[A quick note: Grace Walk by Steve McVey was a great book, a graceful dive into the pool. Beyond an Angry God is a dive into a water-less pool.]
This is a followup posting to this .
A quick thought about the book in question, Beyond an Angry God by Steve McVey. It is very loosely written. Following his thread is like grasping someone’s coat while stumbling along a stony trace bereaved of moonlight. McVey does not clearly tell you where he’s headed or how (or if?) he’s going to get there. He deals with the subtleties of definitions that impact long-held Biblical views and concepts; he seems to choose definition possibilities that give him the conclusions he wants to preach. However, God’s Word is too important to be uncertain of its contents-an author has a responsibility to be concise and in concert with the Scripture! Eternal destinies depend on accurately handling the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). And, echoing the previous post, to do this you must use God’s Word with your book study to remain securely on the path.
The inclination for people following McVey’s circuitous route is to arrive at conclusions that he may not in fact be making. But, it’s not a certainty-one moment he appears to definitely state his position, then later he brings his statement back into question. “Let you yes be yes and your no no.” Be clear. This fault falls to the author. Hence, his book is at best poorly written. That may explain some of the stunning claims that were either made or unchallenged by the pastor in the previous post.
If trying to comprehend a book is like grasping oil, cast it away, give it no more attention. Unless an author can give clear Biblical basis for his or her assertions that are consistent with its central message, the author’s book is a complete waste of time. Don’t waste your time with this book!
Since McVey has affected the aforementioned fellowship, we’ll investigate the key verse focused on in the Wednesday night book study.
The book study pastor claimed 1 Corinthians 15:22 to be the basis for every human being being automatically saved, apart from faith in Jesus Christ. This belief is referred to by some as inclusivism or universalism. I will call it blanket salvation – all will be saved, no matter whether they believe/express faith, accept/receive God’s gift, or anything else.
This interpretation has caused over half of those in the Wednesday book study to ultimately question the integrity of the Scripture or even whether there is a continuing need for His written Word.
Is this what Paul sought to communicate? Here’s the focal verse again:
“For in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22
So, the question to be answered from this verse is, “Does this all mean all humanity (blanket salvation) or does it mean only all those in Christ?”
Blanket salvation can be rejected and discarded, if Scripture proves that there are people who remain unsaved at His return or who can lose their salvation.
Here are six disproving verses which, as with the focus verse, are also from the Corinthian letters. A seventh regards the loss of salvation.
Regarding the young Christian man having sexual relations with his [apparent] step-mother:
“Deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:5
Paul tells them to take those steps, so that the young man may be saved in the day of Christ. No guarantee for the young Christian, if he continues in sin. If blanket salvation was true, no chastisement was necessary – Paul might even be called cruel by the universalists .
This is Paul’s first Corinthian rejection of blanket salvation.
“(9) Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you, but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
The unrighteous and unsanctified shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Washing, sanctification, and justification are required to be cleansed and inherit the kingdom of God.
Do not play a word game by claiming that righteousness is imposed upon all humanity, thereby making this verse nonsensical. Accepting God’s offer of salvation is required for eternity to be shared with Christ.
“Do not be deceived.”
This is Paul’s second Corinthian rejection of blanket salvation.
“(19) For though I be free from all men, yet I have made myself slave to all, that I might gain the more. (20) And to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them who are under the law; (21) To them who are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them who are without law. (22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (23) And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be sharer of it with you. (24) Do you not know that they who run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. (25) And every man who strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible [crown]. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one who beats the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-27
If all are saved, apart from faith in Christ, and without participation with Him, then there was no reason for Paul [or us] to gain/win people, nor to bring his body into subjection.
If the universalists are right, then Paul and the other Biblical authors were fools. Who do you think God considers the fools-the Biblical writers or the universalists?
This is Paul’s third Corinthian rejection of blanket salvation.
“Do not be deceived.”
“Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:33
Paul reiterates that he seeks to please people, so he may lead them to salvation. They’re not automatically saved.
This is Paul’s fourth Corinthian rejection of blanket salvation.
“Do not be deceived.”
“(2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (3) But if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to them who are lost: (4) in whom the god of this world has blinded their minds who do not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine upon them.” 2 Corinthians 4:2-4
Paul declares that there are still those who are the unbelieving and lost, upon whom the light of Christ has not yet shown. This contradicts that all are saved apart from faith. Plus, this verse is from the 2nd letter to the Corinthians, and as such, disagrees with the faulty 1 Corinthians 15:22 assertion.
This is Paul’s fifth Corinthian rejection of blanket salvation.
“Do not be deceived.”
#6. 1 Corinthians 15 itself [which contains the key verse]:
Note the necessity of preaching, receiving, holding fast, believing, hope, faith, etc. that are underlined and/or in bold type. Blanket salvation faultily asserts that these would be unnecessary. Again, whom do you trust? The universalists who receive their revelations from parts unknown, or Paul who received his message from Christ?
1 Moreover, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand. [You had to receive the preached gospel.]
2 By which, you are also saved, if you hold fast the message I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain. [You believed in the gospel and are saved, if you hold fast to it.]
11 Therefore whether it was I or the others, so we preach, and so you believed.
14 And if Christ has not risen, then our preaching and your faith are in vain.
17 and if Christ is not raised, your faith is vain. You are still in your sins.
18 Then they also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. [Die with faith in Christ.]
19 If we only hope in Christ in this life, we are of all men most miserable. [The assertion of blanket salvation does not require hope.]
22 For in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they who are Christ’s at His coming . [This draws the distinction between those who are Christ’s and those who are not His – it refutes the assertion that all are Christ’s, apart from faith.]
33 Do not be deceived: evil companions corrupt good manners. [Irrelevant if all are saved apart from faith.]
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. [If blanket salvation was true, this verse would be irrelevant, since all would be saved whether they were in sin or not. Shame would also be irrelevant.]
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. [If all are saved apart from faith, then being steadfast, unmovable, and abounding in His work (and indeed all of Scripture) are irrelevant.]
#7. The final issue that sinks blanket salvation is the answer to the question, “Can salvation be lost?”
“(17) And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted into them, and with them partake of the root and fatness of the olive tree; (18) Do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, you do not bear the root, the root bears you. (19) You will say, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. (20) Well, they were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be high-minded, but fear. (21) If God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you.” Romans 11:17-21
Conclusion: The two Corinthian letters disprove blanket salvation, apart from faith. Disproving verses from the Corinthian letters surround the target verse, 1 Corinthians 15:22. Additional verses outside of the Corinthian letters (indeed the entire Scripture, but specifically John 3:18; Romans 4:4-5, 11:17-21; Phil 3:9; Eph 1:13) also disprove blanket salvation.
“In Whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13
The idea of blanket salvation is unbiblical, humiliated, rejected, and dead.
Any doctrine that contradicts the consistent message of Scripture from its beginning to end, and actually negates it, is absurd and damned.
Decide for yourself. Are the McVeys the inspired, inerrant, true shepherds leading you to god? Have they become your gods?
Or do you trust the Biblical authors through the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit?
Smartly bet your eternity on the Father, Son and Spirit of the Bible, not on those who throw you into confusion.
Do not be misled down the primrose path.
“Do not be deceived.”