints in the form of soul in heaven. But Christ has resurrected and Living in the same body and blood which is now the glorified body). As His words are living words, His body , The Eucharist is a Living body because of His Words. Now His immortal body is given to us the catholics , mortal humans, to make us also immortal . Through this Immortal bread of life we the communicants get the immortal life in eternity.

  • Ivan Delgado says:

    I enjoyed reading “Imagine” by Mr. Hensley and am incessantly amazed by the rationality, beauty and simplicity of Catholic theology. You have taken a complicated issue and brought to the light of the Catholic tradition. I left the convoluted world of Protestantism long ago and have found nothing but solid spiritual peace on the Rock! Keep up you amazing and important work, it is much needed for us converts on the journey.

  • JeffK says:

    It’s logical we will not get a “diploma” just because we want it, and not after working for it. Who wouldn’t want that if they were fooled?
    Such a useless diploma would manifest itself by a culture of baseless entitlement and lack of cohesion, relativism. It would not self-perpetuate itself or progress, but regress, decline and collapse. We could tell by its fruits and action how such a society really works, or doesn’t work.
    That’s logical. And what is logic, but reason? Reason is not in conflict with faith. Reason is about “cause and effect.” Cause and effect is the basic for the science of Physics, the underpinnings of the universe, of Creation. God the Author of Creation would not do something so illogical as promise us salvation without cause. His Son was sent to remind us of that and to keep working on it. Told us to not lose faith, lest we lose creation we oversee, and the promise of paradise we worked for.

  • AnDrew Rahn says:

    Amen Amen Amen

  • AnDrew Rahn says:

    You in Christ are easy for me to follow on my dyslexic quay. The former and later become one in Christ. It is good ” to know on real flesh and blood presence” instead of walking away from the real presence in Christ. Which is where the the first protesters to the faith were found in John 6 , 66.

  • AnDrew Rahn says:

    My iPad corrected the word knaw to know. In my comment above.
    Have a blessed day Ken and family.

  • Jessica R says:

    Would love some further clarification about the comment made about Protestants believing all sins are forgiven when we are “saved.” I know they believe Christ literally took upon the sins of the world and they (us) were “crucified” with him. I ask because as someone questioning right now, this is my only hang up. Imputed righteousness got me to your blog because it did not sit well and I had been lead to the discussion by the Holy Spirit through a trail of events and I agree wholeheartedly that imputed righteousness is not legitimate. However, like I said, this matter of our sins being forgiven because they were crucified with Christ is one I can’t seem to shake. Primarily because of 1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Your clarification on this (beyond 1 John 2:1 from the post) would be much appreciated.

    • Ken Hensley says:

      Jessica. You actually are touching on the subject of the atonement rather than justification — although the two are intimately connected. I chose not to include a discussion of the atonement in this series because I knew I’d have to devote at least three posts to it to do the issue justice and I didn’t want to get so deeply in the weeds. But your question is important. Please hit the contact button and email me and I’ll get back to you.

  • Wilhelmina says:

    wat een leuke knutsels zeg. dat vogeltje is echt een plaatje. ik vind het potje een geweldig idee..die pik ik even hoor als je het niet erg vientrgdjs hannie

  • Marni says:

    Very valid, pithy, suntccci, and on point. WD.

  • Latrice says:

    Life is short, and this article saved vaublale time on this Earth.

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