1. Doctrine of Christ (2 John 9)
Mr. Maxey condemned me for not answering his when he never penned one letter in rebuttal to mine. Such should evidence itself that he is a dishonest man who only wants to argue rather than learn.
Misrepresenting Scholars and Scripture:
Al only quotes part of Barnes when he writes,
“Dr. Albert Barnes states the problem very simply – ‘Is this the doctrine which Christ taught, or the true doctrine respecting Him? The language is somewhat ambiguous, like the phrase 'the love of Christ,' which may mean either His love to us, or our love to Him. It is difficult to determine here which is the true sense -- whether it means the doctrine or precepts which He taught, or the true doctrine respecting Him" (Barnes' Notes on the New Testament). He doesn't give Barnes’ position on the subject because then it would punish his own premise.”
For the record, Barnes continued and clearly resolved what Maxey claims to be “a problem”:
"Macknight understands by it the doctrine taught BY Christ and his apostles. IT WOULD SEEM MOST PROBABLE THAT THIS IS THE SENSE OF THE PASSAGE, BUT THEN IT WOULD INCLUDE, OF COURSE, ALL THAT CHRIST TAUGHT RESPECTING HIMSELF, AS WELL AS HIS OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. The essential idea is, that the truth must be held respecting the PRECEPTS, THE CHARACTER, AND THE WORK OF THE SAVIOR" (Barnes on the New Testament, Vol. X, p. 365, emp. mine, sjw).
Why would Mr. Maxey only quote some and not all? Why would he intentionally mislead his readers and give the impression that Dr. Barnes even struggled with this question? I want him to answer that.
"If the phrase 'doctrine of Christ' is a subjective genitive, then it refers to the teaching which Christ Himself taught, either in person or through the apostles or through the inspired writings (Scripture). It is this view that is held exclusively by the legalists and patternists."
Yet he further stated,
“Scholarship has been divided for centuries over which to choose, since either is correct grammatically!” (ibid.)
It’s weird how Mr. Maxey admits in one stroke that both are correct and yet in another taints one view as being held by "legalists and patternists" as if that should be reason enough to reject that one? Please define to us who is a "legalist" and "patternist." Is it the one who contends that the fires of hell and that the torture in hell are "forever and ever" upon those who die outside of Christ? If so, then John is a "legalist and patternist" (Rev. 20:10). Perhaps a "legalist and patternist" is one who insists that we build according to the pattern given? Well that would make Jehovah, Moses, Paul and the Hebrew writer (if other than Paul) all "legalists and patternists" (Ex. 25:9, 40; 26:30; Num. 8:4; Acts 7:44; Phil 3:17; 2 Tim. 1:3; Heb. 8:5). I would rather be in their company than yours, particularly on judgment.
Mr. Maxey includes in patternists those who teach "no eating in the church building." If by that he means, those who oppose church sponsored kitchens and meals and NOT an incidental of a preacher eating while working in his office, a mother giving her little child a cracker, a diabetic needing to eat something to keep the sugar level safe, etc., Then he most certainly includes Paul as a "patternists."
- "But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come" (1 Cor. 11:34)
- "for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 14:17).
Of course, Mr. Maxey will spin the issue from these passages and will contend that they do not mean what they say. The reader will have to judge who he is going to believe. Maxey will cry, "It’s only a perversion of the Lord's Supper that is being discussed here." Yet the honest reader can see that while Paul was addressing a perversion of the Supper, he also records a precept for the church to not come together "as a church" for hunger. I wonder if Mr. Maxey will teach that Paul blundered as a legalist and failed to focus on the "core gospel" by emphasizing too much "doctrine?"
Mr. Maxey wonders:
"In other words, what specifically did John have in mind when he spoke of our Lord's teaching? What teaching would that be? I see nothing in either the immediate or remote context that suggests John had the rituals of a 'worship service' in view here. I doubt he was concerned with how the church treasury was utilized, what version of the Bible one read, whether church buildings could have a kitchen, or if shaped notes were acceptable additions to a song book. Rather, the doctrine/teaching,
'which we have had from the beginning, is that we love one another' (2 John 5). It is this commandment 'that you should walk in' (vs. 6). This is certainly the teaching of Christ emphasized in this second epistle (and indeed throughout the writings of John)" (ibid.)
So if John had one thing in mind, or only one thing that he was addressing, then we cannot apply his prescription to any other anathema in scripture? If John specifies one commandment, "that we love one another" does that mean every other commandment can be outside of 2 John 9? Is this "love one another" the doctrine of Christ or gospel, Mr. Maxey? Is preaching "love one another" preaching the gospel? Also, what did Paul have in mind in Galatians 1:6-9 about preaching any other gospel? Would another gospel simply be preaching something other than "love one another?" Would preaching circumcision for salvation be preaching "another gospel"? What about the inverse? What about preaching "Circumcision is not for salvation;" or "circumcision is nothing." Is this preaching "gospel" or "doctrine?" Can one even preach it or is he only able to "teach" it? Please tell us O Thee Master of Distinction! By the way, who endowed you with the Spirit to say which is which? Please tell us how you are qualified to explain which sections of scripture are "doctrine" and which sections constitute "gospel." Please submit your, "Truth that matters list" to those of us less enlightened.
Please also explain to us where God changed from being a very exact and specific God on how the treasury was to be used to a God who no longer cares? Please explain how your far reaching argument of adding shaped notes to a song book relates with, say, adding kitchens to the work of the church, banjos to sacred songs, or pizza and coke to the Lord's Table? Because someone may have somewhere in sometime foolishly contended against the use of notes in a songbook, shall we then run and contend that we can add any and everything to the work and worship of the church?
2 John 6, 7,
"This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
John teaches that love is to walk according to "HIS COMMANDMENTS." Al says there is just one commandment, "love one another" that is on John's mind. He contends, that this "commandment" (loving one another) is emphasized throughout John's writings at the expense of any other doctrine. Al, is preaching this commandment teaching "doctrine" or preaching "gospel." Can we walk according to love while violating another commandment of God? "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (Jn. 14:15).
Please answer definitively.
Also, can a church spend the church treasury on anything it wants to? Why not say:
"I see nothing in either the immediate or remote context that suggests John was concerned with how the church treasury was utilized, whether they spend it on saints or non saints, whether they spend it on ski trips or camping retreats, whether they spend it on kitchens or Christmas festivals, whether they spend it on dance halls or drinking parlors. Likewise, since the ritual worship services were not in the mind of John, Al, then John is likewise indifferent on mechanical or non-mechanical music, clapping, humming and drumming, heavy metal, bluegrass or cowbell praise, espresso's and fruit salads or fruit of the vine, French bread or pizza crust."
Since Al cornered himself with a man-made limitation on the "gospel" of Christ, then we must be at liberty to use any of the above. There is no closing the flood gates that Mr. Maxey so desperately wants to open.
Misleading quotations regarding A.T. Robertson:
Mr. Maxey misleads us in trying to show that A. T. Robertson could not make up his mind on this subject:
"Dr. A.T. Robertson wrote, 'The subjective genitive can be distinguished from the objective use only by the context. Sometimes the matter is not clear. In itself the genitive is neither subjective nor objective, but lends itself readily to either point of view ... some passages are open to doubt' (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, p. 499)."
But 2 John 9 is not a passage left to doubt in A. T. Robertson's mind. Read what Mr. Maxey didn't want us to read from Robertson’s own pen regarding 2 John 9:
"Not the teaching about Christ, but that of Christ which is the standard of Christian teaching as the walk of Christ is the standard for the Christian’s walk (1Jo 2:6). See Joh 7:16; 18:19. These Gnostics claimed to be the progressives, the advanced thinkers, and were anxious to relegate Christ to the past in their onward march. This struggle goes on always among those who approach the study of Christ. Is he a "landmark" merely or is he our goal and pattern? Progress we all desire, but progress toward Christ, not away from him" (Robertson's New Testament Word Pictures, emp. mine, sjw).
Readers, if you touch your computer while reading this, you may still feel Maxey shimmer at Robertson's choice of wording in the term "pattern"! This is twice that we have shown where Mr. Maxey misleads in quoting others to justify his position at the expense of maligning them. It is ironic that someone who charges us with being cold unloving legalists would practice such vice to mislead people what scholars were clear on. Mr. Maxey, if you appeal to men for your standard of authority, at least appeal to them correctly. It is no wonder that you would abuse the teaching of men as you are content to abuse the very teaching of God! Should we not be suspicious when Maxey quotes anybody, let alone when he tries to tell us what inspired writers wrote or meant? For someone to speak about context, but then blatantly misrepresent recent scholars and scripture is creepy.
Maxey's Fence Riding Hypocrisy:
“My own personal conviction on this passage, after much research and reflection, is that 'doctrine of Christ' is most likely, based on the context and John's overall focus in his writings, an objective genitive. Thus, the text is referring to the teaching ABOUT Jesus Christ” (emp. his, sjw).
And then he in graciousness loving-kindness concedes,
"Nevertheless, I am unwilling to be dogmatic about my conviction. The subjective genitive is also a grammatical and contextual possibility” (ibid.)
Yet Mr. Maxey wrote me charging me with false teaching for teaching something that he supposedly is not dogmatic on. Maxey said,
"Morris Bowers sent me your false teaching on 2 John 9" (email dated 4/27/04).
It looks like Maxey's cloak has been uncovered here! He says he is not dogmatic, but then writes me saying that my article is false doctrine. Can one label something as "false teaching" without being dogmatic? Mr. Maxey, you cannot even be true to your own teaching, how can you be true to God's? My article shows that 2 John 9 is the doctrine taught BY Christ either personally or through His apostles that we are bound to believe an obey. I gave many different parallels in scripture for understanding the phrase. The reader can access this at: http://www.sunnysidechurchofchrist.com/id54.html
The reader can make up his mind about Maxey's flip flop! So, Maxey is not against "dogmatism," he is not some gentle, "can-we-not-all-get-along?" kind of fellow who wants the Lord's prayer in John 17 to be realized. He is as dogmatic about his error as Paul was about the truth of the gospel. He will gladly pursue division when someone doesn't agree with his personal interpretation, thus violating his own man-made rule. Ironic it is that often those who toot their horn of being loving are often deafening the opposition with hypocrisy.
Will Maxey tell us what "the apostles' doctrine" is in Acts 2:42? Is it the doctrine "about" the apostles or rather is it referring to what they taught in regards to Christ's walk and proper conduct in the church of God? When I read the teaching in the New Testament by the apostles, I find the latter to be true, not the former.
2. "Gospel/Doctrine Debate
After I requested Mr. Maxey to take me off his list and stop sending me his false teaching, he sent yet another article entitled, "The Gospel Doctrine Debate." He wrote me saying,
"Steven, Here is another one you will run away from, but can never answer or refute from God's Word. Care to prove me right again?!!! (email: 4/27/04)
Does it sound like Maxey practices his "tolerance" doctrine that he continually spews. Does his tone sound gracious to you, dear reader? As you can see, in private he doesn’t' practice what he preaches "or should I say teaches?" (I think Maxey only thinks you can preach gospel and teach doctrine, you cannot preach doctrine, etc. It is just more superficial foolishness that he has created. Let me know if we can preach doctrine and teach the gospel, Mr. Maxey).
Maxey labors in his case:
“Paul told the Corinthian brethren that he was determined to 'know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified'(1 Cor. 2:2).”
Isn't this wonderful? Maxey, thinks he has found the passage that will open the door of fellowship for the church with all denominations. Evidently, Maxey thinks we only have to agree that Jesus Christ was crucified? Isn't that just wonderful? If only he would read more carefully he would have learned not to wade through the Corinthian letter to prove his erroneous contention. Yes Paul wrote this, but what is the bulk of the letter about? Is it not filled with things that Maxey would clarify as petty? Now if Paul's meaning "knowing nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" is only the death, burial, resurrection and person of Christ, then why does Paul spend the vast majority of the letter addressing "conduct" and "beliefs?"
- Immorality in the church (chap. 5)
- Withdraw fellowship from disorderly (chap. 5)
- Conduct toward brethren (chap. 6)
- Practitioners of sin will not inherit the kingdom of God (chap. 6)
- Role and laws regarding marriage (chap. 7)
- Be concerned over sensitive and weak Christians (chap. 8)
- Defending his apostleship (chap. 9)
- Paying ministers (chap. 9)
- Self-discipline (chap. 9)
- OT examples to learn from that we do not fall away (chap. 10)
· Tempting Christ
- Headship and submission of Christ, man, and woman (chap. 11)
- Coming together as a church and eating a carnal meal and right participation in the Lord’s Supper (chap. 11)
- Identifying spiritual gifts (chap. 12)
- Identifying the duration of spiritual gifts (chap. 13)
- Regulating spiritual gifts (chap. 14)
- Confronting the false doctrine of "no resurrection" (chap. 15).
- Speaking of the future resurrection (chap. 15)
- Establishing a church treasury (chap. 16)
- Some personal plans (chap. 16)
To apply the strict meaning of this verse as making the death, burial, resurrection as the only all encompassing truth that we must accept is absurd since Paul spoke in great detail about other doctrinal subjects that are very obvious to any healthy mind. These are "weighty" and are in connection to "Christ and Him crucified." Paul didn't want them to know anything but Christ, yet taught them the commandments of the Lord 1 Cor. 14:37; 11:23. Was Paul contradicting himself? Was he violating his own desire? No, in teaching the commandments of the Lord, he was teaching Christ and Him crucified. Similar to this is Philip's example of preaching Christ and the Treasurer asking about baptism. You cannot preach Christ without preaching baptism. The same form of argumentation could be said of Romans 1:15, 16, etc.
Teaching Versus Preaching
"'The NT distinguishes between teaching and proclaiming or preaching' (ibid, p. 1278). Paul wrote, 'Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching' (1 Timothy 5:17)."
Maxey just created a crater to fall in that he will never be able to hike out of. By quoting this passage, he is saying that "preaching" is intended by the Greek word "logos" and teaching by the Greek word "didaskalia." Okay, we will accept his assumption but note:
1 Tim. 6:3-5 "If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words [GK. Logos], even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine [didaskalia] which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself."
Now Paul links "logos" with "didaskalia" or doctrine. Both are on an equal footing. Mr. Maxey must deny such. The effect of not consenting to either one will result in who is "proud, knowing nothing" and one who is to be withdrawn from. So even with Maxey's superficial distinction, the net effect is the same. If you reject the words of our Lord or the doctrine, you are destitute of truth. Hence Mr. Maxey's own contention is a contention that is destitute of the truth.
Will Maxey tell us if we can violate 1 Timothy 5:8 by not providing for our own family, as long as we accept that Jesus died, was buried and resurrected. Will he say that such a one is safe and that we should not squabble over this doctrine? Is neglecting to provide for our own a matter of gospel or doctrine? Will Maxey tell us?
What about 1 Timothy 5:16, "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows"? The Lord makes a distinction even among widows but Maxey tells us it is not important. Can a church violate that passage by dispensing the Lord's money to non-believers or to widows who really are not "true widows?" If we can readily put a widow who is a non-Christian on the list to receive a regular administration of funds, what is the meaning or relevance of this passage? Does it have any relevance today? What does, "Do not let the church be burdened" mean? Please answer with a little more substance than you did my article on 2 John 9 by simply saying it is "false." Come, let us reason. Answer these questions. If God makes a distinction over "widows" those whom we ought to have a great amount of compassion for, why do you think that contentions over the church treasury are mere squabble?
"for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust" (1 Tim. 1:10, 11). Note: "sound doctrine" is according to "the glorious gospel." Thus, any honest mind can see that "doctrine" is a part of the gospel. Mr. Maxey, do you charge Paul as being a legalist?
Matthew 4:23, "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people." The gospel is called "of the kingdom." What does that mean? Do you interpret it like you do 2 John 9. . .the gospel of the kingdom is "ABOUT" the kingdom? But then if it is about the kingdom why do you not add all things in the kingdom to the "gospel." If not, why not? Is the plan of salvation in the kingdom? If so, then it is gospel? Are elders in the kingdom? If so, then they are a part of the gospel system? Does the kingdom worship? Then worship is in the gospel. Who will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9ff; Gal. 5:19-21), Mr. Maxey? Then any person practicing these things is outside of the gospel! If not why, not?
Matthew 26:13, "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her." I haven't met one Unity in Diversity advocate mention this woman as a part of the gospel. Will Maxey tell us if he does? Jesus gives our answer that she would be a part of the gospel told. Who will you believe, dear reader?
Critical Questions for Maxey To Respond To:
Do you preach a "core gospel?" If so, what constitutes the "core gospel?"
Does belief in Jesus as deity equate that one has obeyed the "core gospel?" If so, please explain how demons accept that fact but are not in the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Is doctrine relevant to "fellowship" with each other and with God or is our fellowship with one another only determined by accepting Jesus' person?
Where is a list in scripture of what constitutes "gospel" and what constitutes "doctrine?" Why do all those of your persuasion have different lists as to what is "gospel?" Some believe three things, some seven. How many things do you believe and what are they? What is a list of "Truths that Matter"?
Do you include things pertaining to the kingdom as "gospel?"
Which of the three were less important for Paul's work? Note:
"but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Tim. 1:10, 11). Does a teacher teach doctrine only or can he also teach the gospel? Will Maxey tell us? Note Paul's position: Appointed to preach, be an apostle and teach. Appointed to preach what? The gospel? Appointed to teach what? The gospel. So, a man can be a gospel teacher! Now, Paul also stated that God has given "evangelists" to the church along with apostles, prophets, pastors and teachers (Eph. 4:11). Yet these evangelists help the church grow in unity of faith and of the knowledge of Christ (Eph. 4:12ff). Therefore an evangelist can preach the gospel or good news to the church! If not, why not?
While a person may become saved by only knowing a limited amount of truths, can he remain saved if he chooses to neglect to grow? Why does Paul say give attention to reading, exhortation and doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13)? Can we violate that command after baptism and be saved?
Can our Lord’s prayer (Jn. 17) become a reality if everyone will just ignore and refuse to debate and discuss doctrine?
Steven J. Wallace