Bricks Without Straw
Within Christendom there are two philosophies which are so widely at variance that we must ask whether they are complementary or mutually exclusive.
The evangelical believes that preaching of the Gospel and its accompanying reception by man involves a divine order of salvation. Any attempt to violate this divine order inevitably brings chaos.
The evangelical believes that the first step in salvation is individualistic, a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, in which man recognizes himself for the sinner that he is and turns to Christ and his redemptive work, accepting him as Saviour. The evangelical further believes that such an individual must then identify himself with the Church and in that fellowship with other believers work for the glory of God and for the advancement of his Kingdom. For this reason the evangelical makes a clear distinction between personal salvation, which is a transaction between an individual and Christ, and “joining the church,” which is the next step in God’s plan, and which he does because he has accepted Christ, and not that he might be saved.
But the liberal thinks differently. Writing in The Christian Century (Mar. 5 issue) Dr. Charles Clayton Morrison says: “There is no support in New Testament Christianity for this individualistic, moralistic, subjectivistic and mystical conception of salvation. Christianity is not primarily an individualistic experience” (italics ours).
If this is true, the entire book of the Acts will have to be rewritten. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, affirmed that “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and continued: “Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins … for the promise ...1
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