Is salvation by "allegiance alone," or faith? Interview with Matthew Bates on the Academic Blog!

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Tavis Bohlinger | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, May 11 2017 1:30 PM

Matthew Bates has written a new book that seeks to modify the five solas. Faith alone, he proposes, should be understood as allegiance alone. I sat down with Bates recently to discuss the motivation behind his new book, Salvation by Allegiance Alone, in this first of a four-part interview:

https://academic.logos.com/salvation-by-faith-or-allegiance-alone-matthew-bates-in-the-hot-seat-part-1/

Posts 3163
Beloved Amodeo | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 11 2017 4:37 PM

Tavis, this is fantastic! In my personal devotional study I happened across the compelling verse Is 52.7 I was struck by the Hebrew word yeshua and wondered if any scholar had published a work which examined the concept of salvation in first its Hebrew context and second its Christian context. I searched Logos and Amazon for candidates and also searched the forums to see if anyone else had asked a similar question. I thought to post my own question then demurred. This post is an answer to prayer.  

Though it does not fulfill my own quest, it does put the question on a similar plane. Does anyone have any recommendations for works of substance that deal with this subject progressively by developing the Judaic notion of a God who saves and its fulfillment in the notion of a crucified Messiah? A comprehensive treatment of the word yeshua would be great. Great interview. Look forward to the next installments.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

MacBook Pro macOS Big Sur 11.6 1TB SSD 

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Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 9:11 AM

A very interesting article--at least for me.  I've struggled for a long time with the cavalier attitude I see from many Christians regarding the place of obedience in the Christian walk.  While very few I know say obedience is irrelevant, they do seem to feel it's way down on the priority list in comparison to "faith", and they tend to associate obedience closely with works.  I have no desire to stir that pot of controversy (faith vs. works), but the word "allegiance" in the title of Bates book really caught my attention because I think there's a much stronger relational correspondence between the concepts of allegiance and obedience, than there is between faith and obedience--at least in the sense that many modern lay people in the church seem to think of these terms. 

I don't know if Bates is on solid ground here or not and certainly don't feel qualified to make that determination.  But I am interested in what he has to say, so I pre-ordered the book and will be watching for the responses I expect will come from other highly qualified scholars.

Thanks for pointing out this resource.   

Posts 3163
Beloved Amodeo | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 9:30 AM

Rick, 

It was you back in 2013 who asked a question paralleling mine https://community.logos.com/forums/t/68478.aspx. In your reading did you come across any resources you found particularly helpful that you can recommend to me? Appreciate it.

Meanwhile, Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and his fellow man.

International Standard Version. (2011). (Lk 2:52). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

MacBook Pro macOS Big Sur 11.6 1TB SSD 

Posts 8394
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 9:31 AM

Rick Ausdahl:

A very interesting article--at least for me.  I've struggled for a long time with the cavalier attitude I see from many Christians regarding the place of obedience in the Christian walk.  While very few I know say obedience is irrelevant, they do seem to feel it's way down on the priority list in comparison to "faith", and they tend to associate obedience closely with works.  I have no desire to stir that pot of controversy (faith vs. works), but the word "allegiance" in the title of Bates book really caught my attention because I think there's a much stronger relational correspondence between the concepts of allegiance and obedience, than there is between faith and obedience--at least in the sense that many modern lay people in the church seem to think of these terms. 

I don't know if Bates is on solid ground here or not and certainly don't feel qualified to make that determination.  But I am interested in what he has to say, so I pre-ordered the book and will be watching for the responses I expect will come from other highly qualified scholars.

Thanks for pointing out this resource.   

I wonder the same thing about some "Christians" who don't care about obedience. What exactly comes to their mind when the Bible tells us that Jesus is the source of salvation to them that OBEY? (Hebrews 5:8-9). Why sing trust and obey? Why ignore "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"? (Philippians 2:12). Why ignore the many "If" conditional statements found in Scriptures? (e.g. 1 John 1:7 - what if we don't walk in the light). Seems like they don't want to distinguish between works of righteousness they do and the works God has prepared for us to follow (Ephesians 2:10)...Or maybe they are content with a "demon's faith" (James 2:19), which is "faith alone" and alone it is, don't bother with other things that pertain to salvation. I'll be placing my order too. May be some aspects of the NPP are not so new and people just chose the easy way out.

Blessings!

DAL

Posts 11433
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 9:56 AM

When I saw the title, I initially thought the author was going down the Acts 2 / Joel 3/4 road. Choose the correct diety, trust, saved. That was the sequence for most of the nearby religions. But this book appears to be a 4th century ad takeoff.

To the obedience folks, you have to pose the question ... obey what (at 33-50 ad)?

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 551
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 10:25 AM

Great question Denise, I would argue that the early church saw the OT as providing their ethical norms.

I don't have academic refs to hand (I'm about to put my three year old to bed) but a quick glance at the 'New Testament use of the Old Testament Interactive' pointed at James (arguably the earliest NT letter) will find 53 quotes and allusions to the Old Testament.

I say this because I think it illustrates that, taking their que from Jesus, the early church saw the Old Testament scriptures as providing their moral and ethical norms of behaviour within the church community of faith. A pattern that continued throughout Paul, and the rest of the NT writers.

John Frame has some good stuff on this in his Doctrine of the Christian Life. Also, Michael Kruger has long argued that the early church had a canon of scripture to work from long before the closing of the NT canon, namely, the Old testament or Hebrew bible - and that is was the principles they found that helped them see what obedience as a result of faith looked like.

I don't know if that goes a way to answering your question, and that I haven't made a fool of myself by wading in out of my depths here!

Blessings, Liam

Carpe verbum.

Posts 1562
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 11:04 AM

Denise:

When I saw the title, I initially thought the author was going down the Acts 2 / Joel 3/4 road. Choose the correct diety, trust, saved. That was the sequence for most of the nearby religions. But this book appears to be a 4th century ad takeoff.

To the obedience folks, you have to pose the question ... obey what (at 33-50 ad)?

Denies, can you clarify what you mean by "obedience folks"?  I don't think I'll have much to add to this thread as the conversation could quickly escalate to content not intended in the Logos forum.  Just wasn't sure what you meant by the phrase.

Posts 1562
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 11:08 AM

Beloved:

Rick, 

It was you back in 2013 who asked a question paralleling mine https://community.logos.com/forums/t/68478.aspx. In your reading did you come across any resources you found particularly helpful that you can recommend to me? Appreciate it.

Hi, Beloved.  I don't think I'm going to have too much to offer yet in terms of resources, but wanted you to know I saw your post and that I will give it some thought and get back to you.  Schedule is tight though so it might be a little while.

Posts 11433
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 11:17 AM

Rick Ausdahl:

A very interesting article--at least for me.  I've struggled for a long time with the cavalier attitude I see from many Christians regarding the place of obedience in the Christian walk.  While very few I know say obedience is irrelevant, they do seem to feel it's way down on the priority list in comparison to "faith", and they tend to associate obedience closely with works.  I have no desire to stir that pot of controversy (faith vs. works), but the word "allegiance" in the title of Bates book really caught my attention because I think there's a much stronger relational correspondence between the concepts of allegiance and obedience, than there is between faith and obedience--at least in the sense that many modern lay people in the church seem to think of these terms. 

I don't know if Bates is on solid ground here or not and certainly don't feel qualified to make that determination.  But I am interested in what he has to say, so I pre-ordered the book and will be watching for the responses I expect will come from other highly qualified scholars.

Thanks for pointing out this resource.   

Rick, I was referring mainly to you and DAL (not a broad works theology).  I was hinting that 'obey' usually demands something to obey.  Mucho theologies end before Jesus, and then pick up the pieces with the church fathers and a written canon.  A similar question can be posed up to 33 ad, believe in what?  I don't have an answer to either question.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

Posts 98
LogosEmployee
Tavis Bohlinger | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 11:58 AM

Thanks for your comment, Rick. I hope you enjoy the book, and the remaining parts of the interview when they are published. 

Posts 284
Claude Brown Jr | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 12:04 PM

DAL:

Rick Ausdahl:

A very interesting article--at least for me.  I've struggled for a long time with the cavalier attitude I see from many Christians regarding the place of obedience in the Christian walk.  While very few I know say obedience is irrelevant, they do seem to feel it's way down on the priority list in comparison to "faith", and they tend to associate obedience closely with works.  I have no desire to stir that pot of controversy (faith vs. works), but the word "allegiance" in the title of Bates book really caught my attention because I think there's a much stronger relational correspondence between the concepts of allegiance and obedience, than there is between faith and obedience--at least in the sense that many modern lay people in the church seem to think of these terms. 

I don't know if Bates is on solid ground here or not and certainly don't feel qualified to make that determination.  But I am interested in what he has to say, so I pre-ordered the book and will be watching for the responses I expect will come from other highly qualified scholars.

Thanks for pointing out this resource.   

I wonder the same thing about some "Christians" who don't care about obedience. What exactly comes to their mind when the Bible tells us that Jesus is the source of salvation to them that OBEY? (Hebrews 5:8-9). Why sing trust and obey? Why ignore "work out your salvation with fear and trembling"? (Philippians 2:12). Why ignore the many "If" conditional statements found in Scriptures? (e.g. 1 John 1:7 - what if we don't walk in the light). Seems like they don't want to distinguish between works of righteousness they do and the works God has prepared for us to follow (Ephesians 2:10)...Or maybe they are content with a "demon's faith" (James 2:19), which is "faith alone" and alone it is, don't bother with other things that pertain to salvation. I'll be placing my order too. May be some aspects of the NPP are not so new and people just chose the easy way out.

Blessings!

DAL

If it helps we teach through our studies of various Greek and Hebrew texts that there are six words that if not inseparable at the least are necessary compliments; faith trust loyalty commitment devotion belief.

Posts 8394
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 1:51 PM

 The way I have it is: Faith is composed of conviction, trust and obedience.  A faith without obedience is dead; a faith without conviction is not good either and a faith without trust in God is also worthless.

DAL

Posts 1028
Keith Pang | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 2:18 PM

Faith is more than just intellectual assent, although it includes that. Faith also is trusting completely in someone, relationally. Faith in Jesus is a relationship, trusting in Him and what He has done. Out of that comes a new life and heart which gives the person the desire to obey and live for Jesus. (this is never done perfectly, but is a process of growth).

Shalom, in Christ, Keith. Check out my music www.soundcloud.com/therealkpang

Posts 1562
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 4:36 PM

Beloved:

Rick, 

It was you back in 2013 who asked a question paralleling mine https://community.logos.com/forums/t/68478.aspx. In your reading did you come across any resources you found particularly helpful that you can recommend to me? Appreciate it.

Beloved, I just had a chance to take a peek at that old thread for which you provided the link.  Boy does that bring back memories.  I have to admit progress on the journey has been slower than I had expected.  I was very naïve and didn't realize just how much disagreement there was among Christian scholars on so many points.  But I've digressed.

The thread you provided the link for started out with four questions, which led to many responses and some additional questions.  In order to avoid hijacking this thread on Bate's book, can you either go back in to my original thread and do a cut-and-paste there of the specific question you have in mind, or, start a new thread and paste the question in there?  Then I'll peruse my smallish Logos library and my much smaller paper library for resource recommendations.  Just be aware that I'm still on the journey and while my beliefs and convictions on topics such as creation and salvation are taking shape, I've got a ways to go, so the number and quality of resource recommendations I can make at this stage will likely disappoint.

Posts 391
Vincent Chia | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 4:36 PM

Well said Keith. Faith has to be above and beyond demonic knowledge and intellectual assent (Ja 2:19).

Director

Elyon Family Clinic & Surgery Pte Ltd

Singapore

Posts 1566
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 5:21 PM

This strikes me as not entirely new. The free book of the month last month, Misreading Scripture Through Western Eyes argues that the language of faith and grace was adapted from Greco-Roman patron-client relationships. 

In the New Testament, for example, the word charis means “grace.” Pistis means “faith.” What we didn’t know until recently—what went without being said in Paul’s day—was that those two words together described the relationship between a patron and his or her client.
In the Roman world of the New Testament, business was conducted through an elaborate system of patrons and clients. When we watch the movie The Godfather, we are seeing the modern remains of the ancient Roman patronage system. Like Marlon Brando who played the godfather in the movie, the ancient patron was a wealthy and powerful individual (male or female) who looked after his or her “friends” (clients). The complex world of Roman governmental bureaucracy, the far-reaching tentacles of the banking system (usually temples) and the pervasive and powerful grasp of the trade guilds made it impossible for ordinary craftspeople or farmers to conduct business on their own. They were entirely dependent upon their patrons. Like most unwritten cultural rules, everyone knew what was expected of a patron and a client, even though expectations weren’t engraved on a wall. Everyone knew a patron’s role was to solve problems for his or her clients, whether it was trouble with the local trade guilds, refinancing a loan or smoothing over tensions with city leaders. When Paul was staying in Thessalonica, it was reasonable to expect Jason to handle the “Paul problem,” which he did by asking Paul to leave town (Acts 17).
In that world, an ordinary craftsman or farmer didn’t have the social skills or connections or wealth to negotiate with the various powerbrokers of a city. He would seek out an individual, a patron, to help. Marlon Brando captures the sentiment well. The local merchant wants help. The godfather says, “So you want me to do you this favor?” Both sides understand the agreement: the godfather solves the problem, and the merchant now must be loyal to the godfather and be ready to help if he is ever summoned. In the Roman system, likewise, the client couldn’t earn the “favor”; the patron showed “kindness” to help. Seneca, a philosopher from Paul’s time, said the patron and the client had a relationship, a form of friendship. The client was now a “friend” of the patron, but not a peer. The client was expected to reciprocate with loyalty, public praise, readiness to help the patron (as much as he could) and, most importantly, gratitude. This kind gift had strings attached. (All gifts in antiquity had strings attached.) Seneca called it “a sacred bond.” The recipient of the gift was obligated to reciprocate. Paul introduced Lydia to Christianity (Acts 16). She reciprocated by hosting Paul and his team at her estate.
The language of patronage permeated everyday life. We know well the Christian terms grace and faith, but these were common before Paul used them. They were part of the language of patronage. When the patron gave unmerited gifts of assistance, these were commonly called charis, meaning “grace/gift.” The client responded with faithfulness to the patron, called pistis, or “faith.” We see that when Paul explained our new relationship with God, he used something everyone understood: the ancient system of patronage. Taken together, this vocabulary—so central to the Christian faith—means something different than the sum of its parts.

Here's the relevant clip from The Godfather.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPTAjNVvrYg 

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 2816
Jan Krohn | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 7:22 PM

Denise:

To the obedience folks, you have to pose the question ... obey what (at 33-50 ad)?

Okay, I consider myself part of the obedience folks.

I'm sure they had a lot more of Jesus's words in 33-50 AD through oral tradition than we have today through scripture.

Past IT Consultant. Past Mission Worker. Entrepreneur. Seminary Student (VIU).
Christian Debate Forum --- Auferstanden! Blog

Posts 237
Kevin Olson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, May 12 2017 7:31 PM

Is this just a book recommendation, or a theological discussion too? 

I vote, "Salvation is by Faith Alone."  

Posts 1562
Rick Ausdahl | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, May 13 2017 6:28 AM

Ben:

This strikes me as not entirely new. The free book of the month last month, Misreading Scripture Through Western Eyes argues that the language of faith and grace was adapted from Greco-Roman patron-client relationships. 

In the New Testament, for example, the word charis means “grace.” Pistis means “faith.” What we didn’t know until recently—what went without being said in Paul’s day—was that those two words together described the relationship between a patron and his or her client.
In the Roman world of the New Testament...
OMITTED TEXT TO SAVE SPACE
... We see that when Paul explained our new relationship with God, he used something everyone understood: the ancient system of patronage. Taken together, this vocabulary—so central to the Christian faith—means something different than the sum of its parts.

Here's the relevant clip from The Godfather.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPTAjNVvrYg 

Very interesting post, Ben.  Thanks for sharing.

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