By Dennis L. Shaver
I am firmly convicted that it is impossible to teach one of the above subjects by itself. The more I see taught and written on these subjects, the more I am convinced such is true. I believe that for a christian to single out one of the above subjects, is at best, poor judgment. For years denominatiODalists have singled out Love, Grace, and Faith. The teaching they perpetrate is completely false and foreign to the word of God. It has been said that some in the Lord’s body have singled out Works. If this be true, then they are as wrong as anyone else who fails to declare the whole council of God. I am sure that the real problem is not that christians teach works only, but that we teach works more than anything else, because that is what we differ on. If you went into the home of a christian who was living in adultery would you teach him the importance of the Lord’s Supper? Most likely you would teach him what the Bible says about adultery. The same is true when we teach those outside the body of Christ. We talk about Love, Grace, Faith, and mostly Works. Why? Because that is where we differ. I do not believe that many have taught works only. If so, then I have missed it. Every christian needs to be “well-rounded” in his knowledge and teaching of the Bible. Just because one brother seems to be teaching “works only” does not mean I should teach “love or grace” to the exclusion of works. This kind of teaching is not “well-rounded.” What happens here is that we have two men, supposedly christians, failing to teach all of God’s will.
A Christian, who intends to teach and preach all the truth, can leave false impressions, and misconceptions by singling out one of these subjects and giving it “overemphasis.” I am not questioning their sincerity or motives, I only say it is poor judgment. When one subject is “over-emphasized” it always results in the neglect of another related subject. This does not necessarily mean that false doctrine has been taught. It does mean that only part of the truth has been set before the listeners. Such was the cause with Abram and Sarai. Abram chose to emphasize the fact that Sarai was his sister. He did not actually tell a lie, or teach false doctrine, but he failed to tell all the truth. The final result was misconception on the part of Pharaoh. This can happen today when one “over-emphasizes” Love, Grace, Faith, or Works. These subjects are so closely related that it is hard to teach one without the others. To do so often results in those who hear us gaining false impressions.
When we teach the word of God let us not be guilty of “over-emphasizing” mail’s part in salvation, nor let us “overemphasize” God’s part. The Bible is a tool honed to perfection. We need to use that tool as it has been designed and not as we see fit. Let us remember that the Love of God extended Grace toward man, and man by his Faith, performs the Works of God. Thus we obtain salvation by each of these avenues, but not by one only.
Truth Magazine XX: 42, pp. 670-671
October 21, 1976