A Partial Gospel, By Indiana
April 25, 2017
Dear Amish Voice,
It was with interest (and disgust) that I read Moses Schrock’s article on forgiveness in the January Amish Voice. A partial gospel is a lie. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). Anything apart from the truth is also apart from Jesus.
As we read through the gospel, we notice Jesus did not spend much time or words with theology, but rather he called us to a life! Separated from the world, consecrated unto God our Father.
Just take for instance His sermon on the mount. All these things He is teaching, are “doing” things. For example, when you do alms, when you pray, when you fast, lay not up treasures on earth, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, are only a few of his many teachings on being a disciple of Christ, a life that starts by forsaking all (surrendering all) and following Him.
When we experience the new birth, I like how it says it in Ephesians 4:22-25, when we really see the magnitude of our bondage of sin, and how Jesus frees us from the chains, by our faith in Him, then it brings about a response on our part! We now become a servant of the living God instead of servant to sin! We will be judged by the way we live our lives, not by believing right, as you said in the article. What method will we be judged by? Our works? You say No! The day of judgement is recorded in Matt. 25:31-46 in Jesus’ own words. Please also read Rev. 20:12-13 and Rev. 22:12. Rev. 22:14 says, Blessed are they that do his commandments. It does not say blessed are they that know or believe his commandments.
My only reason for writing to you is out of a deep concern that all lies be exposed and only truth be published! Please read Luke 21:8, Luke 21:34-36, and there are many more. I have been noticing more and more in the Amish Voice that the editorials are a Protestant belief, not at all the faith of the early church before 315 A.D., or the faith of the Anabaptists of the 1500s. So Please BEWARE!
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8). They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24). How did Jesus end his teachings on the sermon on the mount? Again, He ends with the same note — it’s not him that saith, but him that doeth (Matthew 7:21-23). John 14-15 says that it is all about keeping his commandments. Again, it’s not our works that earn our salvation, but our response to what Jesus did and does in our daily lives.
Sincerely and with love, Indiana
Jeremiah Zeiset Responds:
Dear Indiana, overall, I like what you wrote. We absolutely must have fruit as evidence of our faith in Christ. There are churches in America where a message like yours ought to be preached. There are some denominations that preach what is called “easy believism” – simply say a prayer, and you get to go to heaven.
On the other hand, what we are finding out (and what I know from my own experience), is that most plain church members do not truly understand or claim salvation by faith for themselves. This is a big problem, as anyone who does not build on the foundation of Christ will be lost (1 Corinthians 3:11). We can go around and do great things to help others, but if we don’t have Christ, we will be lost. In many plain funerals, I hear the preacher say, “He or she tried their best, and we think God will look at that.” My friend, God will not look at how hard we tried. He will look at whether or not we had faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is counted for righteousness. In fact, the apostle Paul was so bold as to say, But unto him that works, the reward is not reckoned as grace, but as debt. But to him that does not work, but believes in him that justifies the ungodly, the faith is counted as righteousness (Romans 4:4-5).
While the topic of what a Christian’s life should look like merits some discussion, it must be preached in the right context. We’re focusing mainly on this essential topic of salvation by faith in the Amish Voice because that seems to be the most misunderstood topic among the plain people. We’re not trying to undo good works in this magazine, and in no place have we said that good, biblical works are not important. We are, however, making a clear effort to preach Jesus Christ as the starting point — and the ending point. It starts and ends with Christ (Revelation 22:13).
Finally, I know in my own life after I claimed faith in Christ for my righteousness, I finally could start living in victory. I can now honestly claim that I can do all things through Him. And that is good, because He gets the glory, not me.
I hope this helps you understand where we are coming from and why we care so much about making a clear case for faith in Jesus Christ. It is biblical, and the salvation of each person, Anabaptist or not, depends on it.
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