*Updated 12/13/16*

The following are several questions we have received from friends, family and in conversations with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are also including questions that haven’t been asked yet, but we assume could be raised at some point. For a detailed look at our soteriology, please see our study .

1) What does it mean to be saved?
  • Being saved means receiving eternal life and the full promises of God, of which we have only currently received in-part: righteousness, adoption as children, a glorified body, a place before the Lord without fear of judgment, etc.

2) How is someone saved?
  • Through obedience to the gospel, for "it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (Rom.1:16-17). No one has ever been saved outside of obeying the gospel. By obeying the gospel, we are placed in Christ, and credited with forgiveness and His righteousness. It is through the gospel that men are judged, and those who do not obey the gospel are condemned (John 3:36; Acts 5:32; Rom.2:8; Rom. 6:16; Gal. 5:7; Heb.5:9; 2 Thes.1:8; 1 Pet.4:17). The gospel is only possible through the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was His atonement that paid for all sin, and through obedience to the gospel, we are covered by His work.

3) What is the gospel?
  • ​The gospel is that "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21, Rom.10:13). This is only possible through faith. It is by faith that we call upon His name to save us. We must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who seek Him (Heb.11:6). This is the same gospel since Adam, and is the same gospel until our Lord returns. Men were saved in the OT by obeying the gospel, by calling upon the name of the Lord (Gen.4:26; Gen.12:8; Ex.34:5; Ps.99:6; John 1:9-13; Heb.4:1-2). Men are saved in the NT by obeying the gospel, by calling upon the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21; Rom.10:12-13; 1 Cor.1:2; 2 Tim.2:22). For more on this, see here , and  here.

  • Those who were calling upon the name of the Lord in the OT were calling on none other the Son of God, who has ALWAYS been the mediator to the Father. They didn't understand this, as the Lord did not fully reveal who He was, and that He was going to come and die on the cross. It was a mystery. The same Lord is the Lord of all. The Lord of Israel is the same Lord that came down and revealed Himself as the Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus Christ our Lord. He has referred to Himself in the OT and the NT as the "I am" (Ex.3:14; John 8:56-58), the "TheRock" (Hab.1:12; Rom.9:33; 1 Cor.10:4); "The Shepherd" (Ps.80:1; Mark 14:27; 1 Pet.2:25), "The Savior" (Is.49:26; Luke 2:11; Acts 13:23), and "The first and the last" (Is.44:6; Rev.22:13). For more on  this, see here .

  • We are saved on believing in the one whom God sent. The Son has been in the world, and reconciling us to the Father, since day one of creation (John 1:1-13; 2 Cor.5:19). The Son represented the Father, and was reconciling the world to the Father. The Son then came down and revealed Himself as Jesus Christ. Thus to trust in Christ is the trust in the Lord. To deny Christ is to deny the Lord. If you truly trusted in the Lord of the OT, then you will trust in Jesus, as He is the same Lord. You can find details of all this in our soteriology study page .

4) Does a person have to have specific knowledge of Jesus to be saved?
  • Nobody prior to Christ’s birth knew who Jesus was (1 Pet. 1:10-12), and yet we know that there were many who were saved, and recieved the righteousness that comes by faith, by being placed in Christ. Salvation has always come by calling upon the name of the Lord, through obedience to the gospel. Anyone – past, present, or future – that believes in God and places their hope in the Lord for salvation is covered by Jesus’s atonement, whether they know His name specifically or not. An easy example would be every single person in the OT. We can see this with Noah. He was described as a “a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.” Only by faith is someone righteous and blameless. He knew nothing of Jesus, but he placed his faith in God for His salvation. He trusted in the I AM, and trusted in His word.

  • Likewise, John the Baptist, the disciples, and Jesus, all preached the gospel prior to Christ dying on the cross, and of course John and the disciples did not understand that Jesus had to die, and be raised again. They didn't understand that our Lord was going to die for our sins. You can easily see this in John 20:8-9, where Peter and John see the empty tomb, and do not understand what is going on. No one would question that they preached the gospel prior to this, as that's what scripture says  they did. They were saved by their faith, in trusting in the Lord for their salvation, not because they knew specifically how the Lord was going to save them. You can read more of this here .

  • This is not to say that we don't preach Jesus, and Him crucified. Our Lord's revealing Himself as Jesus, and His work on the cross, if the fulfillment of the gospel, the 'how' we are saved, and it exemplifies and testifies of our Lord's love for us, and that He keeps His promises. To preach Jesus, and for one  to trust in Jesus, is to obey the gospel.

5) What about Romans 10:9-10? It says if someone confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, then they will be saved.
  • This is the gospel and we don't deny this verse in any way. Paul is telling us that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (and he uses this same phrase a few verses later in Rom.10:11-12). Christ is the Lord! By professing that you believe in Christ as Lord you are calling upon His name to be saved. We have written on more on this here and here . By trusting in the Lord, you are covered by Jesus' atonement on the cross. It is possible to be saved by not knowing the name of Jesus, but it is impossible to be saved without knowing and trusting in the Lord.

  • Really, the gospel is the single greatest defense of the trinity because we are directed to believe in different persons of the trinity for eternal life (Believe in the one who God (the Father) sent, i.e. the Son; believe Him who sent me (the Father), and the Lord is Spirit. If they are not all one, there is a contradiction. No one that has faith in the Father and His word will reject faith in the Son and His word because they are one, and this is all testified through to all through the Spirit of God.

6) If specific knowledge of Jesus isn’t required, then isn’t His death and resurrection pointless?
  • Absolutely not! When God came in the flesh, lived a perfect life, and then was crucified, it was done to pay the debt we owe for our sins. His work is the cornerstone and of ‘first importance’ in the power of the gospel (1 Cor.15:1-5). Without our Lord coming as a man and dying on the cross, there is no atonement (a payment) for sins. Without the atonement for sins, nobody is saved! Every person of faith is credited with the forgiveness of sins because of Jesus' work. Every person of faith is credited with righteousness because of Christ’s work. Thus, He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to God except through Him.

7) I have never heard something like this before. Are you relying on a particular pastor or teacher?
  • We came to these conclusions from scripture alone, but no, this is not new. Our understanding of salvation is close to Classical Arminianism and it is also close to the Traditional Baptist stance, though we don’t categorize ourselves as either. We didn’t realize the similarities between Arminianism and us until fairly recently, well after we reached the conclusions we did (see our Master Plan studies to see our full systematic soteriology).

8) When is someone saved?
  • Those of faith are presently saved, and yet being saved. Salvation is for all who endure to the end in faith (Matt 24:13, 2 Thes 4:7-8, Heb 10:35-36, Rev 2:7). A Christian may say they are saved at the point of conversion, but their continued perseverance in that faith is required to receive the full promises of God (Gal.5:5; Phil.3:7-14). Ultimately, salvation is received at the end of life. God gives His Spirit and protection to those who are being saved by faith so that they might hold fast to that faith until the end.

9) What if someone believes and then sins?
  • Every Christian will continue to sin, but that sin is no longer counted against them. As long as they have faith in the Lord they will be saved, for they are "protected by the power of God  through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. " (1 Pet.1:5). However, evidence of faith is "fruit in keeping witih repentance" (Matt.3:8) and a Christian will not continue to willfully sin without conviction from and discipline by God. There should be a progressive improvement in a believer’s rejection of sin as they continue to set their mind on the things of God. Again, this isn't saying that believers never stumble, and don't stumble far and long, but that so long as they keep their hope and trust in God, they are covered by Christ. Paul addresses this problem in new believers in the beginning of 1 Corinthians 3.

10) So, can a person lose or reject their salvation?
  • If we classify someone who currently has faith as “saved”, then salvation cannot be LOST in that it is taken from them against their will. God will protect all those who have faith, and nobody will take them out of His hand. However, that salvation can be ABANDONED if the person walks away from the faith, i.e. they abandon the covenant of the Lord, just like the Israelites (Jer.2:13,17, 19-21). There is a difference between losing and willfully walking away. You can find a full study on this here and here .

11) Wait, what about 1 John 2:19? If someone walks away from the church then they weren’t part of it, right?
  • This verse does not make a point one way or another about the salvation of the antichrists (those who deny Christ) prior to them leaving. It is stating that the person who leaves the faith obviously isn’t of the faith, but it doesn’t imply that person wasn’t a faithful believer at one point. These people who are leaving are the second and third soils in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Check here for a much deeper explanation of this verse.

  • Look instead at Romans 11:17-22 or John 15:1-6. Only by true faith is one grafted into Christ. God does not accidently graft a liar in. If that person ceases to have faith which results in a failure to produce fruit, then God cuts them out of Christ and throws them in fire. That person did not persevere in faith until the end.

12) So if a person who had faith and then rejected that faith had died before that rejection, would they have been saved?
  • That’s a complicated question that probably applies to many people in all of our lives. I need to answer that in two parts:
  • God knows the hearts of men. If a person claims to have faith but does not, then their conversion was only external not internal. God knows the difference, and that person was never saved by faith in the first place because it was all show.

  • Assuming the person’s faith was genuine then it would have been better if that person had died in faith than lived to reject it. Paul makes a similar point when addressing the sinfulness of some in Corinth (1 Cor 5:1-5). Their sin and pride were such that he was compelled to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” One is only saved by faith, which means Paul found the early death of a believer to be better than the long life of an apostate.

13)  Do you believe other religions can lead someone to eternal life?
  • NO. The fear of God will not lead someone to be a Muslim, Hindu, or any other religion. True fear of God and faith in Him will lead to Him revealing Himself and away from pagan religions. We see this in statements like Paul’s in Acts 17:26-27 when he says that God created all the nations and their times and boundaries so “that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” The Lord doesn't hide from us, for He has sown His word into our hearts, and it is near us, in our mouth and in our hearts. If we truly seek Him in faith, He will reveal more of Himself (1 Chr.28:9; Ezra 8:22; Ps.119:2; Jer.23:23).

14) What about Romans 10:14-17? Faith comes from hearing. Isn’t that saying someone has to be taught about Jesus to be saved?
  • Actually, if you expand your scope a bit and look at v12-18 you will find that Paul is quoting from Deuteronomy 30 and Psalm 19; the same words used in Deut. 30 are the same words Paul says are the “word of Christ”. He is stating that anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved, and the Lord is not far from any of us.

  • God has given everyone the knowledge of the gospel and opportunity to obey it because nature itself testifies about Him, and He personally sows the word into our hearts giving us the opportunity to believe. This is exactly the same thing Paul says in Romans 1:16-21. The righteous shall live by faith, and anyone who doesn’t is rejecting the truth that God has put in them through what has been made.

15) If everyone has heard about God, then isn’t that kind of like Universalism?
  • NO! Universalism is the belief that everyone is saved in the end. We absolutely reject that view. Our Lord was not unclear when He said at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that the way and gate are wide that leads to destruction and many there are who find it. Most people will reject God and will not be saved. If everyone has heard the gospel, and has the ability to have faith, then that makes it a universal call and opportunity which conforms to His love, mercy and grace. Likewise, if it is a universal call that can be ignored, then God is perfectly just in punishing those who refuse the call. See our study on the Universal Witness of the Gospel .

16) Your view of the sovereignty of God contradicts the Bible because you are taking control away from God and giving it to people.
  • Not at all. In fact, we believe the opposite. The Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty is that He is completely in control because He has to be for His plan to unfold. We believe God is great enough to have everything happen exactly according to His plan while still allowing for man to have free will. Our view is actually the higher view of God’s sovereignty and power. Every man is responsible to hear and listen and respond to God in faith. Our response in no way merits our salvation. Our response doesn't grant us forgiveness, or righteousness, or power ourselves to be ressurected to eternal life. It is God's sovereign choice to forgive, impute righteousness, adopt us, and resurrect us to eternal life. He doesn't owe this; He does so by grace, and He has told all of us that He will make this choice to anyone that trusts in Him.

17) Natural revelation (evidence of God through creation to everyone) can’t be sufficient for salvation because if it was Jesus wouldn’t have given the Great Commission.
  • We believe God does not depend on people alone to testify about Himself. Universal Revelation – both external to us through His creation, and within our spirits as the images of God – is a means by which God testifies about Himself. The Holy Spirit convicts us of the truth of that witness.

  • When a person goes out into the mission field, or just talks about Christ to a friend, they are acting as another witness to that person. That is a righteous work by faith that the witness will be rewarded for, but it is by no means the first witness that person has received. God has seen to that. Christ enlightens all men and God causes their growth, we are just honored to participate (John 1:8-9, 1 Cor 3:6-7).

18) If everyone has heard the gospel, then why do we need to preach the gospel?
  • God desires all men to be saved. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He is patient with us, desiring all come to repentance. Why then, are not all saved? Because He has given us the choice. "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live" (Deut.30:19). 

  • He provides all of us with the knowledge to be saved, and the results of rejecting Him, and the results of obeying His gospel. He gives His witness to us through creation and through what He has sown into our hearts. This is to persuade us to trust in Him. Likewise, He provides further witness through His written word and through the spoken word. 

  • All these witnesses are to persuade men to trust in Him.

  • If your neighbor hears the gospel at a church service, and has not trusted in the Lord, do you just let him be? He already knows so what's the point? I hope not. I hope you go to your neighbor in love, and teach and preach in order to persuade him to believe and trust in the Lord for his salvation. 

  • Israel knew the Lord and knew how to be saved, yet the Lord continued to send them prophets and divine messages to persuade them to repent.

But I am asking, if your neighbor knows the Gospel, the only thing you can preach to them is the Gospel//

  • Yes, I can reiterate the wonderful good news. I can reiterate that they are sinners, and that they will be judged, something they all know already (Rom.1:32). I can plead with them and persuade them to repent and trust in the Lord. I do so because I love God, love them, and want to see them saved. Men suppress the truth (Rom.1:18). They harden their hearts (Heb.3:15). They become callous (Eph.4:19). I preach and teach because I am in service to the Lord. I want to be a tool the Spirit uses to shine the Light. To bring the truth to bear. To soften men’s hearts. Again, just because someone knows something, doesn’t mean we leave them be. If you’ve taught your child something, and he knows it and goes against it, do you leave him be? No, you go to him again, teach him again, and persuade him to do the right thing.

Is.65:2-3 says, “I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts, a people who continually provoke Me to My face

  • They knew the truth already and rebelled. This is like all of us. But yet the Lord still calls, and holds out His hand, and sends His Spirit to convict, reproof, and call them to repentence. That's what we do. We call all those who have squandered away the inheritance the Lord purchased for all men, and plead with them to repent and follow Him. Don't be like Israel, who was freed, but yet rebelled and went back to bondage and did not enter His rest.

  • We are an additional light of the Light God has given all men.

  • But people have died for the gospel, why die to proclaim something people already know? The answer is sacrificial love (Luke 14:26; John 15:13) and to persuade men to repent and trust in the Lord. The Israelites of the OT knew the message to be saved. They knew they if they trusted in the Lord, He would forgive them and cover them in grace. But they rebelled. They all knew the message, but they suppressed and didn't listen. God raised up prophets, and commanded them to go to these rebellious people who already knew the message, and to tell them the message again and again, and often these prophets were killed (Neh.9:26; Matt.23:34,37; Acts 7:52). They went because they loved God, love people, and wanted to persuade peopel to repent and obey the gospel. Paul's kinsmen (the physical Israelites) rejected it, and Paul had so much love he would have accursed himself to save some of them (Rom.9:1-4).

19) If what you are saying about God’s universal witness is true, can a person (a Jew, for instance) believe in God but reject Jesus and still be saved?
  • No. In John 10 Jesus explains that all who believe in the Father are Christ’s sheep and will recognize the Son's voice. If we know God the Father, His word abides in us (by faith), then we will recognize the Son of God (Jesus), as the Father testifies of Him (John 5:37-38; John 8:18; John 8:42; 1 John 5:9-10). Likewise, any who believe in the Son will believe in the Father (John 8:19; 14:7). Those who practive the truth (i.e. have heard and learned from the Father) are those that will believe in the Son, if/when He is revealed (John 3:18-21). The Pharisees believed in the Lord of the OT, but they did not trust in Him for their salvation, they instead trusted in themselves. When Jesus came, and revealed Himself to them, they denied Him, and showed that their professed faith in the Lord was a lie, and the truth was not in them. 

20) So, someone DOES have to know about Jesus?
  • We aren’t saying that. If the man in the jungle is drawn to the Lord through the witness that comes through His creation, and through what the Lord has sown onto His heart, and this man seeks God in faith for his salvation, this man is obeying the gospel. He has called upon the name of the Lord for His salvation  and is covered by the work of our Lord on the cross. If this man seeks the Lord by works, then he is not saved (as no man is is saved by works, per Romans 3). As God said, the word is in your heart and in your mouth, and He is not far from any of us. The man in the jungle, despite his ignorance of Jesus' earthly work, will still be baptized into His work on the cross and credited with righteousness and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Remember, to trust in the true Lord who made the heavens and the earth, and revealed Himself to us through the work of His hands, so that we might seek Him, is the same Lord that revealed Himself as Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • The flip side to this would be the previous question. If a Jew believes in God, but denies Christ, then there is a heart issue, and God knows their heart. If that person does not recognize Christ as Lord, that person isn’t one of His sheep by faith.

21) You guys are heretics and dumb, gunky heads.
  • You are certainly entitled to whatever opinion you hold, but that isn’t actually an argument against our position. Respectfully, that kind of response is one that comes out of a wounded pride, and one of walking by the flesh. Name calling isn’t actually an argument. You should examine scripture and see if what we have said is true or not. If you believe it isn’t, then email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to discuss your thoughtful questions.

22) How can your view be right when there are people who have actually been to seminary that disagree with you?
  • Going to seminary doesn’t guarantee a person is correct. In fact, there are more than a few atheists that have gone through seminary. You wouldn’t argue that they are correct, would you? While there is a lot to be learned from someone who has thoroughly studied the history and original languages of scripture, that education does not entitle them to more wisdom from God than a layman. James 1 promises all believers that they will receive wisdom from God if they ask for it and by faith expect it. Billy and I have faith that God honors that promise and we expect wisdom to understand what He has revealed in His word.

23) What about baptism?
  • We believe that water baptism was purely symbolic, and pointing to the truth of being baptized into Christ. The Bible teaches that, by faith, we are baptized into Christ and Christ is in us. Furthermore, the Son now baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, putting the Spirit into us. The Spirit will then raise us into eternal life. Through those baptisms we are “cut off” from our sinful flesh, credited as righteous, and sealed by the Spirit which is a down payment of future glory promised by God. Being in Christ is the one true baptism required for all who will be saved, and they are done by God when we believe. Check our studies page for our series on baptism.

  • If someone believes there is any efficacy in water baptism – if they believe it is needed for salvation and causes something to happen to/in us – then we will disagree.

24) Do you believe the same thing about the Eucharist/Lord’s Supper that you do about baptism?
  • Yes, we do. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him, not because there is efficacy in the act.

25) So you are saying my Calvinist/Methodist/Baptist/etc pastor is wrong? He has been preaching for 30 years!
  • Yes, we are respectfully disagreeing with anyone that holds the Calvinist position, or any other position we have examined that we find lacks scriptural authority. We aren’t necessarily questioning their faith, but we believe our understanding is scripturally sound and systematically cohesive.

26) That is so arrogant of you to say!
  • Again, name calling isn’t an argument. We are confident in our understanding, but we are open to anyone using scriptural evidence to enlighten us to an error we hold. We won’t change our minds easily, but if you can show us through reason and scripture how we are wrong, we will happily adjust our view.

27) Where do you guys stand on the spiritual gifts of tongues, healing, and prophecy?
  • We believe these gifts have been suspended for the time being. God may still miraculously cause one of these to happen, but they are no longer gifts that can be deployed at the discretion of the believer. We will also adamantly oppose the notion that speaking in tongues is the true sign of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That is not a scriptural claim.