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A Matter of Faith (05/11/2008)
Did I Err?

From: Jamie Smith

Pastor Burge's reply to my recent letter is unanswerable in this format. What can be done with 1600+ words and still convey something to the reader? On top of that, at home, I received anonymous fan mail from some flounder concerning this and that - "pure garbage", "shameful", "flee your cult", "Judgment Day" - that sort of thing. Christians can be so interesting when challenged. I will address a few things and then propose a good and fair path to understanding that I hope is acceptable to the Pastor as well as to my secret admirer and indeed to any who are interested.

First of all, I am neither a Christian nor a Universalist. I believe God will ultimately reconcile His own creation through the work of Christ Jesus, God's Son. The Bible, in its original form, is true and mistake free in every way and in it we can read of this plan and the Person that is bringing it about.

When a doctrine rings sour, it is based on my considered, although imperfect, view of Scripture. A perfect example of that is woven throughout Pastor Burge's letter concerning Romans 5:18 KJV: "Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life."

I encourage all to check the prior verses on what Paul is referring to in his "Therefore". Burge agrees that all mankind is guilty due to Adam's sin. Religion has its problem with the second clause and so does Burge. The connective "even so" must be believed in order for the meaning to come forth. This is how Burge deals with it: "Jesus Christ could die as our representative making it possible for all men to be saved."

See the problem? Is that what Paul wrote? That is not "even so". Burge does not believe "even so". "Possible" is improperly added to the intent of the second clause. "Even so" means "just as" or "in the same way". The second clause must be dealt with in the same way as the first clause. Just as we are condemned by another so are we made just by Another. We are not "possibly" made just by Another.

Now, because I believe the full intent of Romans 5:18 I am told that I have not considered all of Scripture. I can assure the many readers that I have well considered Scripture. I don't believe I have contrived things to fit in a certain way. If incorrect I would gratefully acknowledge it for all to see. Who wants to be incorrect? Without using another part of Scripture to disprove it, I would like someone to point out where I have erred in Romans 5:18. Is there some grammatical rule or law of language I haven't considered? I've seen only one attempt by a theologian and it seemed far fetched.

I am willing to sit with Pastor Burge, my secret pen pal and any other church people who wish to explore these things of Scripture. Let me know if you wish to take me up on my offer - I'm sure I've yet to consider many things. Ask around, I'm really not a scary nut job. In the mean time I have sent a more accurate New Testament to Calvary Baptist Church for Pastor Burge's examination since the KJV seems quite unacceptable as to accuracy.



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