22
Sep
12

Milk or Meat?

This morning I read a post over at 5ptSalt contrasting “the Fallacy” of New Calvinism, ““The Gospel is the A-Z of Christianity,” with “the Truth.” The blog owner, Joel Taylor, cited two passages from the book of Hebrews as his proof-texts that Christians need to move away from the gospel.

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. – Hebrews 6:1 (emphasis Joel’s).

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. – Hebrews 5:12-13 (emphasis Joel’s).

I left the following comments:

I don’t recall receiving instructions about “washings and the laying on of hands” [I found it interesting that Joel didn’t emphasize that part of the verse] when I first became a believer. Are you sure this is a reference to the Christian gospel? And, are you sure the gospel only involves “milk?” The message the writer wants to teach is the message of Melchizedek. That message is clearly “gospel” but it is anything but milk.

If the writer’s teaching on Melchizedek and that which grows out of it isn’t “meat,” how would you identify spiritual meat? Yet, I can’t imagine more gospel drenched teaching than that found in Hebrews 7-11, can you?

I am certain the only reason Joel hasn’t posted my comments is simply that he has been too busy.

In my view, only an erroneous view or an unnecessarily narrow view [That would make it an erroneous view] of the gospel would prompt a person to deny that believers continue to need the gospel. Whenever a beleiver sins, he needs to be aware of at least two truths– 1. Based on God’s promise to forgive believers, he needs to be aware that God is faithful, and 2. Based on the redemptive work of Christ, he needs to be aware that God is just to forgive his sins.

The reality is, apart from the cross, God could not be just in forgiving our sins. I understand that the verse I referenced above, 1 John 1:9, refers to the believer’s restoration to fellowship with God upon his confession of sin, but this does not negate the fact that the promise of the verse relates directly to the gospel.

I am interested in your comments on this issue. I would especially like to hear what you think about the following questions:

1. Since the “meat” the writer to the Hebrews was interested in teaching concerned Melchizedek (See Hebrews 5:10-11), do you think his teaching about Melchizedek in Heb. 7 is unrelated to the gospel, specifically to the priesthood of Christ? It seems to me, the truth that “he is able to save completely those who come to God by him, seeing he everlives to make intercession for them” (7:25), is really good news [gospel].

2. If the teaching of this writer in the remainder of this Epistle should not be considered “meat,” what teachings of Scripture do you think would qualify as “meat”? I am not suggesting there are not other doctrines not included in these chapters that are also to be considered “meat” and not “milk.” My question is what makes these doctrines any more “meaty” that the doctrines in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

3. Do you believe the teachings of the Epistle to the Hebrews are without “gospel” relevance?

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3 Responses to “Milk or Meat?”


  1. September 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    From 5Pt Salt’s Tim Keller Link (Erik Raymond Blog):

    The main problem, then, in the Christian life is that we have not thought out the deep implications of the gospel, we have not “used” the gospel in and on all parts of our life.

    Maybe friend Joel has difficulty seeing/understanding that there is the gospel decree that is ‘the power of God unto salvation’ and the aforementioned ‘implications’. I suppose you can call them ‘micro/macro’ perspectives, but that probably doesn’t even come close. We can become ‘one-dimension salvation’ Christians, but there are two other dimensions. We have been saved from the penalty of sin, the power of sin and later will be saved from the presence of sin. All three are because of the ‘gospel’. The new heaven and new earth will become reality because of the ‘gospel’

    How can the teaching concerning Melchizedek NOT be about the gospel? I think it might be ‘meatier’ in the same sense that Genesis 3 and the first mention of the promised Messiah is ‘meatier’. I define ‘meatier’ as being more difficult to grasp than say ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ in the NT. The ‘gospel’ declared first in Genesis three permeates scriptures all the way to the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 22.

    That means the all 66 books have tremendous ‘gospel’ relevance.


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