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Saved by ‘Allegiance’ Alone? On a New Attempt to Revise the Reformation
Matthew Bates, a gifted young scholar who teaches at Quincy University, thinks that an adjustment would be salutary, suggesting we revise “faith alone” and reformulate with the slogan “allegiance alone.” As those who believe in Scripture alone, we should be open to reforming and sharpening what we have held in the past, and Bates challenges us to look at the Bible anew.
Allegiance and the Gospel
In this new book, Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King, Bates considers afresh the nature of salvation and the gospel. He argues “faith” and “belief” aren’t always the best terms to translate pistis and pisteuō in the New Testament. Instead, with regard to salvation it would be better to speak of allegiance to Jesus as King, so that faith has the idea of fidelity. The advantage of allegiance is that it includes the idea that good works are necessary for final salvation. Bates rightly maintains that faith can’t be defined as mere intellectual assent, a leap in the dark, or wishful thinking.
The notion that faith is best rendered by “allegiance” is supported, according to Bates, by a look at evidence in Second Temple Jewish literature. He then argues for this meaning in key Pauline texts, saying that the notions of mental assent, “professed fealty,” and “embodied loyalty” better account for what is meant by salvation or justification through pistis. Hence Paul teaches “embodied allegiance” to Jesus as King. Bates prefers “allegiance” to “trust” since he thinks the latter doesn’t sufficiently capture loyalty to Jesus as the enthroned King. According to Bates, we’ll be judged on the last day on whether we were genuinely loyal to Jesus, not whether we kept an itemized list of commands.
As Bates argues, the gospel can’t be reduced to the formula “Jesus died for our sins,” since the gospel centers on the truth that Jesus is King. He’s the resurrected and enthroned Lord over all, and we’re called to express our allegiance to him as our Lord. According to Bates, there are eight elements to the gospel:
- Jesus pre-existed with the Father;
- He became incarnate and fulfilled the promise to David;
- He died for our sins according to the Scriptures;
- He was buried;
- He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures;
- He appeared to many, showing he was raised from the dead;
- He is seated at God’s right hand as Lord; and
- He will come again as judge.
Bates particularly stresses that Jesus is enthroned as King and Messiah over all the world.
Salvation as a Gift and the New Creation
Bates emphasizes we can’t earn salvation; it’s a gift of God. At the same time, however, he rejects individual election and contends corporate election more accurately captures the biblical witness. In any case, grace is effective and transforms our lives. Though Protestants often say our works are the necessary evidence and fruit of our faith, it’s better, Bates says, to speak of allegiance to Jesus as the enthroned and reigning King, and thus works are “integral to final salvation” (110).
Bates takes issue with the notion that Christians simply go to heaven after death. The New Testament picture has more vigor and strength than this popular conception of heaven. Believers are raised from the dead and live as citizens in the new creation. We’re awaiting a transformed universe and look forward to ruling with King Jesus to fulfill the purpose for which God originally created human beings. We will not be ethereal creatures floating on clouds, but persons with transformed and immortal bodies residing in a new universe.
Kyle Williams Duane L Burgess As I have said many times, Calvinism is false doctrine that has become a cult behind false teachers like Piper and MacArthur…!
Troy Day yeah, but you’ve not said anything of substance besides that
Kyle Williams thats plenty to say
Troy Day and pentecostalism is a false doctrine that started with an unqualified pastor that quickly devolved into heterodoxy and today has become a cult behind men such as Benny Hinn and Bill Johnson….
Is that a fair assessment of Pentecostalism?
Kyle Williams Benny Hinn and Bill Johnson are charismatic
appears you know about Pentecostalism
about as much as Calvinism
but I do not the counter attack when you are out of ammo
SO characteristic for all calvinator forums I’ve read before
Troy Day I said that to say; of course it’s not a fair assessment of pentecostalism. Neither is your pejorative labeling of Calvinism as a cult. As far as the distinction between Charismatics and pentecostals; I deny that its legitimate. Pentecostals are supposedly distinct from Charismatics, however they claim and defend word of Faith heretics (Hinn, Johnson, Branham) when it suits the agenda at hand.
Troy Day might I also add that Piper and MacArthur do not fairly represent confessional Particular Baptist Theology. When any orthodox Theology moves away from confessionalism it tends to go awry.
Kyle Williams well give us then a FIAR assessment on this teaching about the blood https://www.pentecostaltheology.com/macarthurs-heretical-teaching-regarding-the-blood-of-christ/
The controversy was originally ignited by a supposed “news” item written by Bob Jones, Jr. in the April 1986 issue of Faith For The Family (a Bob Jones University-sponsored magazine). Jones quoted some remarks MacArthur had originally made in a live Q&A session at Grace Community Church sometime in the early 1970s. MacArthur’s comments had been transcribed and published in the May 1976 issue of the Grace Church newsletter “Grace Today.” The Jones article cited the comments without any documentation, and without noting that they were from a ten-year-old source.
Does the passage below (Hebrews 6:4-6) mean a Christian can fall away and “lose their salvation”? Let’s assume for a moment that it does. What that also means, then, is that once a Christian loses their salvation, they can’t get it back since this passage says “it is impossible… to the restore them again to repentance”. If this passage means a Christian can lose their salvation, then it also means we get one chance to receive Christ and stay with Him. If this passage means a Christian can lose their salvation, then it also means if we walk away from the faith, we can’t come back home to the Lord as the man did in the parabel of the Prodigal Son did. Again, the passage states it is “impossible” to restore such people to repentance. I know of no one who believes this or teaches this. I have never heard a preacher say to the congregation “If you’re here today and you have fallen away from Christ, too bad. There’s nothing God can do for you anymore. You’re irrevecobly hopelessly doomed.” What this passage more likely refers to are people have been exposed to and participated in the things of the faith, yet whole heartedly rejected them never truly embracing Christ.
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
(Hebrews 6:4-6, ESV)
Troy Day No it doesn’t. Stop speculating. We understand Scripture through exegesis, not logic and human reasoning.
Doing exegesis washout logic and human reasoning conceptualizes heresies and births cults John Mushenhouse well then Duane L Burgess how are people falling off from grace and backsliding every day?
tell us then Kyle Williams is John PIPER: A brother or a heretic? Link Hudson rather see this woman’s way of thinking ‘exorcised.’ AND YES This is an old thread. there are plenty of rules about resurrecting them if you missed it the first go-round.