DIGITAL COMMUNION?

DIGITAL DISCIPLESHIP? – is it even possible…
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The Digital Church in the Age of Corona

The novel coronavirus pandemic has sparked a flood of creative uses of technology to maintain relationship while staying at home. Churches, even those that never would have considered having an online service, have been forced to adapt and experiment.

Broadcast elements are relatively easy to put online, while relational interactions are much harder. Communion, however, is a theological question.

Many churches that moved to a digital worship service during the first week of social distancing (March 15, 2020) only had time to create a broadcast-style service, but they are now beginning to think about interactive elements of worship and how to foster relational community. A few weeks ago, I posted a graphic that attempts to show that the elements of a service that are transactional or broadcast oriented are usually the easiest to move online, but the relational parts of church are often the most challenging—and most overlooked—elements of digital church.

I placed communion in the center and gave it a different color to acknowledge that it is often the most controversial elements of church online. Vicar Giles Fraser writes about the awkwardness of conducting his first Zoom-based eucharist, but among Christians, there are a variety of theological views and ways of practicing communion, and these in turn affect how various traditions approach the question of communion online.

This post attempts to sort through some of these debates and offer guidance on potential ways forward. I cannot be exhaustive, but I will do my best to give each argument a fair representation.

A Brief History of Online Church

Before addressing the issue of communion specifically, it’s worth remembering that this questions about online worship are not new. Digital religion scholar Tim Hutchings (cf TallSkinnyKiwi) documented online services as early as 1985 (Church of England), and an online response to the Challenger disaster by Presbyterians in 1986. In the mid 1990s, when the internet became public, many churches began creating websites, but they were mostly informative, not interactive. Some churches, however, began to experiment with interactive 3D worlds and services, leading some scholars began to think that religion would take radical new forms in the internet age.

My avatar, taking a selfie, during a service at VRChurch.org in which pastor DJ Soto argued that just as Paul used human creations like a ship to spread the gospel, he uses VR technology.

In the 2000s, two main forms of church online emerged. Some continued to use new technology to its full extent and create alternate 3D worlds in programs like Second Life. This continues today with things like DJ Soto’s VR Church which started in 2016, or churches in Roblox, Minecraft, and other virtual worlds.

The other, much more common model has been churches offering an online broadcast of the traditional elements of a service including music, announcements, and a sermon. Evangelical megachurches like Saddleback, Life.church, North Point, and others have also experimented with adding interactive elements alongside the main broadcast as well as weekly small groups. Online churches are also a major part of ministry into closed countries, functioning as a more interactive form of the radio broadcast ministries that began in the early twentieth century.

Some of these churches have offered communion as part of their online efforts. In 2013, Sarah Pulliam Bailey reported on various traditions were thinking about online communion, but there was not yet a consensus, and nothing like the coronavirus to urge a decision.

A Brief Theology of Communion

What Paul calls “The Lord’s Table” comes from the story in the synoptic gospels found in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, and Luke 22:19-20. Paul recalls the story and adds additional instructions in 1 Corinthians 10:14-22 and 11:17-34.

From these texts and church traditional, four main views of what happens during communion have emerged.

A Simplified Range of Theological Views on Communion
A Simplified Range of Theological Views on Communion
  • Transubstantiation – The Roman Catholic view is that the bread and wine objectively become the body and blood of Christ when the priest consecrates them. More technically, while the accidents (or appearance) remain that of bread, its essence becomes that of the body of Christ.
  • Consubstantiation – Luther felt that the Roman Catholic position meant that Christ had to die again at every Mass. So he argued that the essence of the bread does not change into the Son, but the essence of Christ comes in and around, co-existing with the elements.
  • Memorial – Reformers like Zwingli went much further, preferring to see the meal as more of a symbolic and not requiring any priestly consecration or the real presence of Christ. This is the view of most Baptist, free church, and nondenominational (Bible, community, etc.) churches today.
  • Spiritual Presence / Holy Mystery – After Zwingli, Calvin offered a mediating position, arguing that something spiritual happens in communion but that Christ’s presence is spiritual rather objective or actual. Similarly, Anglican and Methodist traditions argue for a real presence but prefer it to remain a “holy mystery.”

Beyond what happens to the elements, a second issue of importance is the role of ordained clergy in the ceremony. Many of the denominations above (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Methodist) require ordained clergy to consecrate the elements. Some also require ordained clergy to distribute the elements, though this varies by tradition.

Relatedly, churches that emphasize the real presence tend to have regular, weekly or even daily communion, while Memoralists churches offer communion less often, such as monthly, quarterly, or irregularly. Churches that emphasize the real presence also tend to perform communion in such a way that participants receive the elements directly from a clergyperson, whereas memorialists have a more self-service approach where the elements are passed on trays or where participants walk up to a table of prepared elements and take them at their own pace. In some cases, the concept of a shared meal is portrayed through the use of a common loaf of bread that participants pass around and take a piece from. Similarly, some traditions take wine from a shared chalice while others prepare individual servings of wine or grape juice.

Methods for Conducting Online Communion

Before the corona pandemic, it appears that the majority of churches that had online services did not have regular communion as part of their weekly worship. This was not because they opposed the practice, but because most of the churches with online services tended to be from Baptist or nondenominational evangelical backgrounds. These group tends to have a pragmatic, entrepreneurial orientation toward technology, so they are open to online communion, but because they have a memorial view of the sacraments and do not offer it regularly, online communion also tends to be infrequent or not offered at all.

Augmented reality communion
A much younger me, demonstrating augmented reality (2009)

There are some exceptions to this including several Anglican churches, which hold a consecrated real presence view of the elements, but whose bishops argue this consecration can happen remotely through technology. There are also Anglican churches that hold services in Virtual Reality (VR) and which offer regular communion in closed countries around the middle east.

Of the churches that have offered communion online over the last several decades, these are the most common models:

  • Self-Service: The early practices of communion online were often asynchronous where visitors either read or watched something as they took the elements they prepared. For example, Alpha Church’s instructions have been up in some form since 1998, and several churches are doing the same today such as the Cathedral in the UK (2020).
  • Live within Service: Contemporary expressions of online communion tend to be within a service where everyone watching takes the elements at the same time. For example, here are Life.church’s instruction (2010) and Saddleback’s instructions (2014), and several churches have followed this model during the corona virus pandemic.
  • Spiritual Communion: Some traditions that reject the idea of conducting communion online shift to the practice of spiritual communion, which involves a shared prayer, but not a shared meal. The Pope is currently offering spiritual communion (defined as “a uniting of oneself to the Sacrifice of the Mass through prayer, and can be made whether one is able to receive Communion or not”) via livestream and spiritual communion is also practiced within Anglican traditions.
  • Other Options: Some traditions hold separate Eucharistic services and some churches that do not require consecration encourage communion in small groups apart from the main service or churches. Today, popular pastors like Tony Suarez offer separate communion services on facebook.

Arguments For and Against Digital Communion

There are articles scattered around the internet arguing for and against online communion, but it’s important to note that most of these are pre-coronavirus. This situation may persuade some to change their views or to try something that they did not feel was necessary before. Below, I will summarize what I have found to be the key arguments for and against communion online.

For Communion Online

  • Memorialist Flexibility – Those with a Memorialist view of communion tend to be the most open to online communion. This is both because their orientation toward technology and methods is flexible and because they do not believe that the real or spiritual presence of Christ needs to be enacted through an ordained clergyperson consecrating the elements. Nondenominational and free-church traditions also tend to emphasize the importance of individual believers, and this is reflected in their communion practices which involve individuals taking their own elements from a tray or table. Since there is no interaction with a priest or others through a practice like a shared cup, both their theology and practice translates well online.
  • Real Presence over Time and Space – However, some of the first churches to advocate for communion online tended to emphasize the real presence of Christ. Although it is rare, there are Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist churches that offer self-service or in-service communion. Unlike memorialists who practice irregularly, real presence traditions believe that regularly partaking of the elements is so important that it must be moved online. Celine Yeung expands on this, arguing that the “16th-century reformation of the Eucharist was in fact a relocation of power,” and that it this is continuing in our present situation. (Cf. Clink Schekloth’s Lutheran perspective)
  • Digital is Physical, Too – In early science fiction like Neuromancer and The Matrix, the online world was portrayed as a separate place that we “jack into.” But religion scholars like Heidi Campbell have argued that online and offline aren’t two different, inseparable realms. Instead, people move fluidly between online and offline throughout the day, using calls, emails, and video chats intermixed with live meetings and other gatherings. These technologies certainly reshape our relationships and practices, but they don’t create an alternate reality or a place where God cannot be present. So, when worshippers are online at the same time, they are still physically located in time and space, not in a separate “virtual” world. The church, after all, is not a place or a building, but a people, who are always physical even when connected digitally.
  • “Presence” is Complex – Additionally, discussions of “presence” usually point out that physical presence is not the only kind of presence. Paul talks about being “absent from the body” while being “present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). Lutheran Deanna Thompson, connects this to virtual communion, arguing that, “it’s also possible to be virtually present to one another in profound, meaningful and real ways even when we’re physically distant.” Conversely, we have all experienced being physically present but emotionally or mentally “not there.” However, some draw a distinction between physically consuming elements while being connected online versus having one’s digital avatar consume digital elements in a virtual reality type service.
  • Mission and Outreach – One other argument focuses on reaching people who cannot attend a physical church, because they are sick or in or in countries where Christian worship is prohibited. In the case of the sick, the elements are brought to the person, and James Emery White argues that, “Today it’s just the internet “taking” it to them and they self-serve the elements.” Online church (and communion) are then validated through this missional need to go and make disciples. White, however, argues against online baptism, while other churches have experimented with online baptism (2008).

Against Communion Online

  • The Incarnation – The core argument against online communion is that central event in salvation history is the incarnation of Christ, the eternal Son of God made flesh. When Jesus says, “This is my body,” his words envision a physical ritual, not a digital one. Online communion, then, represents a kind of Gnosticism that, even if unintentional, denies the reality of Christ’s body and his fully human nature.
  • Uniqueness vs. Commodification – Related to the Incarnation is the idea that the Lord’s Table is the one Christian practice that cannot be commodified, packaged, and put online. Sermons and songs often draw on influences from popular culture, making them relevant in the moment but then forgotten. The meal, however, is uniquely significant in the life of the church. This argument holds more weight among churches with regular communion practice because not having it online means there is something to miss out on, while churches with an irregular practice might not notice its absence.
  • Physically-Proximate Consecration – For Roman Catholics, who believe that a priest must consecrate the eucharist in the presence of the taker for it to transubstantiate into the real body and blood of Christ, online communion is impossible. Instead, Roman Catholics who cannot attend Mass are granted absolution for a short time. In other real presence traditions, the issue of the clergy being nearby seems to be less problematic and consecration by distance is possible.
  • Physically-Proximate Practice – Many traditions believe that for communion to be a meal in any meaningful sense, the giver and all takers must be in the same room at the same time. One might also argue that the participants who partake should have some form of relationship for the commands in 1 Corinthians to make sense. For example, My colleague Michael Svigel argues that Paul’s command to “wait for one another” (1 Cor 11:33) assumes a physical gathering. For churches whose communion practices do not involve any pastoral or relational ritual, this argument may hold less weight.
  • Online Church is not Church – There is a larger debate, beyond the issue of communion, on whether church online is actually church at all, or should be considered normative. Almost everyone agrees that broadcast services and websites are helpful and important for the sick or in closed countries, but not everyone agrees if these ministries constitute a “real church” where the participants do not need anything else. Some ministries see their online presence as wholly sufficient ecclesiologically, while others emphasize the importance of finding a local body of fellow believers (even in dangerous areas like Iran). This continues to be a hot topic in several mission organizations and will likely continue with renewed interest during and after the present pandemic.
  • Validation of Longing – In his writings, Paul regularly expresses his longing to be with the churches he was writing (Rom 1:11; 5:13; 2 Cor 1:15; 1 Thess 2:17; 2 Tim 1:4). Similarly, John writes about his desire to be “face-to-face” (2 John 1:12), and the author of Hebrews reminds his readers not to give up meeting (Heb 10:25). Along with the Incarnation, these longings can be understood as further evidence that physical presence is an essential both for a gathering to be a true church and for the practice of communion. In addition, the sick and the persecuted often experience a similar longing and desire to be able and allowed to meet together, and arguing that that online church and communion are sufficient could be seen as diminishing these experiences and feelings.
  • Exceptions Should Not Be Normative – Another point of argument is that exceptional situations should not dictate theology or practice. That is, even if someone grants that it is theologically permissible to perform communion online in exceptional cases like closed countries, this does not mean that online church or online communion should become normative when and where there isn’t a clear limitation.
  • Community is the Real Issue – Others avoid the communion question and focus on reminding churches that doing church online needs to be about relational community rather than merely broadcast experiences. Here are two examples, one from my PhD advisor, Pete Phillips Community, community, community and one from Chris Smith called Churches Should Think Twice Before Webcasting Their Worship Service.

A Summary of Positions

From Least Open to Most Open

1. Full Theological and Practical Rejection

For some traditions, communion is simply not communion if it is not practiced according to the tradition. There is simply too much theological weight behind the embodied experience of sharing a meal in close proximity that prevent it from being moved it online. Communion, then, is the one unique practice of the church that cannot be commodified or fully digitized. To miss church is not just to miss a sermon or a song that can be listened to later, but it is to miss out on the grace of God present in the elements. This time of pandemic creates a painful loss, but it also makes Christian gathering an important expression of faith and hope.

Some within this category shift to spiritual communion in cases of sickness or the present pandemic.

2. Theological Acceptance, Situational Rejection

There are some who may be persuaded that online communion could be a valid practice (especially in closed countries), but that the current pandemic does not warrant practicing it online. If stay-at-home regulations remain in place for several months, then communion will need to be suspended for that length of time. This will create a longing to return to the practices when it is possible and make the experience all the richer. If conditions worse, however, they may reconsider. (One might also place the practice of spiritual communion here, although that practice does not involve consuming elements.)

3. Theological Acceptance, Temporary Embrace

Likewise, some churches may be persuaded that online communion is theologically acceptable in exceptional cases and that a pandemic is just such a situation, analogous to a closed country. In previous plagues, the Church did not have the technological means to celebrate the Table simultaneously online, and this is a unique and fresh expression of God’s grace. However, when the pandemic lifts, they will cease offering this as a regular practice, preferring to make the physically gathered body the unique place to participate in the elements.

4. Full Theological and Practical Acceptance

Finally, there are those who have already accepted communion online, either in a self-service form or through a simultaneous worship experience. These include memorialists who have little objection to symbolizing Christ’s death online together and those who believe the mystery of Christ’s presence in communion is not limited by technology, time, or space. Some churches who are moving online in this season may adopt an online practice that they continue, while others might not want to continue with any online practices in the future.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope and pray this relatively long, but still over-simplified summary of the question offers a helpful starting place for such an important discussion. As one who comes from the American evangelical tradition which has not historically placed much weight on communion, I sincerely hope that the pandemic is an opportunity for us to think more carefully about our sacramental theology. Vicar Giles Fraser

For Christians from any tradition, I hope we can ask questions like: Why do we take communion the way we do? What does it really mean and why? What do the practices and frequency we have chosen mean and communicate? In what sense are we participating in a shared meal if are individually taking prepared pieces? What do we, the church, offer our people and the world that cannot be easily moved online?

Finally, if your church is considering these issues, I do not think there is any need to rush to make a decision, nor does any decision have to be permanent. But if you have made a decision and are modifying your practices for the pandemic, please share your experiences and any other resources in the comments below.

56 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply April 4, 2020

    Troy Day

    dont know how it will happen – hard to tell 🙂 hey Lyndsey Dunn you like this symbolic stuff How would yall do it?

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 4, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      Troy Day until we see God face to face and Jesus is physically present we will have to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit and physical representations of spiritual matters. Their is nothing in scripture that seems to put a limit on the power of the Holy Spirit of God, not even technology. You can pray for people over the phone, stretch your hands toward a tv screen, and receive counsel and prayer thru typing during a live stream. No scripture seems to point to a limitation in the way communion was presented in the New Testament except for that of matters of the heart. If people start partying on zoom instead of communing with God and the body then we have a problem. My advice is don’t let any sickness or regulation hamper the body of Christ from communing with God and each other. In fact the church will be closer and stronger than ever through this all. Such are the examples of hardship to the church found in the epistles.

    • Troy Day
      Reply April 4, 2020

      Troy Day

      Lyndsey Dunn this is great theoretix – and not so great theology; about the issue @ hand How would you church serve the Holy Communion over the internet?

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 4, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      Troy Day logic works some times 😆 a biblical worldview must leave the details at times to do real life. In this case the letter of the law becomes the theory and those walking it out become the real theologians. As to the question, take communion the same way we do at church, together. Why would we change it? Technology can bring us together in ways not possible in biblical times. To shun this is to shun opportunity for some form of togetherness during a unique and historical time of isolation for the world. Each tradition should be creative in honoring their practice as closely as possible. Application of the principals of the word become highly important during situations such as this more so than trying to copy cultural practice verbatim according to etymological deconstructions of specific letters written to specific circumstances in another historical context. God wants our hearts more than our brains. May this worldwide tragedy wake up the church ⛪️ and bring authenticity to our worship.

    • Troy Day
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Troy Day

      Lyndsey Dunn I am already getting a bad taste about this whole digital communion No punt intended

  • Troy Day
    Reply April 4, 2020

    Troy Day

    John Wesley Osborn Ive read the whole thing and asked questions The only thing Lyndsey Dunn was telling me was symbolic

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      Troy Day communion is physically symbolic just as is baptism. We participate in a physical act that represents something very real that is happening in our spirits.

    • Troy Day
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Troy Day

      Lyndsey Dunn physically symbolic sounds like the positional oxymoron RichardAnna Boyce likes to quote

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      Troy Day please do not associate me with that heresy 🤣. On the main point whoe can anyone deny the physical symbolism in any of the sacraments? Without it they become useless tradition void of any spiritual significance.

    • Troy Day
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Troy Day

      Lyndsey Dunn yours is positional communion 🙂

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      Troy Day Positional communion is tied to those who lack the doctrine of holiness and faith in action. (hyper-grace!) Positional righteousness without walking out faith in repentance. Positional Sanctification with no Pregressional Sanctification. No thanks! BTW instigation and entanglement is not productive theological discourse. Some tangle some untangle. If the knot still remains, is it not in vain?

    • Troy Day
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Troy Day

      Positional communion has not partaking in it If you would like me to address your passive aggressive instigation and entanglement I’d say that JESUS never intended for Communion to be done digitally over the web

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 5, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Troy Day Lyndsey Dunn, I have always taken communion as my meals with family, three times a day. My food represents Jesus’ body that died for my sicknesses to be healed. My drink represents Jesus’ blood that paid the penalty for past present and future sins, the moment I was born again. I take communion in a WORTHY manner by focusing on the worthiness of Jesus, not my worthiness. Communion is taught in Corinthians, as it should be celebrated in unity with other believers under one BODY, not divisiveness practiced in Corinthians 3. I therefore ignore comments by brothers in this group about oxymoron and heretics 🙂

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce hyper grace/free grace doctrine =heresy

    • Troy Day
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Troy Day

      Lyndsey Dunn digital com. in its finest 🙂

  • Troy Day
    Reply April 5, 2020

    Troy Day

    how was it Lyndsey Dunn did it leave you with a bad taste

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 5, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Lyndsey Dunn, please give theological answers why FREE GRACE THEOLOGY is heritical.
    1. Free Grace teaches that the grace of salvation is absolutely free, since the word grace (Greek charis) essentially means a free and undeserved gift.
    That does not mean it is free to the giver, God, but it means that no payment or merit is required from those to whom it is offered, which would be all unsaved and undeserving sinners. Romans 3: 24 distinguishes between the free gift to the recipient and the cost to the Giver: “having been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce salvation by grace alone only is not orthodox teaching. Faith is essential and key. Acts 20:21 shows faith and repentance as essential to salvation and does not even mention grace. Faith is the key to receiving the “free” gift of grace. It’s the free gift that will cost you everything. Secondly, repentance is not simply a change of ones thinking by mental ascension for salvation. The act of repentance is real and puts sin to death as demonstrated in the physical act of believers being baptized for centuries. Also, to justify one in their sin is heresy, repentance is the gospel. We are justified by faith, faith is action and we are justified and empowered to overcome sin and live in actual righteousness not just mystical positional righteousness. These are foundational orthodox teachings of the apostles and of the overwhelming majority of all Christian thought and practice. Free grace theology is only achievable through deconstructions of original language in order to redefine the scriptures to fit the preconceptions, eisegesis not exegesis. The biggest proponents of hyper-grace theologies are those who seek to live in their sin or can’t seem to deal with their past sin. Jesus preached tru repentance , or a one time magical spell that we say and once we do we are always saved. If you want to be a Christian you must believe, put your old self to death, repent, turn around, take up your cross, be holy, put on the righteousness of Christ, allow him to reign over your life in every area, everyday!

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 5, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn agreed justification/eternal security is by grace only, through faith only, in Christ only. We may disagree on the definition of “only”. Acts 20:21 is explained by Luke 24:47
      After establishing the basis for their mission—His death and resurrection—Jesus describes their task in terms that will reflect their post-Pentecost experience. The Acts narrative shows that in general terms the nation Israel needed to repent of their rejection of Jesus, their Messiah—“beginning at Jerusalem,” the very place that should have welcomed Him. Gentiles—who lacked the prophetic preparation for Messiah’s ministry—needed to turn their back on idolatry and polytheism. Belief in Jesus represents the only condition for receiving eternal life (cf. John 3:16-18; 5:24-25; 11:25-27). Nevertheless why would the Jewish nation believe in Jesus for eternal life when they had rejected Him as a blasphemous criminal? Thus in regard to Israel the task for the witnesses involved providing the proper context in which belief in Jesus could happen—one where the nation could see that the OT picture of the Messiah perfectly matched Jesus of Nazareth. Similarly in the polytheistic and idolatrous Gentile mission field, faith in Jesus would involve providing the proper sphere for their belief—one in which the living God does not coexist conceptually with man-made idols (cf. Acts 14:11-18).

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce We disagree on much more. 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn you are now Pentecostal Theology’s imaginary objector 🙂 James 2:18-19 James does not expect such words to go unchallenged. Even in Christians, the impulse to excuse or cover our failures is strong. So James anticipates his readers’ excuse by introducing the words of an imaginary objector. Such alleged objectors were a common stock-in-trade for writers on morals in James’s day, and here he employs this well-known literary foil. The entirety of vv 18-19 belong to this hypothetical speaker.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      James 2:18-:20 But someone will say: “You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith from [ek] your works, and I will show you, from [ek] my works, my faith. You believe that there is one God; you do well. The demons also believe, and tremble” (vv 18-19, author’s translation).

      The argument which these words express appears to be a reductio ad absurdum (reducing someone’s claims to absurdity). It is heavy with irony. “It is absurd,” says the objector, “to see a close connection between faith and works. For the sake of argument, let’s say you have faith and I have works. Let’s start there. You can no more start with what you believe and show it to me in your works, than I can start with my works and demonstrate what it is that I believe.” The objector is confident that both tasks are impossible. The impossibility of showing one’s faith from one’s works is now demonstrated (so the objector thinks) by this illustration: “Men and demons both believe the same truth (that there is one God), but their faith does not produce the same response. Although this article of faith may move a human being to ‘do well,’ it never moves the demons to ‘do well.’ All they can do is tremble. Faith and works, therefore, have no built-in connection at all. The same creed may produce entirely different kinds of conduct. Faith cannot be made visible in works!” With this supposedly unanswerable claim, the objector rests his case.

      No doubt James and his readers had heard this argument before. It was precisely the kind of defensive approach people might take when their orthodoxy was not supported by good deeds. They might say, “Faith and works are not really related to each other in the way you say they are, James. So don’t criticize the vitality of my faith because I don’t do such and such a thing.”

      2:20. James’s reply to the objector’s words may be paraphrased this way: “What a senseless argument! How foolish you are to make it! I still say that without works your faith is dead. Would you like to know why?” Verses 21-23 are James’s direct rebuttal of the objection. This is made clear in the Greek text by the singular form of “do you see” (blepeis) in v 22. This shows he is addressing the objector. Only with the “you see” (horate) of v 24 does James return to the plural and to his readers as a whole.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      James 2:24. Leaving the imagined objector behind, James returns in vv 24-26 to address his readers directly. (See comment on v James 2:20.) His statement here confirms what is noted above (v 21), that there are two kinds of justification, not one kind conditioned on faith plus works. James’s words should be read like this: You see then that a man is justified by works, and not [only justified] by faith. The key to this understanding is the Greek adverb “only” (monon), which does not qualify (i.e., modify) the word faith, since the form would then have been
      monœs. As an adverb, however, it modifies the verb justified implied in the second clause. James is saying that a by-faith justification is not the only kind of justification there is. There is also a by-works justification. The former type is before God, the latter type is before men (IMMATURE BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS) so as not to be a stumbling block to them..

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce faith is the evidence…

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn exactly, faith alone in Christ alone, not faith plus ….

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce faith includes repentance. Not only the FGT glorified “change of mind” encouraging sinners to remain the same with the unconditional “once saved always saved.” These ideals are certainly not rooted in Pentecostal thought and are not scriptural. “True repentance leads a person to say, “I have sinned” and prove it with a 180-degree change of their direction.
      Repentance requires true brokenness.
      Repentance is NOT asking the Lord for forgiveness with the intent to sin again.
      Repentance is an honest, regretful acknowledgement of sin with commitment to change.
      Repentance leads us to cultivate godliness while eradicating habits that lead into sin.”(biblestudytools.com)

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn AMEN for BELIEVERS. But we are discussing UNBELIEVERS and John Gospel is only book written specifically to unbelievers that they might believe; and mentions BELIEVE 100 times but repentance NIL. For FGT repentance is COMPULSORY for BELIEVERS to earn rewards in the Millennium and a more blessed Believer’s life now.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce Study the verses below. Note how often the concept of repentance is presented in the verses below. Note the context of these verses, that they are not presented as an admonition to the church, but in the contexts of conversion and presenting the gospel. Contrary to “free grace” teaching, it should appear obvious that Scripture presents repentance as part of the gospel message.

      Matthew 3:2–and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
      Mark 1:14,15–“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
      Mark 1:4–“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
      Luke 5:32–“”I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
      Luke 13:3–“I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
      Luke 15:7–“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” —P. Simpson

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Matthew 3:1-2 The message of the King’s ambassador, John the Baptist, is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

      Repentance and its relationship to eternal life is viewed in two different ways. One view is that repentance is a change of mind concerning someone or something and is often used synonymously with faith. When it is synonymous with faith, it is a condition of eternal life. If that is what John the Baptist is talking about here, then he is calling the nation to faith in her Messiah.

      Another view is that repentance is a decision to turn from one’s sin and get right with God. In this view it is never stated as a condition of eternal life. Repentance is not found in the only evangelistic book in the Bible, John’s Gospel, nor is it found in Paul’s defense of the gospel in the Book of Galatians. If that is what John the Baptist was preaching, then he was calling the nation to turn from her sins in preparation for the coming kingdom. As Mark 1:15 shows, the Messiah Himself called the nation to both belief in the gospel and repentance.

      Either way, it is clear that John the Baptist was calling for a repentance that was to be accompanied by a change of conduct (Luke 3:10-14).

      John is not saying that this change of conduct is necessary for receiving eternal life. Eternal life is a free gift (Rom 6:23; Eph 2:8-9). For an individual Jew to receive eternal life, all that was required was simple faith in the promise of God to grant eternal life through faith in His Messiah. First and foremost, John the Baptist asks those who hear his message to believe in Christ Jesus (John 1:7; Acts 19:4).

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Mark 1:14-15The command to “repent and believe in the gospel” can be understood in three ways.

      First, it might be a command to turn from one’s sins and believe the saving message in order to have eternal life. However, the gospel here is the gospel (good news) that the kingdom of God has drawn near (v 14).

      Second, repentance might be understood as a synonym of faith. To change one’s mind about Christ is to believe in Him. Therefore in this change-of-mind view Jesus is saying, “Change your mind, that is, believe the gospel.” However, the gospel of the kingdom of God is not the message of John 3:16 or Eph 2:8-9. And in order for the kingdom to come for Israel, national repentance had to occur. Repentance, while always having a change of mind aspect to it, concerns a decision to turn from one’s sins (cf. Mark 1:3-5).

      Third, and Biblical in context, is the view that Jesus, like His forerunner (cf. Mark 1:4-5), is calling the NATION to turn from their sins in PREPARATION to believe the good news that He is the Messiah who is offering that generation the long-awaited kingdom; not as a condition of the nation’s repentance for individual belief.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce Note Luke 24:47–“and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” This is a “Great Commission” passage; if repentance was not part of the gospel message, then Christ would not have commanded us to preach it here. Since faith is not mentioned here and elsewhere {but repentance is}, and repentance is not mentioned in other passages such as John 3:16, repentance and faith must be mutually implied within one another; that is, the faith that saves is a repentant faith. (P. Simpson)

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce The interdependence of faith and repentance can be readily seen when we remember that faith is faith in Christ for salvation from sin. But if faith is directed to salvation from sin, there must be hatred of sin and the desire to be saved from it. Such hatred of sin involves repentance which essentially consists in turning from sin unto God. Again, if we remember that repentance is turning from sin unto God, the turning to God implies faith in the mercy of God as revealed in Christ. It is impossible to disentangle faith and repentance. Saving faith is permeated with repentance and repentance is permeated with faith.
      (John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p.
      113)

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce
      Acts 2:38–Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
      Acts 3:19–“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord”
      Acts 17:30–“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent”
      Acts 20:21–“testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
      Acts 26:17, 18–delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
      Romans 2:4–Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
      Hebrews 6:1–Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
      2 Peter 3:9–The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Luke is also preaching temporary judgement (AD70) not eternal judgement for Jews, and is preparing them to believe, by repenting as a nation first eg Luke 15:7. The very sinners these religious leaders complained about had availed themselves of companionship with Jesus and listened to Him (cf. 13:24-25). Repentance did not eternally save them. Nevertheless, it placed these sinners in the sphere of Jesus’ presence and teaching where they could in fact come to believe in Him. In contrast, the Pharisees and tax collectors did not endeavor to enter the narrow gate. They had not responded to God’s seeking of them (via the message and ministry of John and Jesus). Rather, they counted upon their Abrahamic descendancy and legalistic righteousness (cf. 3:7-18). Their superior and self-righteous attitude towards their countrymen betrayed their own status as neither just nor repentant. The fact that Jesus knew about the heavenly responses to earthly events should also have drawn their attention to His Person and message.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce It is the publican beating on his breast and saying, “Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13). It is the prodigal saying, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against You” (Luke 15:18). A man who responds to the gospel is not just intellectually convinced, but “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37).

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce FGT overworks the details and avoids the obvious messages of scripture. The Greek and contextual studies completely ignore the original meaning and see only with FGT blinders preconditions and preconceptions. Look at the text of the parables the prodigal sin the continual call to repentance throughout the gospels. Even a non educated reader of the text can here the message of faith and
      Repay everyone and the call to live a righteousness life in effort to follow Jesus.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Luke 24:47 is the great commission to the Jewish apostles to evangelise Jews in every nation, and is finalised with Jesus’ last words in Acts 1:6-9

      1:6. On the occasion of His ascension (see v. 9), when they had come together the Eleven inquired, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” Their question both affirms and summarizes the essential teaching on the kingdom: The Lord Jesus would in the future establish an earthly kingdom centered in Israel.

      1:7. God the Father—in His administrative function as the Planner in the Triune God—sets the times and seasons for the future establishment of the kingdom in Israel. Both lay under God’s sovereign control.

      1:8. Jesus promised that their power would come from “the Holy Spirit”—the third Person in the holy Trinity. He would enable them to serve as witnesses. Narratively “the end of the earth” is considered as Rome in the literary plan of the book. From Rome one could reach all the known nations of the time. There are Jews in every nation on earth, who must be reached now and most importantly during the Tribulation after the Rapture.

      1:9. The departure of the Lord took place once He had fully prepared His disciples for both His physical absence and their future ministry.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Acts 2:37-38
      The apostle Peter presented a case for Jesus as Messiah from the OT that they could both follow and correlate with contemporary events and past Jewish history. By the time Peter had clarified the truth of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension and they had correlated it with the events at Pentecost (cf. vv 29-35), everything fell into place. They unequivocally identified Jesus as the Messiah—and so BELIEVED in Him (RELATIONSHIP). NOW AS BELIEVERS they wanted to know what to do to reestablish FELLOWSHIP with Him.

      2:38. Repentance provided the answer to their dilemma. They needed to reestablish their FELLOWSHIP with the Messiah they had just believed in. Peter does not here require additional conditions for eternal life. Belief in Jesus counts as the singular condition for guaranteed eternal life in both the OT and the NT.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Mathew Mark Luke are written to prepare Jews to believe, and there fore teach repentance as preparation for Jews. But John, written to unbelievers (Gentiles today) never mentions repentance; but believe 100 times.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce FGT is notorious for counting the Synoptics as OT and irrelevant to believers. This is heretical and unorthodox teaching. To make the contextual assumptions in your last post is to limit Jesus’s knowledge and action as undefined and unknowing of future gospel movement, as well as tiring Jesus to the same understanding as the disciples in relation to their time. Jesus was not so restricted. The gospels are for us today. The Lord’s Prayer, the beatitudes and all the sayings of Jesus are also for the believer, and have therefor been canonized and followed as such for all of Christendom.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce
      It has been argued that John does not use the word “repent” in his gospel, and never uses the term to apply to unbelievers. This is said to be significant because John’s gospel is the only gospel which states explicitly that it was written so that the reader may believe and have eternal life (John 20:31). However, the gospel message is not presented in John’s gospel only (it was in Luke 19:10 that Jesus said that the reason He had come was “to seek and save that which was lost”); besides, if we hold to the inerrancy of the Scriptures, we hold that what John teaches cannot contradict the other gospels. Further, it is clear that John described the concept of repentance in his gospel. For example, see how in John 8 Jesus confronts the Pharisees with their sins, such as lying and failing to love Him. He also confronts the Samaritan woman with immorality in John 4. It is also clear that John did use the term “repentance” in relation to non-Christians

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn Acts 10:43-45
      Peter arrives at the conclusion of his discourse and his invitation to believe in Jesus Christ. Peter clearly attributes “remission of sins” to belief in Jesus only—for anyone who believes His promise.

      Peter’s audience equated the remission of sins with once-for-all salvation. The angel had told Cornelius that Peter would tell him words by which he and his household would be saved (11:14). Thus they knew Peter spoke about salvation.

      Positional forgiveness (cf. Col 2:13) is forgiveness of all sins. Fellowship forgiveness (cf. 1 John 1:7-9) is forgiveness of past sins only. Whereas Palestinian Jews did not start the new life with fellowship forgiveness (Acts 2:38; 22:16), Gentiles did. They began the Christian life in fellowship with God.

      10:44. Luke does not explicitly say that they believed (though see 11:14-17). Rather, he skillfully lets the reader know that belief occurred through the dramatic report of the work of the Holy Spirit (cf. 2:37; 3:19; 8:36).

      10:45. Luke reports the amazement of those of the circumcision (the Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter) because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. Luke’s description underscores the fact that Gentiles did not need anything beyond faith in Jesus in order to receive God’s gift of the Spirit.

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 5, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    2. Free Grace means that the grace of salvation can be received only through faith. Since we as sinners can do nothing to earn God’s grace, it has to be given as a gift. By faith (or believing, which is from the same Greek word), we mean the human response of accepting something as true and trustworthy. It is a conviction, an inner persuasion. This definition precludes any other conditions of works, performance, or merit (Rom. 4: 4-5). Faith cannot be defined by obedience to Christian commands, baptism, surrender, commitment of one’s life to God, or turning from sins. These things can and should be the results of faith, but they are distinct from faith itself, otherwise grace ceases to be grace (Rom. 11: 6). Ephesians 2: 8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, not by works . . .” Faith is a simple response, but that does not mean that it is an easy one. Many who hold to Free Grace believe that repentance, as a change of mind or heart about unbelief, can sometimes be used to describe the aspect of faith in which we come to a conviction or persuasion about something (ie to believe). Free Grace proponents do not think repentance (as turning from sins) has any role in salvation or saving faith.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 5, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce turning from sin is key to repentance. Mental ascension is not salvation, or else Satan would be saved. Faith is only faith when it is action, otherwise it is dead. That action must be to follow Jesus and look and act like him, a new creation, born again. We also believe in Holy Spirit baptism as Pentecostals. Free Grace thought does not even allow for this experience. One can not receive every blessing of God instantly through a manic spell and mental ascension and still need an experience afterward with the In dwelling and baptism of the Spirit.

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 5, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      Lyndsey Dunn faith without works is dead, is written to believers, to show their good works, so as not to be stumbling blocks for immature believers, or unbelievers, But ‘faith works’ or other experiences are never necessary to show God our faith is real, and can never improve or validate our faith; as we are saved through faith ONLY in CHRIST ONLY. 2 Corinthians 5:21
      21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.,, . Romans 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

    • Lyndsey Dunn
      Reply April 6, 2020

      Lyndsey Dunn

      RichardAnna Boyce “Examining the FGT interpretation of 11 “problem passages,” Grudem concludes that FGT advocates simply “have no idea how strained, how idiosyncratic . . . and how completely unpersuasive and foreign to the New Testament these interpretations sound,” both to laypersons and scholars outside the FGT camp (117–118). He suggests this is why almost all FGT books are published by their own organizations rather than by recognized evangelical academic publishers (135 n. 27). When a theology forces people to suggest that one can “receive” eternal life without “possessing” it, be “in” the kingdom without “inheriting” it, and enter the heavenly city without entering “by the gates” (134), it’s hard not to think something’s amiss.” —Dillehay -of Grudems FGT Five Ways it Diminishes the Gospel

    • RichardAnna Boyce
      Reply April 6, 2020

      RichardAnna Boyce

      FGT is not Reformed as Grudem is; but i am happy to discuss individual problem passages you have brother.

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 5, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    3. Free Grace believes the object of faith is the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith must always have an object, because faith itself is not the effective cause of our salvation (We are saved “by grace”), but the instrumental means through which we are saved (“ through faith”). The One who actually saves us is the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is not any Jesus, it is Jesus as the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again and guarantees eternal salvation to all who believe in Him.

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 6, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Lyndsey Dunn Repentance followed believing for the Gentiles. Acts 11:18. Peter’s orderly and reasoned explanation persuaded the Jewish believers so that they became silent. They had no further argument. Persuasion led to praise and they glorified God in recognition that He had “also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

    The bestowal of the Holy Spirit on the Gentiles furnishes the key to the phrase “repentance unto life”. The narrative complements Peter’s message to the Jewish worshipers at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2). On that occasion his Jewish audience required repentance and water baptism as conditions for both the reception of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins—national reconciliation and personal restoration to fellowship with God. These requirements related to fellowship with God rather than to the reception of eternal life—a gift conditioned only on belief in Jesus as Savior.

    Repentance unto life here references a post-belief experience related to the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on, and dwelling in, believing Gentiles. Zealous Jewish believers would know about OT Gentiles who believed in Messiah and received justification from God (Rahab, Ruth, and others). Most importantly, they would have primarily associated repentance with the nation of Israel’s experience of fellowship with God.

    These Gentiles had entered the sphere of true life and blessing immediately after they placed simple faith in Jesus—rather than either through the experience of a proselyte (i.e., converting to Judaism) or the conditions placed on the wicked generation nationally charged with the crucifixion of the Messiah (repentance and baptism). They now had the privilege of enjoying enablement for the Christian life and its attendant blessings through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 6, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Lyndsey Dunn Luke 19:9-10 relates to Jews.
    John the Baptist minimizes the claim to descendancy from Abraham when not accompanied by repentance. Zacchaeus’ belief in Jesus and his subsequent repentance rendered him a true Jew and Israelite in every sense of the word (cf. Rom 2:17-29; 9:6-8).

    19:10. The narrative now reveals why Jesus had to stay at Zacchaeus’ home (cf. v 5). Jesus’ stay conformed to and expressed His compassionate mission. Jesus’ mission clashed with the exclusivistic way and self-righteous disposition of the religious leaders who did not care for the lost (cf. Luke 15). The encounters with the blind man and Zacchaeus—both outcasts—reveal Jesus’ compassion as well as how ISRAEL should have responded to their Messiah.

  • Lyndsey Dunn
    Reply April 6, 2020

    Lyndsey Dunn

    RichardAnna Boyce there is. Ot one scripture that says all of our future sins are forgiven. 1John was literally written to believers to refute False doctrine very similar the free grace theology. The Gnostics fought false doctrine very similar to FGT. 1 Jn explicitly says who he is writing to. The message of forgiveness in no way alludes to covering future sins. 1Jn1:9 and the narrative of all scripture teach for us to have repentant hearts. Again, not one scripture says your future sins are forgiven. Repentance is a virtue of the disciple, there is. In evidence of “once
    Saved always saved”. This is a popular baptist, Calvinistic teaching, and certainly has no place in Pentecostal Doctrine.

  • Lyndsey Dunn
    Reply April 6, 2020

    Lyndsey Dunn

    RichardAnna Boyce FGT is a dangerous heresy and I’m glad you have allowed me to brush up on my apologetics. I feel sharpened and equipped to defend the true gospel of repentance and making disciples ( disciples- people who actually follow Jesus, like for real, not the pretend, positional only, pretentious sort)

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 6, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Lyndsey Dunn John 8 confronts Jews in preparation to believe. John 4:16-22 Jesus prophesying about her sins does not produce repentance, but is used to prove to her that Jesus is a prophet, which is necessary for Samaritans to believe. None of her city repented before they too believed. The woman believes that the Messiah, when He comes, will reveal all things (vv 25,29). He knows what she believes about the Messiah, and since He knows her past (and her future), He reveals His knowledge of her to make her begin to wonder if He might be the Messiah. The command to “Go call your husband, and come here” would be innocuous with other people. But with this woman it moves the conversation toward His identity. His purpose in doing this is not likely to point out her sinfulness. This woman was already acutely aware of her sinfulness.

    4:19-20. “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” So she raises a spiritual concern on where one should worship God.

    4:21. The imperative, “Believe Me,” may well call for more than acceptance of what Jesus says about worship. It is also a call to accept His claim that “salvation [everlasting life, v 14] is of the Jews” (v 22) and that He is the Messiah (v 26).

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 6, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    Lyndsey Dunn i totally agree that repentance is compulsory for believers to become disciples; and 1 John 1:9 enables believers to grow in discipleship.

    Confession of sin enables believers to remain in fellowship. First John 1:9 is not meant for the unsaved. Nowhere in the Johannine literature is confession of sin given as a condition for obtaining eternal life. Faith is the only condition for salvation (cf. John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47; 1 John 5:1,12,13).

  • RichardAnna Boyce
    Reply April 6, 2020

    RichardAnna Boyce

    John 4:raises interesting questions on eternal life being dependant on a believer persevering in their faith? Verses 13-15 negate the idea that faith must be continuous in order to be “true saving faith.” Drinking symbolizing believing (cf. 6:35). One drink, that is, one act of believing in Jesus, results in eternal life. Jesus specifically denies that one must keep on drinking in order to gain life.

    The living water is the saving message which once received (once drunk) springs up into everlasting life. As Jesus makes clear in the following verses, the living water is the truth that Jesus is the Messiah who guarantees everlasting life to all who believe in Him. Believing in Jesus results in eternal life taking up residence in the recipient so that he or she actually has an eternal living water fountain within.

  • Troy Day
    Reply April 6, 2020

    Troy Day

    Peter Vandever didnt work as expected-left a bad taste

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