by Matt Slick
Founder: Bert Thompson (This is not verified)
Headquarters: Montgomery, Alabama
Membership: Not Applicable. It is an organization with a staff.
Origins: Origins in "the late 1970's...In 1985 Apologetics Press moved to its own custom-built, 11,000 square-foot building..."
Teachings: Baptism is necessary for salvation. Salvation can be lost. Obedience to the gospel is necessary to keep one's self saved. Denies election, predestination, and original sin.
Publications: Monthly journal called Reason & Revelation; monthly publication called Discovery which is aimed at kids; various books and tracts; audio CD's, and DVD's.
Biblical Analysis: We do not recommend this ministry. Avoid it since it teaches baptism as a requirement for salvation, requires obedience to keep one's self saved, and it denies original sin.
"According to the rest of the New Testament, spiritual conception occurs when the Gospel (i.e., the seed of the Holy Spirit—Luke 8:11) is implanted in the human heart and mind (James 1:18; 1 Corinthians 4:15; Ephesians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:23). The Word of God, in turn, generates penitent faith in the human heart (Romans 10:17) that leads the individual to obey the Gospel by being baptized in water (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Hebrews 10:22). The resulting condition of the individual is that he or she is now a child of God, a citizen of the kingdom, and member of the church of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20; Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:4).1
Salvation is not by baptism, but by faith in Christ alone. Roman 4:1-5 states...
"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about; but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? "And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness." 4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:1-5).
Justification before God is by faith alone, not by faith and baptism. Notice that Paul removes works from the only two options he mentions: faith and works. When you only have two things and one is removed, the other is alone. Hence, justification by faith alone, which is why Paul says, "But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5). (See Are We Justified by Faith (Romans) or by Works (James)?)
In its page "About Apologetics Press"2 there is an alarming statement:
"Salvation is by means of obedience to the Gospel system, involving faith in God and Christ, repentance from sin, confession of faith, and immersion in water for remission of past sins, coupled with a life of growing consecration and dedication."
Of course, we must ask, what is the obedience that is necessary? Notice what it says about baptism: "immersion in water for remission of past sins." Past sins? So, what do you do to get your future sins forgiven? Well, the statement implies salvation is by works when it says that "salvation is by means of obedience to the Gospel system...coupled with a life of growing consecration and dedication." So, this is works righteousness and we must designate this organization as outside Christian orthodoxy.
In its page "What we believe"3 there is no statement supporting the Trinity. This prompted me to call up the organization. I did so on 12/17/2012 and spoke with Eric Lyons. In that interview he stated they affirm the Trinity.
Following are the notes I was taking during that interview (which can be heard here.) The outline is not necessarily in the order of the audio. It was written while I was talking to him.
- What group are you?
- No denominational affiliation, but mentioned they are Church of Christ
- Is baptism necessary for salvation
- Yes, it is necessary, cannot be saved without baptism.
- Can you lose your salvation?
- If you lose your salvation what must you do to keep it
- Must continue to walk in the light
- Be faithful to the Lord
- Be loving, be forgiving
- If we don't forgive others, we won't be forgiven
- Is Jesus a man right now?
- He came in the form of a man, ascended, no...he is not a man with flesh and blood (Eric Lyons).
- Affirms the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity
- Predestination, election
- Elect is the church of the Lord, and not individuals elected before they are ever born
- What is obedience to the Gospel system
- The good news of Jesus Christ
- Strive to be obedient