I have a couple of questions for myself, and perhaps someone out there can help me with answering them.
I was reading a post by Daniel, when I came across a comment from brother Jenson that might cause a little storm in my brain’s teacup, whatever that might be. Brother Jenson wrote:
“I say this with good-will, but with Biblical separation, one has to do it carefully and graciously. Not all believers have reached a level of maturity to be able to handle criticisms and some will inevitably say ‘that is your interpretation!’ when you confront them with a topic as big as ‘Justification by Faith’.”
Of course, Jenson’s comment must be read within the context of Daniel’s post. At first reading, it seemed that I had a little difficulty understanding the second sentence of Jenson’s comment, especially when he “appeared” to have said that believers may not “have reached a level of maturity” to understand “a topic as big as ‘Justification by Faith.’” Having known Jenson better than this, I am sure this is not what he is trying to insinuate. But again, this post brought certain thoughts to mind.
When does a seeker becomes a true believer of biblical Christianity?
Perhaps I can better frame my thoughts in the form of another question:
Can one be considered a true believer if he believes in any one of the following, and yet refuses to change his mind about it (i.e. repent) at a particular point in time? Let me know what you think.
Using simple terminologies:
1. Salvation is not by faith alone.
2. Salvation is not in Christ alone.
3. Salvation is not by grace alone.
4. Jesus is fully God, but not man in any sense.
5. Jesus is fully Man, but not God in any sense.
6. Jesus is a kind of god, but he is not exactly like the Father in terms of Godhood.
7. Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead.
8. Jesus didn’t really die. He appeared to have died.
9. There is one God, but not three Persons.
10. God does not know everything in advance.
Theology of the Word
11. The Bible becomes the Word of God when a believer reads it. But this “Word” or “Truth” defers from believer to believer.
12. The Bible is not inerrant or infallible. In other words, the Bible contains errors here, there, and everywhere.
13. The Bible is not the inspired Word of God. Only the message is inspired.
14. Christ is not coming back.
15. Christ really came back, but only spiritually, invisibly.
16. Man is not fallen. He has the innate ability to perfectly keep the Law of God.
17. Man needs Jesus, but he also needs to help himself. God does not help a man who does not help himself. A man must exercise his ability to believe.
18. There is no such thing as original sin. Man is born sinless.
Kindly take note that some of the aforementioned doctrinal points are actually heresies.
Clarification: I am not saying that such a person is not saved. What I am saying is that, can such a person be considered a true believer, if he holds to any of the aforementioned doctrines. Of course, if such a person refuses to be taught, and persists in believing a heresy, he can truly be named a heretic (Titus 3:10).
Again, none of us know who is an elect and who isn’t. I was from a Romish church, and I did believe in salvation by works. This brings us back to the original question: If a person does not believe in “justification” by faith alone (like myself back then), can he really be considered to have understood the gospel? If not, then is he a true believer in biblical Christianity at that point in time? This is, of course, from Man’s point of view.