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  • Writer's picturejaredrrolston

An Unfortunate Mess

Updated: May 8

Unfortunately, I have to address this baffling tweet.

Why would Matthew Johnston critique me for something I haven't said? There are several possibilities. I'm not going to speculate why, though it is a valid question that I think every spectator to this public confrontation should consider. There is no substance to his tweet, and here is why.

No Substance to the Slander

My blog clearly states that saving faith is complete from the moment God grants it. Works do not complete it. They do not add to saving faith. Works are the outworking of a complete faith - body, and soul.

According to James, there is an incomplete kind of faith. In my blog, I laboured to make the point that this is incomplete in its nature. It is not alive - it is not active - it does not work.

The difficulty with interpreting James 2 is that the word "faith" is used in multiple ways. The sense of each use and the overall meaning of the text is not unclear, though. With this being the case, I believe it is fine to speak like James, dividing faith into both belief (intellectual assent - body (v.19)) and works (acting upon beliefs - soul (v.22)). There is a "faith" apart from works, and that faith is useless. According to James, those who deny it are worthy of being called fools.

"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?" (James 2:20)

I also did not deny forensic justification. It is a glorious scandal, but I don't know why Matt would think it necessary to add that to his tweet about my blog. My discussion is centered around the nature of saving faith - what does the faith of the justified do? This, in a sense, did limit my discussion. But this is a valid and worthwhile way of approaching any subject. To extrapolate that I have a problem with forensic justification and imply it with a tweet is slanderous.

Now What?

Matt is critiquing something other than what I've said. And since my blog is free for anyone to access, that is clear for everyone to see.

I've tried to call Matt multiple times, and he will not answer. After a recent private Facebook interaction, he said he would talk to me at the end of February. But that's not good enough, in my opinion. Slander is now out there in public view, and it is going to be hard to undo that with a phone call.

So, if you see problems with Matt's approach, I'd appreciate it if you would call him out for this, privately if possible. Since he is such a respected and prominent pastor, it is causing confusion and trouble within the body. The church should not tolerate this.

To those who would give me flak for calling Matt out by name, you have to realise that he has called out both Bnonn and myself on separate occasions now. Bnonn by name - me by blog. It is best to keep these personal debates private, but they're not now. You cannot get the toothpaste back into the tube. It is an unfortunate mess.

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