By Lewis Willis
Several years ago, some of our brethren decided they wanted to have fellowship with other religious organizations, like the Christian Church, the Baptists, etc. Naturally, they needed to establish some basis for this desire, and out of their effort grew the “Grace-Fellowship Movement.” Basically they argued that man was saved by grace – not by doing the things set forth in the Scripture. Their position is something like that of the premillennialists – each one believes something a little different than the others, so it is hard to pinpoint a particular position held in common among them. Anyway, if grace saves, regardless of whether we have done what the Scripture says, they concluded we should have fellowship with those kind of folks. But, there was a problem. If this premise applied to the Christian Church, which was not following the authority of the Scriptures, why would it not apply to others as well? So, over a number of years, they finally concluded we should have a fellowship with those kind of folks. But, there was a problem. If this premise applied to the Christian Church, which was not following the authority of the Scriptures, why would it not apply to others as well?
So, over a number of years, they finally concluded that not only were people in the Christian Church justified while doing things not authorized in the Scripture, they are now saying that the same is true of Jews, Catholics, Unitarians, Buddhists and even those who seek salvation like the pagans who have never even heard of Jesus Christ. I have before me a copy of The Reformer (Vol. 4, No. 6), edited by Buff Scott, Jr. On page 11 he said, “Anyone — now hear me correctly — anyone who seeks glory, honor, and immortality and who sincerely responds to any divine truth to which he may be exposed, will be given eternal life – yea, even those pagans in the most remote sections of the earth who seek God and find him only through the revelation of creation. . . . Those persons in the most remote corners of the earth although not exposed to scripture and have never heard the name Jesus Christ (my emp., LW) will be given eternal life provided they seek glory, honor, and immortality through the revelation of creation. ” He affirms the same thing in Vol. 5, Nos. I and 2. He bases his argument on Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen.” Also, eternal life is imparted to those who seek for glory, honor, and immortality (Rom. 2:7).
As far as I can tell, he concludes from these two passages that a pagan who looks at God’s creation – the moon or stars or rivers – and longs to be like them – must be seeking glory, honor, and immortality. Therefore, he has eternal life, even though he has no knowledge of the “written revelation” – the New Testament – and, even if he does not know the name of Jesus. Scott wrote, “If Paul is not teaching this principle in Romans, Chapter I in referring to the pagans, I am at a total loss as to what he is teaching” (my emp., LW). I have been reading the writings of Buff Scott for several years and this is one of the few things he has said with which I am in total argument – he is at a total loss in knowing what the Scriptures teach!
Now keep in mind, he believes a pagan is saved, even though he is ignorant about Jesus and the New Testament. But Jesus said – and there is a monumental difference between what Jesus says and what Buff Scott says – that “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). He further said that people could not come to him except the Father draws them and except they have heard and learned of the Father (Jn. 6:44-45). 1 believe God ordained that the Gospel be preached, heard and learned so that we might come to Christ for eternal life. Scott says you can get that eternal life without going to this much trouble. Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). Scott says without Jesus you can have eternal life – just want to be like a star and you’ve got it! There are many other passages that could be introduced here. If we do not believe in Jesus, we will die in our sins (Jn. 8:24). If we do not repent of our sins, we are going to perish (Lk. 13:3). Those who do not confess Jew will not be confessed before God (Matt. 10:32-33). Only those who believe and are baptized will be saved (Mk. 16:16). If we do not obey the gospel, God will meet out his vengeance to us (2 Thess. 1:8). Buff Scott, and others like him, have simply rejected these passages of Scripture.
Folks, it is a shame how some brethren will accept any absurd position in order to embrace something they like or want to believe. No idea is too far-fetched for them. Jesus and the New Testament will be trodden under foot without any apparent sense of shame or regret if they get in the way. Ali we can do is remind them of what God’s Word says. If it does not save them, then, possibly it will keep us from falling with them. Study this issue well. We are far from hearing and seeing the end of it. Scott’s paper, The Reformer, should be more accurately name The Deformer. What he is doing to Christ and the Church is an abomination.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 20, p. 617
October 19, 1989