READER SAYS 'CANCEL ME' - GracEmail - Edward Fudge

GracEmail promotes the idea that Christ SAVED us before the creation and then CALLED us. Baptism is not essential to salvation according to the author but is our acknowledgement of our salvation.

While it is easy to misunderstand and therefore misjudge, the loose use of Scripture to prove salvation without baptism must necessarily lead many to the conclusion reached by the concept of faith-only.

The GracEmail is printed in blue and this writer's review in red.

Edward Fudge writes: "A Christian Church preacher of strong conviction (for which I commend him) writes, "You do not believe that baptism is part of the introduction to the Way of life. And that's not what I want to hear you say. I'm saying that you're not a Christian until you have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk in new life. If I'm understanding you correctly, please quit sending me your excellent daily devotionals."

No matter how many times and ways I insist that baptism is part of the New Testament way of conversion, the initial declaration of trust in Jesus' atonement, the expression of the sinner's repentance, and the manifestation of one's intent to follow Jesus in discipleship, you still claim that I am saying it is merely optional.
Where this student grew up something is "merely optional" or it is required. Because one is saved and then called, the author clearly believes that baptism is an acknowledgment of salvation which, therefore, cannot be an essential part.
Edward Fudge: How can one say that God never shows mercy to a repentant sinner before obedience in water baptism, when Scripture so clearly shows him doing otherwise? (Acts 10:43-48.) And how can a religious movement focus its primary salvation teaching on this gospel ordinance, as important as it is, when the Bible consistently places the emphasis on God's unilateral and merciful saving work accomplished in Jesus of Nazareth 2,000 years? (Isa. 53:11; Jer. 23:6; 33:16; Dan. 9:24; Rom. 4:25; 5:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Col. 1:20; Titus 3:3-7; Heb. 1:3.)
The thief on the cross wanted to be in Christ's kingdom. Jesus effectively said no. However, he said that the thief would be with Him in paradise that day. Now Jesus died in the flesh but was alive in the Spirit according to Peter. Paradise is the place of rest for the dead. Beyond that we have no authority to say that he was saved in the sense of the preached and practiced Great Commission.

Jesus had not died and his will had not gone into effect. While he lived he could dispose of his grace anyway He wanted without observing future rules.

For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. Hebrews 9:16

For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. Hebrews 9:17

The "testament" of Christ was probated on the Day of Pentecost and baptism was the condition for receiving the free proceeds of the will of Christ.

Cornelius and household were influenced by the falling of the Holy Spirit on them. This was the influence of Jesus (John 14:14-18) pouring out His words on Cornelius to convince the Jews that Gentiles should hear the gospel. Christ sent the sign (a sign is always symptomatic of something else) and they spoke with tongues; so did Baalam's ass but he was not saved. Because Peter and the other Jews were convinced that Gentiles could be saved He had him baptized. There is no proof that Cornelius was in the will of Christ until He obeyed the provision of that preached will.

Cornelius was not just a Gentile, but he was a worshipper of God and he practiced prayers and alms. He was a God Fearer (Acts 10:22). He was probably baptized with John's baptism:

But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:35
That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; Acts10:37

Peter was to tell Cornelius what he "oughtest" to do. Acts 10:6. Ought means "necessary as binding."

Cornelius understood that Peter would tell him "all things commanded by God" (Acts 10:33)

Peter began by making it clear that salvation was available to all (10:35).

Before Peter finished the Holy Ghost fell on those who heard. This astonished those with Peter and they were convicted (10:45).

They were convicted because they heard the praise of God in some other language.

Peter could then command baptism because of this supernatural sign (10:47).

Up to this point, Peter had preached the facts but he had not told Cornelius what to do. After the Jews saw this supernatural sign, Cornelius was baptized.

Just as Paul rebaptized those who had received John's baptism before it was possible to be baptized "calling upon the name of the Lord," Cornelius was undoubtedly rebaptized.

Whatever the purpose of speaking in tongues it did not do what baptism was ordained by Christ to do.

Context. Always remember the Context

Passages such as Colossians 1:20 are often not connected to "the rest of the story" such as verses 21-23. It will help to read them:

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:20
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled Colossians 1:21
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: Colossians 1:22
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Colossians 1:23
Jesus "cut off" sin by His death. This "circumcision" must be in the mind and made without hands by dying to self in connection with Christ and being baptized. Our spiritual resurrection takes place by the operation of God but through the faith:
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Colossians 2:11
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:12

We cannot look at all of the misused passages but we will look at a few:

  • He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
  • by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
  • for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11
    1. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and
    2. this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 23:6
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 2 Corinthians 5:18
Just because God became a human and "hath" reconciled us to Himself does not mean that the reconciliation has been appropriated by each believer. Christ appointed Paul to go out and preach the message that salvation was now available to believers.
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:19
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 2 Corinthians 6:2
The simple act of the death of God in Christ paid the price and removed any barriers errected by God between Himself and us. However, God was satisfied (Isa 53:11) and gave knowledge by which Christ would justify many and bear their iniquities. Part of the Will of God was that ambassadors would go out and spread the knowledge to show people how justification was now possible. Paul's first goal was to use the knowledge to change minds toward God. However, the secondary purpose was to baptize those who inquired of him about how reconciliation was to be accepted.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Romans 6:3
Therefore we are buried (planted to grow alongside) with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Baptism is derived from:
Baptizo (g907) bap-tid'-zo; from a der. of 911; to make whelmed (i.e. fully wet); used only (in the N.T.) of ceremonial ablution, espec. (techn.) of the ordinance of Chr. baptism: - baptist, baptize, wash.
Paul makes it clear that we accept the death by imitating the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This, like the Flood, is where we come out of the grave to walk a new, regenerated life.
Edward Fudge: God first "saved" us, then he "called" us with a holy calling (2 Tim. 1:9). The gospel is the "good news of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13).
We noted above that God does His reconciling work in and through the body of Jesus Christ. However, the message must be administered and accepted by believers before they are reconciled or saved. We should understand Paul to Timothy in the same way we understand Paul speaking of reconciliation. The first reference is:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling (invitation g2821), not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9
If this is supposed to mean that he saved us before He called us then Peter said that He called us before our election??:
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:10
Look again at one of Edward's proof-texts:
  1. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and
  2. this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jeremiah 23:6
When we are saved, Jesus calls us or addresses us as Children with the family name. This does not mean that we are saved and then invited us to be saved:

Kaleo (g2564) kal-eh'-o; akin to the base of 2753; to "call" (prop. aloud, but used in a variety of applications, dir. or otherwise): - bid, call (forth), (whose, whose sur-) name (was [called]).

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. Matthew 21:13
The NIV shows that those who are saved are then called to or invited to a holy life:
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 2 Timothy 1:8
who has saved us and called (invited) us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 2 Timothy 1:9
God saved us in his own purpose and by His grace. In the same way He is not willing that any one not be saved. That is His predestination for all mankind:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
However, just because He has paid the price for our salvation does not mean that we will answer His call through the gospel. The purpose of God to save us by grace did not mean that it had been brought grace into effect for all people:
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 2 Timothy 1:10
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 2 Timothy 1:11
Christ calls through His preached gospel. People are not truly saved until they have wrestled with it and made a decision and obeyed Christ's will.

If Christ saved those predestinated and then called them then He has also abolished death for all people and brought life and life to all people. Now, we know that that is not healthy thinking, don't we? Christ saved or paid the price in His own Mind or Spirit before the world began. He abolished death in His purpose. However, if Christ had not died then the plan would not have been put into effect.

God predestinated us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Paul puts the effect before the cause in the following passages but then shows the proper order:
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13
To trust is more than believe: it is to put oneself into the hands of Jesus Christ:
Peitho (g3982) pi'-tho; a prim. verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by anal. to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflex. or pass. to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): - agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) confient, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ac.2:21
Those who are saved have their citizenship transferred to heaven and are marked or "branded" by the evidence of the Mind or Spirit of Christ conforming them to His image:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for (in order to) the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
Edward Fudge: It announces a finished work which Jesus accomplished long before we ever heard of it. Since God atoned for our sins and reconciled us to himself in Jesus Christ before we heard of it, nothing we do in response to that announcement can be any part of the work which forgives our sins or sets us right with God.
It is one thing to say that we cannot do anything to earn our salvation in the form of work, but an entirely different thing to say that we can and must not do anything to appropriate the free gift. I have never heard anyone say that they performed part of the work which only a Divine Being could do for us. But that is just blowing smoke.
Justification or gaining God's approval has always been based on obedience of God's commandments when we have the faith to do so. Faith is not defined as a work by our writer because he believes that faith is the gift of God to those chosen and then called.
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing but the keeping of the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:19
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 14:37
Paul said that keeping God's commandments counts and that what he wrote was the commandments of the Lord. These are not "gospel suggestions" but the actual means by which the believer accepts the free gift of Christ.
He also shows that the Gospel plan, including baptism, is the Covenant God made with Abraham which means that the Law had no bearing on personal salvation. When he speaks of the faith of Abraham, we must hear what God told Isaac:
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; Gen 26:4
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws. Genesis 26:5
This is God's, Abraham's, Christ's and Paul's definition of faith.
Edward Fudge: All we can do is RESPOND to God's love shown in Jesus Christ -- and that is where our obedience, our love, our praise, our work, our efforts, our devotion, all have their proper place.
Jesus said that the way we can respond to Christ's love and invitation is to obey the command to be baptized if we really believe, love and trust Him to meet us at the time and place of baptism. If we do not respond shall we be lost???
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
Love is the one thing which Paul made into a law:
  • Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
  • And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17
  • Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Revelation 14:12
  • And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 1 John 3:22
  • And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 John 3:24 (The spirit or mind of Christ tells us that we are children of God. This is not a supernatural work but knowledge through His Word which He said was "spirit and life" (John 6:63)
  • For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 1 John 5:3
Edward Fudge: Yet, because I do not say this just as you do, and because I seek to point out Scriptures which provide us with a clearer and fuller understanding, you want to be removed from my list. And that despite the fact that you say my articles otherwise are "excellent." I deeply regret such a myopic attitude on your part, but sadly comply with your request. Should you change your mind, feel free to say so and you will be welcomed back into this little circle of "Berean" inquiry (Acts 17:11-12).
No, Edward, that is not what the man said. He said:
If I'm understanding you correctly, please quit sending me your excellent daily devotionals."
The Bereans searched the Scriptures and not modern theology or psychology.
Edward Fudge: May the good Lord bless and keep you and those you love, my brother.


Review by Kenneth Sublett

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