I have some christian concerns. I see u state some strong opinions on Philips, Craig and Dean. On their doctinal stands. Yet u state they do not shove these beliefs in the face of Trinitarians. [Personal information on the writer’s relationship to the UPC]. I can’t see the Trinity or the oneness belief keeping anyone from the promise land. Why not focus on the war that is really raging against the church (You and I). Just stand up for the Christian belief of repentenace and sactification and redepmtion- Throgh Christ. The world is who we need to convince to be like all of us. Not Assembly of God, UPC or independants to become like each other. What we think we have converts when we win each other to our churches? Hang on to your hat. Because at 42 and sitting around for this long. I plan on coming out for restoration for relationship for all of us believers. I am not a UPC member. Spend your time looking for unity. I quote your website. Our role is to assist the church in giving an answer to those groups that would “distort” the gospel of the grace of God. Grace is leading someone to Christ, not fighting with a swordbrother against brother. Grace is a gift only God can give.
Thanks for writing, N. My main problem with your thesis is expressed by John the Apostle in these words:
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also (1 John 2:23).
John wrote these words in reference to those false teachers who had gone out from them (2:19). These men still confessed many true things about Jesus Christ, but, they had denied certain definitional truths, such as His true incarnation. John teaches that they do not have the Son, and hence do not have the Father either. Now, they could have easily argued that these differences are just not that important, and that John should have focused upon leading folks to Christ, “not fighting with a sword, brother against brother.” I do not see any difference in this context, I really do not.
You see, when you speak of “redemption through Christ” and “leading someone to Christ,” your statements demand some kind of definition. Both use the name “Christ.” Who is He? Is He the Father? Who is the Son? Is the Son eternal? In Oneness teaching, the Son did not have actual existence until Bethlehem. He may have been “foreknown” as an idea, but the whole point is that the Son is not an eternal Person, sharing the very glory of the Father (John 17:5). So what Christ are you leading people to? When someone asks you, “Who is Christ that I should believe in Him?” what are you going to say in response, “Oh, don’t worry about stuff like that! Just believe in Christ!” Surely not! So, I do not see how it is possible to ignore fundamental denials of central Christian doctrines simply as a basis for creating a “unity” in “leading people to Christ.” Leading? How? For what purpose? Why do they need to come to Christ? What has He done that they should believe in Him? All of these are theological questions that go back to the very issues you have decided should no longer divide us. And the end result? You have no meaningful message to proclaim in the first place. That is why we must follow the apostolic example and let inspired Scripture determine for us what is definitional and what is not.