I recently had contact with one of the intended recipients of the open letter in my last post. As you might know, this letter strongly indicts the May 21 defenders as too cowardly and/or arrogant to entertain any sort of disagreement about their unbiblical closed-door/no-more-salvation teaching. The man I communicated with stated that he has never failed to entertain opinions that disagree with this teaching, but that none of those who have approached him about this have been able to address all the verses that he believes do support his position. I heard this at least once before when Chris McCann passionately berated me when I presented this verse:
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
McCann ranted that people will approach him with “one verse” trying to disprove the closed-door teaching and always fail to address all the verses he is so sure support it. The sentiment is clearly that anyone who wants to disprove something he or anyone else believes from the Bible must provide an alternative interpretation in order to invalidate their position. This is akin to the political debater who gets all worked up at people who complain about what their government is doing but not offering an alternative solution. That in turn is synonymous with telling a patient not to see a doctor unless that same patient knows what to do about his complaint. If you can’t solve the problem than you have no right to complain, the argument goes. All three of these scenarios are ridiculous and supremely arrogant, not to mention surprisingly illogical.
In order to invalidate the closed-door teaching, neither I nor anyone else has any obligation to propose a definitive alternative interpretation of the Bible passages used to support this pharisaical fabrication. All I or anyone needs to do to disprove is disprove. If that can be done by supplying an alternative interpretation, wonderful, but it isn’t part and parcel. Those who believe the no-more salvation teaching have set this standard to do the following:
The expectation is that detractors will buy into the same thinking that one has no right to complain about the problem unless he can offer a solution. Again, I point you to the patient who knows something is wrong but has no idea what to do about it. Who would be so cruel as to forbid that patient to see a doctor? Who do you think you are telling someone he has no right to disagree with you unless he can hand you an alternative on a silver platter?
Persuade the Undecided
This kind of thinking makes it easier to win an argument by perception. If the detractor can’t offer that alternative, the established school of thought looks stronger by comparison. Someone still unsure which line of thinking is right is more easily swayed toward the status quo because of the apparent strength of the argument. Again, the thinking is that it was not disproved because someone couldn’t offer an alternative. Therefore, the established interpretation stands immutable, so why not choose that over the dissenting school of thought without question and be done with it? Simple.
Plant Self Doubt
The reasoning is that if I can’t propose another specific interpretation, maybe I’m wrong after all. This can create fear and shame and further discourage opposition. It can also derail the tenuous grasp on truth that someone whose knowledge of Scripture is relatively weak might have.
Create a Sense of Assurance
The defenders of the original argument feel even more validated and able to persist in their thinking without feeling uncomfortable. Their position has been reinforced in their own eyes, and they don’t have to experience the uneasy feeling that goes along with questioning one’s convictions in sincerity and a zeal for truth. Who could blame them? It’s scary finding out you’ve been wrong in a belief you hold near and dear. It’s human nature to try and squash anything that might force you to change your mind. Never is this more of a challenge than when it comes to Biblical matters.
The no-more-salvation teaching relies on the Biblical calendar. This calendar couldn’t be constructed without secular sources. Already one must step outside the Bible. If these sources didn’t exist, there would be no one saying that God stopped saving on May 21, 2011. Because one absolutely, unequivocally cannot complete the calendar with the Bible alone, there can be no verses that prove that God has stopped saving on May 21, 2011, or on any other date that the earth remains. I offer no replacement to the interpretation of the multitudinous verses that EBible Fellowship, brother Mike, and others insist prove there is no more salvation today, because that teaching is based partially on sources other than the Bible. Their doctrinal stance is dead on arrival. There is therefore no need for me or anyone else to accede to that demand. It doesn’t make me wrong or my argument too weak to take seriously.
Neither I nor anyone else has any obligation to address verses that prove God has stopped saving. First and foremost, there are no such verses because there can be no such verses. The May 21 defenders’ very own Bible study methodology disproves the closed-door teaching because it relies on extra-Biblical information that the Holy Spirit didn’t inspire. If someone tells you that you’d better be ready to address all related Bible passages to convince them that God is still granting salvation, you need not comply. It’s an unfair demand to accomplish an impossible task. Don’t let their self-assured attitude make you question your position or stop you from maintaining it. The Bible is the real standard, so stick to it.